Cancer Support Community Atlanta
at Northside Cancer Institute
This week I sat down with three ladies from the Cancer Support Community at Northside Cancer Institute. The Cancer Support Community, Atlanta, is a nonprofit organization that is dedicated to providing a variety of supportive services for cancer patients and their families in a home-like environment in the heart of Atlanta. Their staff provides a wide range of support, informative education programs, a variety of gentle stress reduction and exercise classes. The Cancer Support Community also provides access to a number of social activities that enable cancer patients, survivors, and care givers to get to know others who are in or who have experienced similar challenging circumstances. All classes are offered free of charge and are led by seasoned professionals committed to supporting individuals and families in our community facing cancer. Through participating in these educational, supportive, and social offerings, patients, survivors, and loved ones can reduce anxiety in their lives, gain hope and a sense of greater control in their lives, and achieve higher levels of health and fitness (physical and emotional).
My guests on the show have all experienced cancer either as a patient or as a loved one/care giver for a person dealing with cancer. As you listen to their stories it is quickly apparent that when you engage in the services offered by the Cancer Support Community at Northside Cancer Institute you will be cared for by people who truly understand and can relate to your situation. Many of the folks you’ll meet when you go to the Cancer Support Community are long-time survivors who have been utilizing their services for a number of years—and they plan to continue. Check out today’s show and you’ll understand why!
Rachel Newby, LMSW
Rachel is an Atlanta native who attended Oglethorpe University, where she received a BA in psychology. She continued her education at UGA where she received her Masters Degree in Social Work. Rachel currently lives in the city of Decatur, is married, has 2 kids and way too many pets! As for her connection to cancer, Rachel’s mother was diagnosed with advanced breast cancer in 1998, her freshman year of college. Unfortunately, at the time, supportive services for cancer patients were limited and she was extremely isolated. She died during Rachel’s senior year of college. She has been with the Cancer Support Community since 2005, making this her 9th year with the organization. Rachel’s day to day goal is to make sure that people that come to CSC Atlanta feel supported by the staff and one another.
Volunteer coordinator, CSC-Atlanta, 12-year breast cancer survivor and client of CSC-Atlanta
Bonnie is from Winston-Salem, NC and graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill in 1966 with a BA in Elementary Education. After teaching in NC, she moved to Atlanta in 1969 and went to work for what was then the Trust Company of Georgia, now SunTrust. In 1973, Bonnie married an Atlanta native and started a family. Twelve years ago at age 58, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Due to a strong family history of the disease, she elected to have a bi-lateral mastectomy with no reconstruction. Two years after this experience, she was introduced to the Cancer Support Community. She found she was having difficulty in returning to life as she had known it before the experience. At CSC, Bonnie found the support she was looking for. The positive and welcoming environment, along with the many activities and events offering further support, helped her move forward. Since that time, Bonnie has continued to participate as an active member in addition to serving as the volunteer coordinator. She coordinates a wonderful group of volunteers who staff the front desk during the week. They are there to greet CSC members, as well as to assist the staff. Bonnie also conducts the Monday morning orientation meeting, which introduces new members to the facility. Cancer Support Community Atlanta has an annual fundraiser in April, the Chastain Chase 5K, which is staffed by CSC volunteers. Bonnie is a wife, mother and grandmother who is grateful for and passionate about the Cancer Support Community!
Donna Meyer, BSN, MS
Donna Meyer is the Survivorship Coordinator at the Northside Hospital Cancer Institute. In her role she works with patients and caregivers from the time of their diagnosis throughout the balance of their lives—that’s the definition of a “Survivor”! Her focus and passion is on improving the quality of life for families impacted by cancer through treatment summaries, survivorship care plans, supportive care, education and special events.
Donna is a RN with many years of experience in a wide variety of care settings. In addition she has a Master’s Degree in Counseling. She is a cancer survivor herself so she has personal experience with many of the same concerns that patients and families are experiencing. Donna has been active in the community working in schools, churches and community organizations and promotes health and wellness as part of cancer prevention and healthy living after a diagnosis
She is a liaison with the Cancer Support Community and works with them to support their programing and advocate for needs of patients and families within the Northside care system.