Cedar Lake resident Sylvia Huerta is still dancing despite being in the fight of her life against stage 3 lung cancer.
“I’ve had a long journey,” she says about her five year battle. “And I pray to God that I still have another five years. I’m still trying to enjoy life. Last year, I started going to church dances...Greek, Episcopal, Catholic…doesn’t matter which denomination. I am dancing the night away finding something new to help make me happy.”
After attending a couple of sessions at the Lung Cancer Support Group at the Cancer Resource Centre in Munster, Huerta found that “talking to people going through the same experience helps a lot, too. I’m here to talk with others to see how they are coping.”
Keeping active and having a positive attitude goes a long way, says Helen Kolodziej, MSW, LCSW, facilitator of the Lung Cancer Support Group.
“Making the choice to attend a support group is a proactive step to take in the cancer journey,” she says. “Receiving a diagnosis can be overwhelming and frightening. Our lung cancer support group provides a comfortable environment where one can discuss how lung cancer has affected them. Meaningful interactions with others are both empowering and uplifting and also good for the soul.”
Huerta says “I have a t-shirt that reads, ‘Cancer doesn’t just come in pink…GRAY matters’. I think that sometimes people forget that lung cancer is the number one cancer killer of women.”
It is important to have support for all kinds of cancers, Kolodziej says.
The Cancer Resource Centre is a support program of the Community Cancer Research Foundation that is open to everyone who needs help in coping with a cancer diagnosis. The therapeutic environment of the center promotes healing of the body, mind and spirit with complementary therapies, education and support services.
Besides support groups, exercise and wellness classes, the center also provides a free lending library. Patients with cancer and their loved ones will find a tranquil retreat to help them manage their stress and regain control of their health, all under one convenient roof.
“One of the most powerful things I have learned through my position as director of the Cancer Resource Centre is that everyone has a coping mechanism within them,” said Anthony Andello, Centre director. “When we provide the right support, resources and guidance, those strengths will start to surface when they are needed the most.”
The Cancer Resource Centre, located at 926 Ridge Road in Munster, complements the advanced cancer treatment options available through the three hospitals of Community Healthcare System. The center is open to everyone who needs help in coping with a cancer diagnosis. The Lung Cancer Support Group meets 10-11:30 a.m. the second Wednesday of each month. For more information, visit cancerresourcecentre.com or call 219-836-3349.