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Those Affected By Cancer Seek Support

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For someone who has been diagnosed with cancer, life as they know it suddenly turns upside down; and that goes for the family, as well.

Thursday night, a new cancer support group kicked off at Sanford Cancer Center. It’s a place where patients and their loved ones are able to sit down and connect with others who are going through the same battles.

For Don Carlson of Beresford, being diagnosed with a brain tumor was only beginning of a long and challenging road to recovery for him and his wife who has been there to support him.

“When he first came home after surgery, we had to do his meds every six hours, so you had to set your alarm clock and keep them going, but managing his side effects,” says his wife, Elma Carlson.  

Thursday night, they attended the kick-off of an educational series called “Embrace Survivorship” at Sanford Cancer Center in Sioux Falls.

It’s a program that focuses not only on the cancer itself, but the challenges that come along with it.

“Caring for a loved one with cancer can be a very challenging journey and tonight’s program is here to provide information and resources as well as opportunity to visit with others in similar situations,” says Karen Story, a registered nurse at Sanford Cancer Center.

The meetings are not only for those currently fighting the disease, but also those who are cancer survivors; because even then, the effects still wear on the patients and their families.

“Worrying about maybe cancer reoccurring, just the other side effects they might have as a result of some of their treatments and so we are here to support survivors,” says Kay Santema, Vice President of Cancer Services at Sanford Medical Center.  

The medical professionals at Sanford believe surviving begins with the diagnosis, and for the Carlsons; that's certainly the case as they press forward through this journey.

“Never give up hope, and never lose sight of reality. Cherish every day,” says Carlson, believing in themselves every step of the way.

The support group is held on the third Thursday of every month from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m. in the Carlson Conference Room at Sanford Cancer Center. It is open to anyone who is or has been affected by cancer.
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