CHESTER – For those who are faced with cancer, there are a bevy of emotions that can be experienced, questions and uncertainties.
There is hope, there are answers and there are friendly voices on the other side of the phone line.
It comes in the form of the Cancer Hope Network.
“Our number one mission is letting people know about the support we offer,” said Natalie Fox, Marketing and Outreach Director of the Cancer Hope Network in Chester, NJ.
Fox said that those with cancer do not always know what to expect. The Cancer Hope Network can help.
Started in 1981 by Diane Byrnes-Paul, an oncology nurse, Byrnes-Paul was inspired to found the organization after she watched her uncle battle cancer. She felt that by speaking with a cancer survivor, much of his emotional pain could have been minimized.
The Cancer Hope Network is completely funded by benefactors and receives no government assistance. There are two major fundraisers annually for the organization, the first in June, the group’s Golf Classic (coming up on June 9) and the second, the Chrysalis Gala.
With it, the group offers support to those dealing with cancer through the opportunity to speak on the phone with a volunteer cancer survivor, who can answer questions.
The group has a network of more than 400 volunteers who can be matched with the approximately 2,000 calls annually that are placed into their call center annually from those who would like additional support as they deal with cancer.
Fox said that all volunteers undergo a training program and then are matched to the callers based on a variety of factors, such as the type of cancer, age group and more.
Fox said from there, volunteers make the call and are asked to call the person they are assigned to twice.
“We ask that the volunteer contact the patient at least twice,” she said. “Most keep up the friendship. We do patient satisfaction surveys to make sure those matched up are happy with the services. There is a 97 percent overall satisfaction rating.”
Support is offered to those ages 18 and older. In cases of children, the organization can match parents with other parents, who may have children who are ill.
“We have volunteers everywhere including Spanish-speaking,” Fox said.
The Cancer Hope Network helps to match those nationwide with volunteers from around the country.
To speak to a volunteer cancer survivor, call: (800) 552-4366. Call this number as well to register for the upcoming Golf Classic and ask for the special events manager.
To volunteer (must be cancer-free for one year), click here.
For the Cancer Hope Network’s website, click here.
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