Cass County support group gives courage to cancer victims

Published 9:14 am Thursday, January 30, 2014

DOWAGIAC, Mich. — Judy Saylor first noticed the lump in early 2012. A diagnosis that summer confirmed the 62-year-old Dowagiac resident’s worst fear.

“I had a right breast lumpectomy and lymph node biopsy, followed by chemotherapy and radiation,” Saylor said. “Today, I feel great and there are no signs of the breast cancer. It was, however, a difficult and emotional time for me. I found breast cancer support services in Kalamazoo, but there are many women like myself in our community who need that support as well.”

The need for a support group for breast cancer survivors in Cass County has now become a reality with the creation of a breast cancer support group called the “Wings of Hope.”

The Wings of Hope group provides an environment where area women’s hopes, fears and triumphs can be expressed with others who have experienced breast cancer and the similar challenges these women face. It was established by nursing leadership at Borgess-Lee Memorial Hospital, including Judy Saylor’s daughter.

“My mom provided the inspiration for Wings of Hope, and the vision and leadership support from Borgess- Lee has helped this support group become a reality,” said Pamela Grosvenor, RN, PeriOperative Unit Supervisor, Borgess-Lee Memorial Hospital. “There are many breast cancer patients and their families in Cass County who lack a supportive network of faith, family and friends. The disease is just the first part of the healing process. We want to ensure area women, including those with a diagnosis like my mom, have a venue to turn to for breast cancer education, accurate information, and support with a faith focus.”

The Wings of Hope Breast Cancer Support Group held its first meeting in November with nine women in attendance. Meetings are free and are held from 5 to 6 p.m. on the fourth Tuesday of each month at Borgess-Lee Medical Group in the Donald Lyons Health Center.

“I feel I am very blessed,” Saylor said. “Wings of Hope provides an opportunity to unite with others who are facing a similar diagnosis or course of treatment, and the group creates a network of greatly needed support. No matter the journey, you’ve got to hold on to hope!”

For information on Wings of Hope, please call the Borgess Lee Medical Group at (269) 783-2097.