SwedishAmerican Regional Cancer Center Establishes Area's First Latino Cancer Support Group

When a local cancer patient was interested in forming a cancer support group for Spanish-speaking patients, the SwedishAmerican Regional Cancer Center staff was quick to help.

Working together, Counselor Deb Schwarze, MS, MA, LCPC, Interpreter Maria Hernandez and Business Office Supervisor Patricia Delhotal were able to make the patient's wish come true. "Deb volunteered her time and energy to help get the group up and going," says Delhotal. "Deb gave Maria all the paperwork and she translated the information into Spanish so all of the participants would be able to understand what the group was about. Still without a place to have the meetings, Maria came to me and asked if I could help her because she wanted to have the meetings here."

With approval from Director Diane Scoville, the group scheduled its first meeting at the Regional Cancer Center and started spreading the word. In November, the group's first meeting was attended by 10 participants and 2 caretakers.

"The room was full of positivity and excitement," says Delhotal. "Every single person had a story about their cancer and how they survived, and continue to survive each day. The room was filled with tears, laughter and an amazing sense of commonality. As everyone was leaving, each and every person hugged and thanked one another for being there; starting as strangers and ending as friends. They also decided to exchange numbers with each other in case anyone was in need! What an amazing and humbling experience."

Patients interested in learning more about the Latino Cancer Support Group, which meets at 1 PM every other Wednesday, can contact the SwedishAmerican Regional Cancer Center by calling (779) 696-9400.

For further information, contact:

Paul Greenland

Katryna Kirby