Support groups can make a difference |

Support groups can make a difference

Kay VasilakisPost Independent WriterGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado

Most cancer patients, caregivers and family members can use all the support they can get their hands on. That is why Pathfinders offers support groups for caregivers and cancer patients. The Glenwood support group meets at noon the fourth Monday of each month in the Transitions to Wellness Building, 1322 Grand Ave. The Aspen support group meets from 6-7:30 p.m. second Tuesdays at the Pitkin County Senior Center, 0275 Castle Creek Road.Pathfinders works with patients and caregivers individually and in groups to address the psychosocial and spiritual issues that accompany a cancer diagnosis. With a two-pronged emphasis on coping and social support, the Pathfinders program empowers patients to become proactive in their overall health care. A new health promotion and cancer prevention initiative is being offered to the Hispanic community, designed to provide information on cancer prevention, early detection, and treatment as well as address why a healthy lifestyle can prevent cancer. Pathfinders provides coupons for free mammograms also.Pathfinders offers a number of services for clients. These services include counseling; help in finding information in the complex medical system; lifestyle education for nutrition, exercise and stress management; resource referral for financial assistance, home health and supportive services; education, referral and subsidy of alternative care; end-of-life planning with palliative care and hospice; and communication and coordination of services with physicians and other members of the care team.The organization collaborates with any agency or provider that serves the needs of cancer patients, including physicians, hospitals, nursing homes, home health agencies, hospice, Mountain Family Health, governmental agencies, Catholic Charities, Rosario de Latino, the Community Integration Initiative and schools.In 2009, Pathfinders plans to offer educational seminars for patients currently in treatment, as well as survivors and caregivers.”In the midst of the turmoil that cancer has added to my life, Pathfinders has made me feel like a valued person,” said Grace H., a Pathfinder client. “They have given me reassurance and hope. In so many ways, my Pathfinder has made my experience with cancer more manageable.” Pathfinders is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, and has scholarships available for those who are unable to pay for services.Kay Vasilakis’ “Nonprofit Spotlight” column is published every other Wednesday in the Glenwood Springs Post Independent. She is the media coordinator for the Garfield County Human Services Commission. To contact her, call 384-9118 or e-mail At a GlanceWhen was Pathfinders established in Garfield County? October of 2007.What is its mission? Pathfinders is a comprehensive, psychosocial support program for cancer patients, caregivers and family members designed to address quality-of-life needs which typically fall outside the realm of standard medical care. Goal: To help ease the passage through initial diagnosis, treatment and into survivorship or end-of-life.Contact numbers? Garfield County, Marti Stude, LCSW, 963-1492; Pitkin County/Eagle Kristin MacDermott, LPC, MFT 925-7792Physical address? 1322 Grand Avenue, or 312 B Aspen Business Center, Aspen,

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