In 2010, Shelby Hewitt was diagnosed with breast cancer. She was in the midst of undergoing chemotherapy, when she began feeling isolated and in need of the opportunity to talk and share with other women about their journey through cancer. Shelby reached out to McLeod Oncology Social Worker Raquel Serrano in an effort to enlist her assistance in getting a group started.
Because of Shelby's passion, the group became a reality in August of 2010. Today, the group is made up of a wonderful group of smart, funny, knowledgeable women who are at different stages of their survivorship journey and who share not only their struggles but also their love of life, their support for each other, and their humor, according to Serrano.
The women have bonded as they have shared their fears, frustrations, humor, resiliency, laughter, and support for one another as well as encouraging new members who have joined the group.
As a clinically trained licensed social worker and a breast cancer survivor herself, Serrano says that she is privileged to be part of this support group.
"When you hear the "C" word not only are you in shock, but you feel like your world has been thrown off kilter. You are left speechless and feeling as though life has changed forever for you and your loved ones," explains Serrano. "Patients often feel isolated and scared of this little companion which they did not invite into their lives. And, as the cancer takes patients into unfamiliar territory that has fear and uncertainty as its hallmark, they may also come face to face with their mortality and feelings of loneliness can become more pronounced.
"Having cancer makes us face grief, confusion, exhaustion, anger, and fear among many other feelings. Even once treatment is completed, patients often experience physical as well as emotional pain, maybe even grieving for the person they were. You want your life back but you are at a new place in time and you have to move forward with the 'new' you. These issues and many others make the essence of a support group a tool for addressing survivorship challenges in a safe, healing environment," added Serrano.
Shelby's Group meets the third Thursday of each month at the McLeod Resource Center offering information, support, and understanding to women coping with breast cancer. Often, educational presentations are presented by physicians, physical therapists, chaplains, psychologists, and others in the field.
Join us every month for information, support, and understanding.
When: The group meets the Third Thursday of each month at 6:00 p.m.
Where: McLeod Resource Center 927 E. Day Street - Florence, SC
Questions? For more information on Shelby's Group, contact Raquel Serrano.
Raquel Serrano, LMSW, ACSW, OSW-C
McLeod Social Worker
(843) 777 -5695