PARKERSBURG - When a cancer patient or caregiver goes to the Cancer Resource Center in Camden Clark Medical Center's Medical Office Building B, they won't find people who have just read about the issues they're facing.
Each of the 15 volunteers who staff the center from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays is a cancer survivor or has taken care of someone diagnosed with cancer.
"Until it happens to you or to your family, you really don't know about the fear or the lifestyle adjustments," said Lesa Hunter, volunteer chairwoman for the center and a cancer survivor herself.
From left, Terri Francis, mission delivery specialist for the American Cancer Society in West Virginia; Jamie Jacobsen, regional tobacco prevention coordinator with the Mid-Ohio Valley Health Department; and Pat Goodwin, cancer survivor and volunteer, chat during the third anniversary reception for the Cancer Resource Center at Camden Clark Medical Center Friday. (Photo by Evan Bevins)
The center is an initiative of the American Cancer Society and hosted by Camden Clark. It marked its third anniversary Friday with a reception in the office where volunteers direct cancer patients and their family members to services like Road to Recovery, which provides rides to treatment; local cancer support groups; cleaning assistance; and more. The office also offers information about cancer, screening programs and tobacco cessation resources, along with providing wigs, hats, scarves and more for men and women who have lost their hair during treatment.
"The thing that you do here is you're here," said Williamstown resident Rondal Cline, a volunteer at the center since it started. "You're available, trained, to talk to the people and try to help the people."
One reason Cline got involved with the center was to provide others with support like he received from prostate cancer survivors when he was diagnosed with the disease nearly a decade ago. It's the same reason cancer survivor Pat Goodwin was drawn to the center after she retired.
"It really helped me to know that other people had gone through this and they were still here," Goodwin said.
One of volunteer Sandy Hathaway's favorite things about working at the center on Friday afternoons is seeing patients leave with a new wig.
"(I enjoy) the smile that's on their face, the reaction to seeing a woman that has no hair walk out of here with a wig that makes her look beautiful, feel beautiful," she said.
People learn about the center through word of mouth and referrals from doctors, but Hunter said she wants to make the community more aware of what it has to offer. She's willing to do presentations on the center for local groups, and she's also looking for more volunteers, saying the ideal number would be about 30.
People interested in either of those opportunities can contact the center at (304) 424-2137.