Support Group Meetings
What’s an in-person LiveLung meeting like? It’s like getting together with friends and talking about a common interest. LiveLung Groups are where those fighting lung cancer (and their loved ones) can feel welcomed, respected and safe from the stigma that we see so much in our daily conversations. It is where experienced survivors can share information and resources with those who are newly diagnosed. It’s a place to keep informed about new treatment breakthroughs. A place to rally around others fighting the same battle, to laugh and cry with the triumphs and losses we inevitably experience.
If you have ever had the opportunity to attend a national gathering of lung cancer survivors, like LUNGevity’s Hope Summit or Lung Cancer Alliance’s Advocacy Summit, then you know the bond lung cancer survivors share. Monthly meetings are a little like these gatherings, only on a smaller scale.
Each LiveLung Group is unique, and the specific program or agenda is decided locally, but many support groups feature a guest who will talk about a topic of interest to the group—perhaps an oncologist, a counselor, or another professional. Sometimes they may show a short video published by LiveLung Online that discusses the latest breaking news in lung cancer research and treatment, or tips on how to handle stigma with dignity, or other relevant and timely content. There is usually a time for sharing personal updates or concerns. Many groups set aside a few moments for a prayer. And there’s always time to socialize and get to know folks!
LiveLung Groups are always free, and always welcome to those who have a connection to lung cancer, and want to join a community of respect, support, and hope. It’s also a great place to get some lung cancer awareness items, like mugs, pens, wristbands, or other freebies that you can use to start conversations with other people in your life.
Mostly, it’s a place people in the lung cancer community can call their own. We wish all in the lung cancer community to LiveLung & Prosper!
Where Can I Attend a LiveLung Group?
As of February 2015, there are three LiveLung Lung Cancer Groups: High Point, NC, Burlington, NC and Greenville, SC. We are hoping to expand to other communities as patient advocates and thoracic nurse navigators come on board. Below is contact information and meeting details.
High Point, NC
Meets First Wednesday of Each Month
Community Bible Church
4125 Johnson Street
(Behind church in modular building #2)
High Point, NC 27265
Meets Third Tuesday of Each Month
St. Francis Cancer Center
104 Innovation Drive
Greenville, SC 29607
Amy Fuller, RN, BSN
How the LiveLung Lung Cancer Group Started…
When Anna was diagnosed with lung cancer, she needed to connect with someone who had survived a similar experience. But the nearest lung cancer support group was an hour away. So Anna drove all night from North Carolina to Ohio to attend a regional LUNGevity Hope Summit, just to meet other lung cancer survivors. When she returned, she searched the Hope Summit alumni list to find local lung cancer survivor, Dusty Donaldson. Over coffee, Anna and Dusty discussed the great need for lung cancer survivors to get together and share experiences. Right then and there, they decided to start a support group in High Point. A few months later, the group had its first meeting and has been meeting every month since.
Anna, who leads support groups for other purposes, knew how empowering these meetings could be. She not only needed camaraderie among like-minded lung cancer survivors, she knew she could help others, as well.
“I am so energized and encouraged every time I leave a LiveLung meeting,” says Anna. “I know this is what I am supposed to be doing. It’s very rewarding to see all the other lung cancer survivors and know that we are all helping each other.”
Many cancer centers and hospitals organize and host breast cancer support groups, or one for all cancers combined.
“Those can be good for some people,” says Dusty. “But it’s important to understand that people with lung cancer face challenges unique to this cancer. People with breast cancer, for example, may not be able to relate to the stigma lung cancer patients experience.”
So together Anna and Dusty started the first LiveLung support group. They were surprised to find so many in the area eager to be a part of the group. “These people were neighbors,” says Dusty, “and I didn’t even know we had these shared experiences. It was really eye-opening to see the need and—more importantly—to see that need met.”
Now we are looking for people like Anna and Dusty in towns across the country willing to reach out to others in their area, and help create a space for people to come together and share their stories.
We welcome you into our network of lung cancer support groups or will help if you choose to be independent.