By Pam Robinson
The newly formed Lily Pad Cancer Support Group will hold its first meeting Monday, September 17, starting at 6 p.m. and ending promptly at 8 p.m. Mount Vernon General Baptist Church, 1717 N. Main Street, has agreed to host the group monthly every third Monday.
The free program includes light refreshments and greeting from 6 – 6:30 p.m., a speaker from 6:30 – 7:15 p.m., and sharing in a caring and safe environment from 7:15 – 8 p.m. Breast cancer survivor Melody Oeth is the first speaker. Oeth recently opened her office as nurse practitioner in Mount Vernon. Readers will remember she was presented the Courage Award at this year’s Mount Vernon Relay for Life.
The Lily Pad Cancer Support Group wants to reach out to past and current cancer patients along with their family and friends. The group name, “Lily Pad,” reflects the philosophy of its two organizers, Connie Pearce and Chris Hoehn, to be F.R.O.G.s, or “Fully Reliant On God.” The aim is to provide information and inspiration in a God-centered environment.
There is no charge for the group, and no denomination is favored. Co-owner of the Posey County News, Connie Pearce explains that Mount Vernon General Baptist Church facilities are centrally located, and Pastor Matt Watson and his congregation graciously agree to host groups aiding the community.
Although Pearce has been cancer free all her life, she has supported—and lost—family and friends with cancer. In fact, her organization of Lily Pad started as a mission to help her friend Karen Hahn diagnosed—twice—with melanoma, now in remission. Hahn asked for help finding a local cancer support group. Neither she nor Pearce could turn up anything.
Subsequently, Pearce called another long-time friend and colon cancer survivor, Chris Hoehn, and as they met over lunch one day, the two agreed they would offer a support group not only to cancer patients, but also to their family and friends. Pearce and Hoehn realized cancer affects all the patient’s relationships, and everyone involved needs someone to care and someone with whom to share.
Director of Religious Life at the University of Southern Indiana, or USI, Hoehn emphasizes that participants might choose to hop on the Lily Pad for a few months, then hop off, or choose to hang out on the Lily Pad for a number of months.
“We have no expectations,” she comments. “We just want people to know we care.”
Pearce and Hoehn have sent letters and fliers to Posey County medical facilities and churches. They invite volunteers to help with the group – to supply a snack, for example, or to serve one. For more information, individuals are asked to call Pearce at 812-459-4812 or Hoehn at 812-682-3905.
By Pam Robinson
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