BOZEMAN — Cancer Support Community Montana provides programs to help people diagnosed with cancer, family members and their friends with a variety of support.
MTN's Chet Layman begins a series of stories looking at these free programs and talking to people who have benefited from them.
"In their attempt to try to understand, they told my daughter, 'I'm sorry your mom is going to die.'" said Judy Haskins, CSC cancer survivor. "And so she came home from school, crying, 'are you going to die, mom?'"
"Not long after we found out about the kids' support program and enrolled all three kids into the program where they had education, crafts and fun times with other kids to learn about cancer," said Haskins. "Learn a little bit about the science behind it in kid terms, age-appropriate terms, and learn different treatments and coping mechanisms and how to live with it."
"One of the great things about Cancer Support Community is the parents can have their own educational sessions with our professionally led instructors and then the kids can also have separate child-leveled education," said Kimi Rook, CSC Program and Outreach manager. "For example, the kids support where the parents can be out with any of our doctors, learning what they need to learn, but the kids can also be learning with me or through books or play with any of our other therapists here."
"Being with other kids, whose parent was diagnosed with cancer or going through treatment and feeling the comfort and the comradery and the support that brings, realizing that they're not alone," said Haskins.
"Cancer takes a huge financial toll on the family," she added. "The surgeries, the treatments, the lost work, the lost income take a huge toll," said Haskins. "So to know that these services are free of charge to patients and their caregivers and their families is life-changing."
"These children are going to build the skills now and as you mentioned, you will have it for years and years to come," said Rook. "My goal is that those kids will retain the knowledge and the skills that they learned here to be able to help someone else later in life."
"The staff, the volunteers, the other families and other people who are diagnosed with cancer, they'll just wrap their arms around you and support you and make you feel like you're not alone like you can do this," said Haskins. "You can handle his cancer diagnosis, the hardship of the physical treatment, what happens to your body, what happens long-term all of the financial struggles...the support is here."
Join us tomorrow morning as we take a look at some of the healthy lifestyle classes offered by the Cancer Support Community, free of charge.