Support group at Smilow Cancer Hospital wins top recognition

The following press release was issued by the Lung Cancer Alliance:

Lung Cancer Alliance Awards 3rd Annual Support Group Award

Washington, Nov. 22, 2011 — Today, Lung Cancer Alliance (LCA) announced the recipients of the third annual LCA Lung Cancer Support Group Award.  For the first time, two support groups tied for the honor: The Thoracic Oncology Program (TOP) Support Group at Smilow Cancer Hospital at Yale New Haven, CT led by Irene Scanlon, LCSW and Linda David, RN, and the Lung Cancer Support Group through ALA – Central FL, led by Lori Clanton in Orlando, FL.

"Every day we receive calls from lung cancer patients needing support. If there is a lung cancer specific support group in their area, we refer them there," explained Maureen Rigney, LICSW, Director of Community and Support Services at LCA. "The Support Group Award winners are chosen based on the nominations from the lung cancer community."

"It is such an honor for our support group to win," Lori Clanton, group facilitator from Florida, says. "It represents a place where patients, their friends, family, and caregivers can go and feel empowered by other members who know and understand what it is like to be diagnosed with lung cancer. Every month we come together knowing there are no stigmas or judgments made about 'why', but rather, kindness, compassion, and strength of the human spirit is ever present and welcoming to all."

Irene Scanlon, who co-facilitates with Linda David said of the Connecticut group, "It has continued to grow and members check in with each other, especially during times when extra support is needed. Our members have become proactive, wanting to educate the community at large about lung cancer and about the myths and assumptions about people who have lung cancer."

The groups selected have highly dedicated facilitators, consistent schedules, frequent communication to remind members of meetings, accommodate both patients and caregivers and are open to the public.

"We created this award to recognize excellent support groups and to inspire and encourage the creation of more lung cancer support groups throughout the U.S.," continued Rigney. "We know how valuable they are for those diagnosed with lung cancer."

"It's made a huge difference in my life. You sit in a group with other people going through the same thing. People talk and it makes you feel better. I never thought I could learn to live with lung cancer, but with the help of this group, I have," said Mary June Bayuk, a participant in the Connecticut group.

"It's not only a support group but it's a safe haven," said Steve Brayman, a participant in the Florida group. "We do share the effects of a common illness but more important we share our emotions, fears and questions. With the tears and laughs we share at each meeting, it brings us more strength to survive."

To find a lung cancer support group near you, please visit: http://www.lungcanceralliance.org/facing/support_groups.html.

Lung Cancer Alliance is the only national non-profit dedicated to providing support and advocacy for those living with or at risk for lung cancer. LCA is committed to reversing decades of stigma and neglect by empowering those with or at risk for lung cancer, elevating awareness and changing health policy at both the federal and state level.

Yale New Haven Hospital (YNHH), part of Yale New Haven Health, is a nationally recognized, 1,541-bed, not-for-profit hospital serving as the primary teaching hospital for the Yale School of Medicine (YSM). Founded as the fourth voluntary hospital in the U.S. in 1826, today, YNHH has two New Haven-based campuses, and also includes Yale New Haven Children's Hospital, Yale New Haven Psychiatric Hospital and Smilow Cancer Hospital. YNHH has received Magnet designation from the American Nurses Credentialing Center, the nation’s highest honor of nursing excellence. YNHH has a combined medical staff of about 4,500 university and community physicians practicing in more than 100 specialties. www.ynhh.org