In the mid ‘90's, three women met for coffee and conversation. The conversation was about cancer; they had all had breast cancer. In 1995 they invited a newcomer to Bedford to join them, and later, two other women from town joined their group.
As time went on, they continued to meet - for coffee, for lunch, for dinner - to chat about family, friends, and other matters of common interest. Sometimes, they even discussed cancer. As their bonds tightened, their support for one another increased.
They recognized the benefits of their meetings, and felt a need to reach out to others who might also benefit from support of this type. They wanted to help them ease the feelings of loneliness, fear, and isolation that often accompany dealing with a life-threatening disease. So they decided to help others form their own support groups.
They were joined in this effort by a number of other Bedford women, including a nurse, a nurse practitioner, a teacher, and a Board of Health member. Together they brainstormed, and in the spring of 2000 organized the Bedford Cancer Network.
The main goals of the Bedford Cancer Network, when the group was formed, were:
- to facilitate the formation of local cancer support groups;
- to provide lectures by local professionals on cancer-related issues; and
- to distribute information about cancer of all kinds.
Lecture topics have included radiation treatment, the healing power of laughter, genetic research, massage therapy, recent drug therapies, and chiropractic therapies.
Recently, the Bedford Cancer Network has decided to focus its efforts on distributing information. In order to share more information with more people, they used a grant from the Bedford Women's Club to develop a website - BedfordCancerNetwork.org. The site features helpful links of interest to cancer patients, their family, and friends, with a decided local flavor.
The Bedford Cancer Network continues to be a resource for connecting people who are "living beyond cancer."