Walking for the CSCAZ Men’s Support Group on Monday reminded me of the importance of sharing challenges with others to “normalize” this otherwise abnormal journey cancer provides.  Support groups remind us that others are walking the same path and when some members of the group are further down that path, they can make the journey smoother for those following.  While I have not attended the men’s support group, I do attend the Tuesday Breast Cancer Support Group that meets in-person in Flagstaff each week and I watch this magic happen every time they get together.  One person expresses a concern, and two or three others have direct experience and advice to share on that very topic.  They surround one another with comfort and nurturing and they validate the emotions, the challenges, the fears, and the anxieties brought on by the unknown.  It doesn’t feel so unknown when we learn that someone has already faced it and emerged on the other side.  Support groups have the potential to lift each member of the group and feel like a miracle.  They rely on trust and vulnerability and commitment and when they work it is truly a blessing to each group member.

Monday, I walked 12 miles on behalf of the Monday Men’s Support Group and today I have recorded 4 miles so far on behalf of the Tuesday Breast Cancer Support Group.

I am excited to share some quotes from members of the Tuesday group which has been meeting for about 15 months:

“The support group is my safe place!  I live alone and have no family in Flagstaff. Being able to reach out to the ladies for support and companionship is priceless.  Cancer brought us together; loving life and thriving keeps us together.  I’m immensely grateful!”  F.B.

“The support group is rejuvenating for me, the support from the ladies is invaluable, and the resources learned from guest speakers and from the ladies themselves has made a world of difference for me.” M.S.K.

“The openness and trust in our group is amazing.  We listen, we love, and we empathize.  I don’t get the same support from friends and relatives because they have not been through what I’m going through.  This support group has made a huge positive impact on my recovery.  I am very grateful to have them!” L.R.

If you have been debating about joining a support group, whether it is a cancer support group or another group, I strongly encourage you to join.  Surround yourself with others who are on a similar journey and feel the love, the understanding, the empathy, the unconditional cocoon of community.