Friday, May 11, 2012

Navigating the cancer journey

CARING COALITION: From left, panelists Susan Zuker, Kelly Haughey, Kurt Losert and Maggie Carvan

When Johnathan Zuker's father was diagnosed with late stage lung cancer in 2003, he found himself on an uncertain and unfamiliar path. It is one that many families encounter as they navigate the new challenges and often harsh realities that come when a loved one has cancer.

Zuker, now executive director of the nonprofit Conquer Cancer Coalition of Massachusetts, spoke during the April 28 event, “Cancer in the Family: Living with Uncertainty,” hosted by the MGH Cancer Center and its peer support program, The Network for Patients and Families. The day-long conference featured speakers and panel discussions and provided patients and family members with information on current cancer topics and coping mechanisms.

The coalition was created in the wake of the death of Zuker’s father as a way to make a difference in the cancer community by increasing awareness and raising funding for cancer services. During his opening remarks, Zuker said this community has allowed him to see that even the most difficult times can bring out the best of humanity. “Through all of the uncertainty in our cancer journey, there was always reliability and strength to be found here at Mass General,” Zuker said. “Every step of the way we knew how lucky we were to be able to come here for treatment, and how grateful we are to be able to give back in our own way. When you are here, you are in the best hospital in the world. When you are not sure of anything else, you can be certain of that.”

Read more articles from the 5/11/12 Hotline issue.


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