Robin McQuillan knows the importance of a support group. She and two others founded, and continue to run, Lymphoma Canada’s Waterloo Region Connection, an education and support program for lymphoma patients and their families.
As a former non-Hodgkin lymphoma patient herself, McQuillan has been contracted by Lymphoma Canada to develop the curriculum for their newest Patient Support Program, which will focus on the holistic support of a cancer patient.
“The group will address individuals’ core human needs, particularly as they apply to the cancer experience, which include physical, intellectual, emotional, social, spiritual and practical needs,” McQuillan says.
There will be six consecutive sessions, each two hours long, comprised of activities, discussion periods, and reflection time. Each session will focus on a centralized topic.
The Patient Support Program will become a welcoming environment where patients can candidly discuss their hopes, fears, and challenges with other lymphoma patients—people who know what they are going through.
McQuillan is a trained educator and facilitator, and has found motivation and inspiration from her own lymphoma battle. As a cancer patient she found that support was key to her survival. Through her research and her own experience, she is convinced that a healthy support system is “one of the basic things that will help (a patient) through their cancer experience,” she says.
The Lymphoma Canada Patient Support Program will offer something that healthcare teams, friends, or even family members are not able to provide, unless they’ve experienced cancer themselves, McQuillan says. Being able to share with other cancer patients can bring its own form of healing.
“It helps people find some commonality to know that they’re not alone in this experience. It really makes a significant difference to people.”