by Winston Klass
Just over a year ago six members of the Newmarket, Brampton, and Toronto support groups met to discuss the feasibility of a special support group for advanced prostate cancer survivors. Feedback from advanced as well as regular prostate cancer survivors had indicated that regular support meetings may not be fully
catering to emotional and other needs of advanced prostate cancer survivors. At the end of this meeting the decision was made to launch a joint experimental online support group, with the understanding that at some point this group may progress to a full-fledged support group tailored to advanced prostate cancer survivors.
The definition of an advanced prostate cancer survivor was left open, with the decision to join our group left to individual assessments of relevance.
At this early stage our group activities follow relatively simple routines. Any newcomer circulates a profile of his prostate cancer journey (decision points, treatments, drugs, etc.) and members are invited to respond with advice by email or telephone under the guidance of a moderator. The moderator also circulates relevant information periodically from research papers and other sources.
The Calgary Warriors, a pioneer support group for advanced prostate cancer survivors, has provided strong leadership and encouragement…access to their
regular newsletters and Ken Dreger (a leader of this group) monitors our email traffic and helps us to refine group procedures. Our support group has grown to approximately 20 members and, with the Calgary Warriors size of 50 approximately, there is potential for significant growth of our membership.
Our first face to face meeting on Wednesday March 15 th provided the opportunity for direct sharing of information and comparison of journeys.
This went over very well and it was decided that the group will meet quarterly.
The group meets on the 3rd Tues. of March, June, Sept. and Dec. at Valleyview Residence, 541 Finch Avenue West., (immediately east of North York General Hospital, Branson branch, the same location as the Peer Support meeting, but in a separate room.)
In time, our support group will likely become the local chapter of a national online support network, thereby benefitting from advice and support
from survivors all across Canada.
Anyone who would like to benefit from the type of support that we provide may contact us at PCCN-Toronto, via email firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling our hotline number – 416-932-8820.