Write-up by Minda Luz M. Quesada, BSN, MPH, Dr. P.H.
Colon Cancer Patient
It's the 7th nnual Get-together today, December 4, 1994, or the Cancer Crusaders Club, starting at. 8:30 AM, at Tangco Hall, Manila Doctors Hospital, UN Avenue,, Ermita, Manila.
The first one, a brainchild of the oncologist. Dr. Reynaldo .Joson, was held on December 4, 1988, also at Manila Doctors. That occasion ushered in the Cancer Crusaders Club, or CCC, a voluntary, non-profit organization built around Dr. Joson's concept that the traditional treatment of cancer-surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy -important though these may be, also needs the psychosocial dimensions of therapy, for patients no less than their care-givers.
He thought of this yearly Christmas get-together party (to be held on every first Sunday of December) as an opportune moment to gather his patients and their families. The occasion could provide the opportunity for people with cancer to get to know others who are struggling against. this life-threatening illness. It would be helpful for them to talk about their experiences outside of family and to be able to draw some inspiration and lessons from what others have done to cope with it. It is particularly beneficial for those who have just been diagnosed and treated, to interact with those who have had remissions from 5-12 or more years. Invariably, these personal encounters would lead to the establishment of a social support network that may well be sustained in between the annual reunions.
'The word "crusaders" is used not only to describe the main purpose of the club, which is to fight cancer, but also to include for membership, persons without cancer who want to join the fight against cancer. Membership is thus open to all persons with cancer, to all ex-cancer patients, and to those who do not have cancer but are interested in the crusade against cancer and in helping people afflicted with cancer. The only requirement to be a member is a manifestation of intention to join the club. There is no membership fee.
Dr. Joson believes that being a member of the Cancer Crusaders Club, in a way prepares him to the possibility that he himself may develop cancer. The testimonials from crusaders who have cancer, provides him, as it does for others, a lot of insights on how to deal with this threatening illness should be the Big C also get him.
Other than the annual get-togethers, the Cancer Crusaders Club, through Dr. Joson's initiative, has participated in the national Cancer Consciousness Week which is held in January. This year, the activities held at Manila Doctors Hospital included free consultations, information/education sessions and counselling to the public. Some members of the Club have volunteered to share their experiences during these sessions.
Eventually, the club hopes to be able to set up a cancer information service. Meanwhile, some CCCrusaders are also members of cancer support groups like LAKAS (Laban sa Kanser) and the Philippine Cancer Society Support Group.