Sunday was a beautiful day for walking, and I recorded 14.6 miles in memory of Cheryl Payne Moreno.  As I walked, I reflected about the spirit of tenacity, determination, and the will to live that Cheryl demonstrated throughout her cancer journey, and that I find in so many who are impacted by cancer.  Cheryl gave so much of herself to others before her cancer journey and her family and friends surrounded her with community, caring, support, and love as she journeyed through cancer.  I have found that those who surround themselves with community and support give themselves the gifts of positivity and determination.  Cancer Support Community AZ is honored to be one component of the community and support which is life-giving during the difficult cancer experience.  I would guess that if you are reading this blog post you have been impacted by cancer in some way or another and I challenge you to embrace life this week.  Spend time in community with those you love, take some time out to nourish yourself through a yoga class, guided meditation, or a long walk outdoors.  Drink some tea and lots of clean fresh water and embrace life.  Show gratitude and take a nap and eat some fruit!

Today, Monday, the final day of July 2023, I am walking on behalf of each of the men in our Men’s Only Support Group.  This group was launched in February 2022 after Rich Bowen shared that men needed a safe place where they could meet to talk with other men about their cancer experience.  My friend and NAU colleague Pit Kolodinsky volunteered to launch the group and it has been up and running ever since.

Benefits of support groups include feeling less lonely, isolated, or judged, reducing distress, depression, anxiety, or fatigue, talking openly and honestly about your feelings, improving skills to cope with challenges, and staying motivated to manage chronic conditions or stick to treatment plans.  Support group participants gain a sense of empowerment, control and hope, may improve their understanding of their cancer journey, get practical feedback about treatment options from someone else in the group who has already experienced that treatment, and learn about health, economic, and social resources. For many people, a health-related support group may fill a gap between medical treatment and the need for emotional support. A person’s relationship with their doctor or other medical personnel may not provide adequate emotional support, and a person’s family and friends may not understand the impact of a disease or treatment. A support group among people with shared experiences may function as a bridge between medical and emotional needs.

We have found this to be the case with all our support groups at CSCAZ, and particularly for the men’s support group which meets on the Zoom platform each Monday afternoon.  The men have been able to share their deepest fears, anxieties, and worries with one another as they face their cancer journey.  They are there for each other.

Today I am honored to walk for AS, JP, ER, MN, SF, JF, JA, SH, SK, JCR, SW, TT, DJ, MW, DB, JB, MC, RD, JU, CH, RC, JH, WBB, TE, WPK, SK, CS, and facilitators Pit, Billy, Joseph, and Eric.  I also carry in my heart other men in my life who are on a cancer journey, WH, FH, CB, AB, JR, RB, BR, and RN.

Learn more about the CSCAZ Men’s Support Group here https://cscaz.gnosishosting.net/Events/Calendar?eviid=29688.