Kay Royal, organizer of Atlanta CanCare, retires
JOHNS CREEK, GA – October 1 – “A cancer diagnosis brings normal life to a screeching halt, followed by waves of emotions and anxiety about the unknown,” said Kay Royal, former volunteer coordinator of the Atlanta chapter of CanCare. “Replacing fear with hope is the goal of CanCare. Its goal is ‘being there’ for cancer patients and caregivers.” Kay, who organized the Atlanta chapter of CanCare, is retiring to move to North Carolina to be near family.
“Cancer can be hard, but it doesn’t have to be lonely,” Kay said, quoting another premise of the cancer support group. “CanCare’s focus is to improve the quality of life for cancer patients and their families. When someone is diagnosed with cancer, it can be devastating. Encouragement and support can come from someone who has experienced it and who wants to help others.”
CanCare is a nonprofit organization that supports cancer patients and their caregivers through a network of volunteers. The volunteers are cancer survivors, or caregivers of cancer patients, who provide emotional support and hope to current patients and their caregivers. “The idea is simple. When someone is diagnosed with cancer – a diagnosis that often overloads the mind and heart with fear – the best support can often come from someone who’s already been there.” It is the concept of CanCare, from an article “Congregations offer and find support through CanCare,” in The Presbyterian Outlook magazine.
CanCare was established in 1990 in Houston, Texas. The Atlanta chapter was organized in 2012 through the efforts of Kay, a member of Johns Creek Presbyterian Church (JCPC). She and her family had moved to the area from Houston where she was a cancer survivor and a subsequent CanCare volunteer. Later, the local chapter, with home base at JCPC, began partnering with Emory Hospital Johns Creek with CanCare volunteers visiting patients in the infusion center. The local chapter has added several congregations with more than 100 volunteers.
CanCare volunteers engage in one-on-one support with cancer patients and their caregivers. The volunteers are matched with clients by cancer type, treatment method, stage, age, and gender. As cancer survivors or caregivers, CanCare volunteers have the unique ability to relate to and empathize with patients undergoing their diagnosis or treatment. The bond gives CanCare clients the opportunity to discuss their personal feelings and cancer experiences that might otherwise be hard to share with someone who has not been where they are.
Anyone experiencing cancer can be matched with a CanCare volunteer through the CanCare website www.cancare.org. Volunteers may also apply through the website. CanCare provides all services at no charge. For questions, contact Hubert Bennett, president & CEO,
ARTICLE written by Larry Brown