Everyone knows someone whose life has been touched by cancer.
Today, cancer survivors and supporters around the world celebrate the 29th annual National Cancer Survivors Day and raise awareness of the issues of cancer survivorship.
National Cancer Survivors Day is, in part, a celebration for those who have survived and an inspiration for those recently diagnosed. This is a special day to bring attention to the hardships cancer survivors still face. These include not just physical side effects, but also psychological, social and emotional distress, as well as significant financial hardships.
According to the National Cancer Survivors Day Foundation, “A ‘survivor’ is anyone living with a history of cancer — from the moment of diagnosis through the remainder of life.” There are nearly 14.5 million people living with and beyond cancer in the U.S. today, and more than 32 million cancer survivors worldwide.
The Meigs County Health Department proudly partners with the American Cancer Society, Meigs County Cancer Initiative Inc. and the Appalachian Community Cancer Network to regularly assist local cancer survivors.
First, the MCHD houses the Ferman E. Moore ACS Cancer Resource Center. Meigs County cancer survivors have access to educational materials, wigs (and other head covering such as hats) and referrals to the ACS for a variety of cancer-related services (such as lodging, personal health manager; Reach to Recovery, Man to Man; Look Good … Feel Better; Children’s Camps; I Can Cope; transportation; TLC magalog; Cancer Survivors Network.
Meanwhile, the Meigs County Board of Health continues to demonstrate its support for the Meigs County Relay for Life and the Meigs County ACS Volunteer Leadership Council by encouraging staff participation with planning, promotion and fundraising.
Next, the MCHD collaborates with the MCCI to coordinate a convenient transportation assistance program for Meigs County cancer survivors who are traveling to cancer-related treatment and/or medical appointments. Fuel vouchers and fast food gift cards are offered on a monthly basis (contingent upon the availability of funds) to cancer survivors who complete the application process. Vouchers are only redeemable at service stations situated with Meigs County and fast food gift cards are purchased from local restaurants keeping donated funds in the local economy. Contact me at 740-992-6626 for more information.
Finally, the MCHD assists as requested the ACCN, which is building its research agenda on alleviating the disproportionate burden of cancer in the Appalachian areas of Kentucky, Ohio (including Meigs County), Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia. Cervical, colorectal and lung/bronchus cancers are ACCN priority cancers and the focus of many ACCN-sponsored research and community outreach activities, due to the elevated incidence rates for these cancers in the Appalachian region.
The National Cancer Institute recognizes residents of Appalachia as a population with cancer health disparities. The MCHD has provided physical space to accommodate the conduction of clinical projects/studies. In addition, MCHD staff has been asked to provide insight, recommendations and letters of support for the success of ACCN projects and activities. Staff has also participated on the Appalachia Ohio Community Advisory Board.
In conclusion, may we always remember our cancer survivors, appreciate the struggles associated with a diagnosis and help them as we can.
“No one is more cherished in this world than someone who lightens the burden of another.” — Author Unknown
Courtney Midkiff is the administrator for the Meigs County Health Department.