coronavirus pandemic

Cancer Support Goes Online During Coronavirus Pandemic

Cancer Support Community North Texas closes its clubhouses because of COVID-19, but sees dramatic increase in use of online services.

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Demand for virtual cancer support has skyrocketed as places that provide valuable resources for cancer patients are temporarily closed during the pandemic.

Here in North Texas, cancer fighters have found the help they need online.

At the Cancer Support Community North Texas clubhouses, typically rooms are full of people in the middle of a cancer journey, gathered together to support each other.

During COVID-19, the rooms are empty as many cancer patients shelter at home during the pandemic.

"It's scary, to be honest with you," said Jeff Mark, battling stage four kidney cancer.

Mark is one of many cancer patients forced to give up their support group and other resources they so heavily relied on.

Cancer Support Community North Texas provides emotional support, financial guidance, art therapy, exercise classes, even nutrition guidance for patients and their families.

CEO Mirchelle Louis said that when the pandemic hit, staff worked in high gear to move their services online.

During the first four weeks of "shelter-in-place," CSCNT offered 55 virtual support groups with more than 200 attendees/visits, including several Spanish-speaking groups.

They also held 43 virtual workshops/classes with more than 8,000 views, with the most well-attended/viewed being exercise, meditation and art classes.

It equates to a 1000% increase in online interaction for the group year over year.

"The numbers tell the story and feedback from members tell the impact," said Louis.

"The Cancer Center supports groups, whether they're at the center or via zoom, are lifelines to us," said cancer patient Sherry Goiffon.

Louis says the organization will continue to expand and evolve programming to meet the need of its more than 5,000 members.

Membership is free to anyone who simply signs up indicating they need support.

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