January 3, 2014 11:00 AM
Melanie N. Cross
“To know the road ahead, ask those coming back.” This Chinese proverb perfectly describes the mission of Ovarian Cancer Research Fund’s Woman to Woman, a program that pairs gynecologic cancer patients with trained and supervised volunteer survivors who provide one-on-one emotional support and mentoring.
Through diagnosis, treatment and recovery, survivor volunteers will meet one-on-one with the patients with whom they are matched. They will listen, discuss concerns, provide advice and support and sometimes just hold a hand.
Volunteers will be professionally trained in active listening, effective communication skills and how to address cultural differences. They also will receive an overview of gynecologic cancers and the medical and psycho-social issues associated with each disease to supplement the special insights that can only come from someone with their own personal gynecologic cancer experience.
“The Woman to Woman program will not only be ideally suited to our gynecologic cancer patients, but will also serve as a model for additional programs directed at survivors of other cancers,” Robinson says. “This program can set the standard for what cancer care should include and demonstrate how that level of care can be made available to all members of the community, regardless of income level.”
Woman to Woman also offers resources and support for family members and caregivers of gynecologic cancer patients, including the opportunity to speak with a volunteer or the program coordinator, as well as caregivers of other patients enrolled in the program who share similar experiences.
Melanie Cross is manager of communications at the Tulane Cancer Center.
Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5000 firstname.lastname@example.org