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Buddy Check 10: Cancer Support Community makes sure no cancer patient fights alone

No matter the age or stage of cancer, there's support and community for the whole family.

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — An organization in Knoxville is making sure cancer patients don't have to fight alone.

Cancer Support Community of East Tennessee's goal is to help patients and their families through the challenges of cancer.

"We always say that community is the most important word in our name and that we're building a community virtually, and hopefully we'll be back in person soon," said Executive Director Beth Hamil.

Even if the meeting rooms may be empty right now, the pandemic is not stopping the center from hosting virtual services through HIPAA-compliant Zoom calls. They focus on emotional, mental and physical health.

"We offer anything from support groups, individual sessions, wellness classes in gentle exercise, nutrition, stress management, educational workshops and then classes that are about social connections, including art, music and knitting," Hamil said.

The best part is it's all free of charge. There are books on various subjects to check out, donated wigs and hats for anyone who needs them and hope at any patients' disposal.

"Cancer is expensive, and we want to make sure that finances are not a barrier to using our services," Hamil said.

The center has been around for 31 years in Knoxville, but Hamil says seeing others with cancer get the support they need never gets old.

"Cancer is one of the most challenging experiences a person and a family can have," Hamil said. "It's really empowering to be with other people who are going through a similar circumstance so people don't feel so alone."

During the pandemic, the staff said they noticed a trend in members. Hamil said many are being diagnosed at later stages with cancer because of delayed tests, scans and mammograms.

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But no matter the age or stage — there is support and community for the whole family.

If you would like to get involved with Cancer Support Community of East Tennessee, give the staff a call at (865) 546-4661.

There's an upcoming class all about Lymphedema and what families to know on Tuesday, April 13 from 12 to 1:30 p.m. Sign up here.


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