Attention cancer patients: YMCA offers support

In our fifth month of hunkering down, many of us consider ourselves very fortunate to have comfortable living conditions, sufficient income to keep the wolves from the door, and good health to enjoy our days. It is not always easy to adapt, but we’ll manage, and maybe even get a little bit used to some of the strangeness that came with the COVID virus.

But, what if we had a cancer diagnosis during these months of quarantine, or what if we started receiving chemotherapy or radiation in the past five months? Many long-term survivors are still on medications that make their immune systems more susceptible to infection. All by itself, facing the uncertainties of a cancer diagnosis and treatment is frightening, but add to that the difficulties and challenges of these days, and it probably feels overwhelming. Patients are at a vulnerable time in their cancer journey, and still there are things that need to be done: getting to and from care, shopping, taking a favorite pet for a walk, or a trip to the post office. Maybe we have great family and friends, but sometimes we feel as though we don’t want to ask them yet again.

There is someone out there who would like to help you. There are people who are available and committed to helping their neighbors in Anchorage, perhaps to give back for a time when they needed and received help from an unexpected source. Or perhaps people who know what it is like to have cancer themselves, and who can’t imagine a worse time to be going through treatment.

The Anchorage YMCA has a team of volunteers who would like to help our cancer patients during this difficult time. YMCA program coordinators can match your need to a volunteer who has those abilities. Are the weeds taking over your garden? Do you need books returned to the library? Ingredients for a favorite meal? Someone to fix the remote control on your television set? What may be a challenge to some cancer patients may be an easy task for one of the YMCA volunteers.

If you are a cancer patient yourself, or you know of someone who is and could use some assistance, please encourage that person to contact the Anchorage YMCA at (907) 563-3211 about the help he or she needs. It may be a one-time errand or a budding friendship. Talk it over with your neighbors at the YMCA. Someone in Anchorage would like to help.

Erin Widener is the Healthy Community Coordinator for YMCA of Alaska.

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