When first diagnosed with cancer, most people find themselves in unfamiliar and disorienting territory. It helps if someone can show you the ropes.
Survivors by the Sea, a cancer support group on the North Shore of Massachusetts, donates customized Survivor Bags to recently diagnosed cancer patients. The tote bags are filled with items both comforting and useful during chemotherapy and radiation treatment. But, the group does not stop there.
Founded nearly a decade ago by 11 cancer survivors, Survivors by the Sea has grown to 160 members in New England and beyond. Membership is made up entirely of cancer patients, survivors and caregivers. They are led by President Linda Calla and receive support from the Marie C. Petrilli Foundation. The group’s goal is to “pay it forward” by assisting other patients, survivors and caregivers through treatment and on to life after treatment. The group plans dinners, nights out and other events that help members have fun. They also provide meals, drive people to appointments and make hospital visits.
The group’s logo includes a sail, which reflects the survivors’ many types of cancer, and a red buoy to guide them safely to the end of their journey.
“There are many support groups for cancer patients, and all have an important purpose, but this group is no ordinary support group,” says Steven Isakoff, MD. “Over the past ten years, whenever I have had a patient who seemed to be having a hard time or in need of support, in addition to offering Mass General’s wonderful services, I have often called on the Survivors by the Sea. They have welcomed my patients, engaging them to join with other members to forget about their cancer for a while and know they are not alone.”