HOPE Resource Center is there to lend a hand

Lisa Ober rings the bell at the Payson Center for Cancer Care. Every time a cancer survivor finishes treatment at the Payson Center, they ring a bell.  At the start of Rock 'N Race, the bell will be rung in honor of all friends and family who have experienced cancer.  Courtesy
Lisa Ober rings the bell at the Payson Center for Cancer Care. Every time a cancer survivor finishes treatment at the Payson Center, they ring a bell. At the start of Rock 'N Race, the bell will be rung in honor of all friends and family who have experienced cancer. Courtesy

The HOPE Resource Center at Concord Hospital Payson Center for Cancer Care not only helps treat cancer patients, it helps heal them.

“It’s easy to feel lost after being diagnosed with cancer,” said social worker Adrianna Crooker Catlin. “We want this to be a space where patients can feel safe, laugh, cry, get angry, express any emotion and find guidance.”

At Payson Center, patients find expert cancer care from specially trained medical professionals. At the HOPE Resource Center, they and their families find support from specially trained professionals who recognize that cancer affects an entire family and that care continues when treatment ends.

Just ask Lisa Ober of Belmont.

During months of cancer treatment, Ober and her family found comprehensive support from the HOPE Resource Center. Ober got help with garments after surgery, instruction in meditation and mindfulness to help ease anxiety, financial help through grants and gas and grocery cards, as well as dietary tips that helped the entire family. Her young sons got special attention, learning, for instance, that they could not get cancer by hugging their mom.

“Anything you need, they had it there,” Ober said.

At the HOPE Resource Center, the goal is to help patients, their families and caregivers deal with cancer and its treatment in their own way, while assuring them they don’t have to face the challenge alone.

The center presents numerous support groups for patients, cancer survivors and their loved ones. Some programs counsel patients about ways to speak with their children about their cancer.

In “Art with Heart,” kids affected by cancer can discuss or express their feelings though art. “I Got You, Babe” helps couples having difficulty expressing their cancer concerns to each other. “Man 2 Man” helps prostate cancer patients and their families.

David Braiterman of Concord and his partner, Mary Bergeron, attended monthly “Man 2 Man” sessions and the “I Got You, Babe” program.

They said that hearing his “Man 2 Man” colleagues share their personal experiences helped ease his anxiety.

“I realized there are a whole bunch of other people out there who are going through exactly what I am going through. I am not alone,” Braiterman said.

Payson Center developed the Anticancer Lifestyle program. The 12-week program helps cancer survivors transform their lifestyle by learning about the impact diet, physical activity, stress management and other factors have on cancer.

The center also supports out-of-pocket expenses for patients in need by providing gift cards through Concord Hospital Trust’s Gene Gillis and Lend Me a Hand Funds to help pay for groceries, gas and oncology related medications.

Laura Keyser of Moultonborough knows first hand.

The Lend Me a Hand Fund was so important to Laura and her husband, Todd, that an annual golf tournament in Todd’s memory now helps support it.

Todd died in 2012 after nearly two years of cancer treatment. He and Laura drove countless 110-mile roundtrips, making gas a real expense, and a headache, when the Keysers were trying to focus on treatment.

Lend Me a Hand Fund gas cards helped the Keysers, and now, proceeds from the Todd Keyser Golf Classic in Moultonborough are divided between college funds for their three children and the fund.

“It makes me feel good and I think Todd would be honored,” Laura said. “He knew how it helped us and now, we can help others.”

A sampling of other services available through the HOPE Resource Center include:

Complementary therapies including exercise, yoga, aromatherapy, meditation, Reiki and acupuncture.

Educational programs, classes and support groups to share feelings and thoughts on cancer-related issues, get information about community services and share tips on coping skills and new ways to deal with stress.

Financial counseling.

Dietary counseling, evaluation and monitoring of nutritional status and help coping with treatment side effects.

Spiritual counseling.

An oncology social worker to help patients and families sort through the cancer experience and learn about other resources.

To view a list of HOPE Resource Center programs and services, visit concordhospital.org/services/ cancer/resource-center.

Author: David Tirrell-Wysocki / For the Insider

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