Survivor and Caregiver Network Provides Support in the Face of Diagnosis
Robb Lamont, four-year survivor and SCN Volunteer
A diagnosis of pancreatic cancer can leave a person feeling frightened and confused. It may be hard to imagine a path toward finding meaning and hope in that situation. But comfort and hope is exactly what experiences from courageous survivors and caregivers in our pancreatic cancer community create, especially when shared with others who need support.
The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network connects people who can provide this type of encouragement and empathy—survivors and caregivers—to others who are in need of support through its Survivor and Caregiver Network (SCN). Robb Lamont is a four-year survivor, clinical trials participant and a volunteer for the SCN. He keenly understands pancreatic cancer and the challenges that come with treatment.
“When I was first diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, I benefitted from connecting with SCN volunteers who had been through similar experiences,” Robb shared. “Talking to someone who was doing well provided me hope for my future. Though I had tremendous love and support from my wife, family and friends, sometimes only someone who has walked in your shoes can lift your spirits enough to continue the through the challenges of treatment,” says Robb.
Now, Robb gives back as an active SCN volunteer, inspiring others. “I enjoy this volunteerism,” he adds. “A pancreatic cancer diagnosis changes your life and the lives of the people you love forever. When I receive a call from someone who has been diagnosed, the person is usually scared and dealing with a lot of information. Because I have been through my own ‘storm,’ my ability to help calm their storm is very powerful.”
How It Works
The SCN meets the needs of the pancreatic cancer community—those who have been diagnosed and their caregivers—where they are. “Those going through this process oftentimes cannot find a pancreatic cancer support group in their area or do not feel well enough to attend group meetings,” explains Cassadie Moravek, manager of training and resources for the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network’s Patient and Liaison Services (PALS) program. “Receiving support through the SCN over the phone, from the comfort of their own homes, benefits both the survivor or caregiver in need and the volunteer on the other end of the line.”
When patients or caregivers call into the PALS program, a PALS Associate provides them with the names and contact information for volunteers who closely match their personal situation, such as diagnosis, treatment history and geographic location. PALS Associates will also attempt to makes matches based on gender or age, if preferred. Upon receiving the contact information for the volunteers, the patient or caregiver can then directly reach out to the volunteer by phone or email, whichever they prefer.
Currently, the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network is working to build up its group of volunteers—both survivors and caregivers—who have experiences with inoperable or metastatic pancreatic cancer. Those best suited for this role have a compassionate nature and are able to listen as well as share experiences, by phone and email. If you are at the point in your own journey as a survivor or a caregiver/family member that you feel you can help, please consider becoming a volunteer for the Survivor and Caregiver Network. You can request more information by visiting our website at http://www.pancan.org/section_facing_pancreatic_cancer/survivor_stories/volunteer.php
If you are recently diagnosed, going through treatment, or caring for a loved one with pancreatic cancer and would like support from the SCN, please contact a PALS Associate at 877-272-6226 or email@example.com, Monday – Friday, 7 a.m. – 5 p.m., Pacific Time.