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franklin county times

Local ACS field office works to help cancer patients

By Staff
LOCAL FIELD OFFICE Barbara Wing is the project assistant for the American Cancer Society field office in Meridian. Photo by Paula Merritt/The Meridian Star
By Steve Gillespie / staff writer
June 17, 2002
Barbara Wing has learned a lot about the role of the American Cancer Society since the beginning of the year.
She is the project assistant for the ACS field office in Meridian that opened in January at 4825-A Poplar Springs Drive.
Wing supports the organization's field staff and volunteers and handles patient service calls for the local office.
A good outcome
Vera Davidson of Meridian knows something about positive outcomes. Diagnosed last year with a rare form of cancer, Davidson found out two weeks ago she is cancer-free.
She said the local American Cancer Society staff helped her.
Davidson is looking forward to the local office's expansion of its "I Can Cope" program, a series of educational classes for people facing cancer.
Traci Thoms, cancer control project manager for the local office, said the classes have been offered periodically but she hopes to have them on a monthly basis in local hospitals.
The program includes doctors, nurses, social workers and other health care professionals who provide information about cancer and answer questions from patients and their family members.
Another program called "Look Good … Feel Better," incorporates trained cosmetologists who teach cancer patients how to cope with skin changes and hair loss that often accompanies cancer treatments.
The "Reach to Recovery" program is offered to women battling breast cancer. It is a peer support program using trained volunteers who have fully adjusted to breast cancer surgery or treatment.
Other services
In addition to offering programs, the local office helps cancer patients find various services or assistance.
Melba Stufflebean, income development project manager, said the office provides cancer patients with financial support for medications and travel expenses.
Wing said she has been involved with the ACS fund-raising effort, Relay for Life, for several years, but had no idea of the impact the society has on patients until she joined the local field office staff.