The American Cancer Society and the Nash Cancer Treatment Center are seeking volunteers to help with several different programs and resources designed to help local cancer patients.
One of the programs, Look Good Feel Better, is designed to help improve self-image and self-esteem for women who are undergoing cancer treatment. Women meet with a cosmetologist in a group setting to talk about appearance-related issues, said Kathleen Fleming, mission manager for the South Atlantic Division of the American Cancer Society. They talk about a variety of topics, including coping with hair loss and skin care and nail care during cancer treatment.
The American Cancer Society and the Nash Cancer Treatment Center are looking for cosmetologists who are willing to be trained as volunteers for that program.
Another program, called Road to Recovery, provides cancer patients with rides to medical facilities for their treatment.
Often, transportation is a barrier for cancer patients, Fleming said. It is important that patients follow the protocol that is set forth by their doctor, she said.
The American Cancer Society is looking for drivers who are willing to provide transportation assistance. Volunteers set the parameters of how often and how far they are willing to drive, Fleming said.
Another program, called Reach to Recovery, pairs breast cancer survivors with newly diagnosed patients. They talk about nonmedical issues, like how to deal with hair loss or how to continue being a parent while battling breast cancer, Fleming said.
Some of the program participants talk a couple times, and others have formed lasting friendships, Fleming said.
The programs can make a big difference for cancer patients. Women who participate in the Look Good Feel Better program sometimes come in feeling timid or self-conscious, Fleming said.
Often, they don’t want to remove their wig or hat, she said. Gradually, those barriers are broken down, and the women become more comfortable, Fleming said.
She recalled one woman who wasn’t feeling well and was losing her hair. She hadn’t gone on a date with her husband or gone out in public much since she was diagnosed with cancer, Fleming said.
But before she left the session, the woman called her husband and told him to get ready for a dinner date, Fleming said.
In addition to those programs, the American Cancer Society has been working with the Nash Cancer Treatment Center to prepare for the opening of a volunteer-staffed resource center to assist patients at the Nash Cancer Treatment Center.
They are looking for volunteers to help operate a mobile cart with information about the American Cancer Society. If patients have concerns or questions, trained volunteers will be able to help connect them with resources, officials said.
The resource center tentatively is scheduled to open April 1. A volunteer has agreed to work on Monday and Wednesday mornings. Officials are seeking additional volunteers.
They would love to expand the program through more volunteers, said Chris Wood, director of the cancer program at Nash Health Care.
“It’s a great way to get involved and give back to the community,” Wood said.
Anyone who would like to volunteer can call the Nash Cancer Treatment Center at 962-8947 or call Fleming at 578-2273.
The American Cancer Society has training sessions coming up in early April for the Look Good Feel Better program and the Reach to Recovery program, Fleming said.
For more information about the American Cancer Society, call 1-800-227-2345.
People can call that number 24 hours a day, seven days a week to talk to a trained cancer specialist.
Nash County residents who are looking to give back also can get involved with Relay for Life of Nash County, which is scheduled for April 26 at the Rocky Mount Athletic Complex.