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In Your Community: Charlotte’s Colon Cancer Support Group

It’s all about support in Charlotte, North Carolina as grant money received from the 2010 Get Your Rear in Gear 5K is put to use by creating the first colon cancer support group. The money was presented at the awards ceremony of the 2011 event held Saturday, March 5.

“The Get Your Rear in Gear Colorectal Cancer Support Group is going to be the first of its kind,” Charlotte Race Director Mary-Karen Bierman explained.  “We are partnering with the Presbyterian Buddy Kemp Cancer Support Center in Charlotte to provide a myriad of services.”

Cancer Nurse Pam Gwaltney and Social Worker Michael Kahn will facilitate the monthly meetings.

“Having this group will have people come together and get the professional help that they may need,” Bierman said.

Meetings will be primarily focused on providing emotional support for participants in addition to providing information about the disease, its treatments and how to live with a colorectal cancer diagnosis both pre- and post-operation.

The group launched initially for colon cancer survivors, but could evolve into something for family and friends.

The kickoff for the support group will focus primarily on getting to know each other as well as finding out what the survivors hope to get out of the group.  The first meeting was held on March 7, two days following the 2011 Charlotte Get Your Rear in Gear 5K.

“We started the Charlotte 5K and designated the funds to this program because Sue Falco [Charlotte race co-director] and I are both colon cancer survivors, and we knew that there was not a survivor group in our area,” Bierman said.

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