Last week I learned about the Barry L Joyce Cancer Support Fund in Madison,NC. A friend of mine has been volunteering her time at the Fund's headquarters, and she kept inviting me to come see their facility. Now that I have seen the building, I'm finally getting the picture.
On Tuesday, I met Jennifer Joyce, who runs the operation. Jennifer's father, Barry, passed away several years ago after fighting through cancer. He was winning the battle against the disease when he had a fatal reaction to some chemicals used in a medical test. To honor his memory, his family began the Cancer Fund. Their work reached a new level of effectiveness last November when they opened their community resource center on Ayersville Road. Jennifer toured me around the re-purposed bank building, with its research library, reception area, kitchen, and inviting conversation room.
In this comfortable environment, cancer warriors can find the weapons they need. Cancer patients, caregivers, family members and cancer survivors alike can find information, support and encouragement. The research room offers books, periodicals and reference tools, as well as two computers for internet research.
The BLJ Center provides cancer patients a free notebook, containing a guide for the cancer journey. This resource suggests questions to ask a doctor, lists possible diet changes, and includes places to record symptoms, medications and milestones. It also includes contact information for local helping agencies.
The Center hosts support groups for survivors, the newly diagnosed, caregivers, and family members. They have yoga classes, aromatherapy seminars, massage therapy, free facials, and coaching to help patients find a "new normal."
In addition to all this encouragement and support, the Fund offers financial help for cancer patients who live in Rockingham County. Battling cancer often creates financial hardships, and the Fund stands ready to provide assistance.
Jennifer has big plans for the Barry L Joyce Cancer Support Fund. Rather than growing the current facility to huge proportions, she hopes to create a network of support centers in other rural communities around the region.
Please share the word that help is available in the fight against cancer. You don't have to walk the path alone.