Support group welcomes new members

Support group welcomes new members

Anne O’Neill, an instructor of the School of Communication and the Arts and the director of the advertising communication program, invites anyone in the Gannon community affected by cancer to join the cancer support group she supervises.

The support group was started with the hope that it would build a supportive community that allows those affected by cancer to pray together, share their stories and feelings, share resources and find the support they need. This can include a friendly face, a listening ear, a ride to a doctor appointment, a babysitter, prepared meals and prayers.

Gannon’s Cancer Support Group meets the last Friday of every month from 4:15- 5:30 p.m. in the Upper Lounge of the Student Services Building.  The support group also has business meetings that determine how the group will function, the last Tuesday of every month at 11 a.m. in the Wright Room in the Waldron Campus Center.

Anyone in the Gannon community — students, faculty and staff — who are affected by cancer including those who are battling, a survivor, a caretaker, a family member or a friend are welcome to attend.

The group meetings are very flexible and not formal, but typically include an opening prayer, a snack — usually cookies — the opportunity for everyone in the group to share their story and feelings about everything in their lives, “praise and prayers” and a closing prayer.

Members of the group have agreed that it has been successful in achieving its mission. One member, a woman named Julie who has breast cancer, smiled and said that when attending the meetings “if nothing else I know that there are other people in the room, you can often feel alone.”

Amanda Kochirka, another woman in the group, has been around cancer for most of her life. Her mother had breast cancer when Kochirka was a child and has passed away less than a year ago from a form of abdominal cancer. Kochirka feels that the group has helped her in knowing that she does not have to be alone and because it is filled with members of the Gannon community it helps her feel comfort in knowing that she can easily reach out to someone whenever she needs help.

Alex Bohman, an advertising communication student, and one of O’Neill’s advisees had said “I’ve lost loved ones to cancer; I know what it’s like to watch your family members go through it and not know how to help them. It’s nice that that there is a group on campus to help someone fighting that battle who can understand what someone is going through.”

Kyle Martin, another of O’Neill’s advisees stated “I love Anne and I know that starting this group really means a lot to her, it allows her to not only help others with her knowledge, it also allows her to find support. I think that this is the perfect way for her to do that.”

To help show Gannon community members that they are not alone and welcome them to the support group meetings, members of the group will be have a table in the Waldron Campus Center on various days in October.

The next support group meeting is Friday, October 30 at 4:15 p.m. in the Upper Lounge and the next business meeting is Wednesday, October 27 at 11:00 a.m. in the Wright Room. All are welcome. If you have any questions, please contact Anne O’Neill at [email protected]


[email protected]