BANGOR – A program at the Bangor YMCA is helping men who have been diagnosed with penile, testicular or prostate cancer. An organizer for the program says it helps men who may be going through a difficult time.
Caring Connections was created by a partnership between the Bangor YMCA and Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center.
It has been providing breast cancer support for women since the 1990s but in 2016 staff members wanted to provide more.
“We were really looking at what other services can we provide in the community. What’s lacking,” said Leanne Bishop, A health education specialist at the Bangor YMCA.
A conversation at a health and wellness fair sparked the idea for the program Men’s Cancer Network.
“I needed that support. I think you leave every meeting feeling like okay you’re not alone,” said Jonathan Henry.
Henry was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2007. It’s a battle he’s been fighting for several years.
“I went nine years without a recurrence, numbers were good, and then in 2017 they spiked back up,” Henry said.
A cancer survivor who is still fighting is the group’s co-facilitator. He helps others who may be going through something similar.
“What I see more than anything is people who are fearful because they don’t know a lot and everybody is willing to take that person in and say it’s okay. Nobody knew anything when they started this journey,” Henry said.
Members will meet the first Wednesday of each month. It’s an open space welcoming all. Allowing people to share or just listen.
“Everybody is able to participate as much as they want to,” said Bishop.
Henry says the group creates a network of friends- a community that understands, and supports one another.
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