I have wanted to write this article for a long time on behalf of the hundreds if not thousands of “Closed Cancer Groups” on Facebook currently serving cancer patients, caregivers and survivors with an extraordinary amount of love and concern for one another online. I have been fortunate to have been invited to participate in a number of these groups and witness firsthand the incredible resource they become for each other as they collectively help one another through the toughest battle of their life, their fight to beat cancer in any of its terrible forms.
What is a Closed Facebook Group – A closed group on Facebook is traditionally started by someone that is passionate about cancer and in particular specific types of cancer; this passion is usually the result of their own experience and life events which make them the perfect shepherd for anyone wanting to be involved.
By definition, a “closed group” is one that is not open to the general public and inclusion usually requires an approval by the group administrator or founder. Once approved you are able to see the posts from others that are currently sharing an experience just like yours or have already beaten it and able to become an incredible source of valuable information and compassion.
Types of Closed Cancer Groups – There are groups online for almost every imaginable type of cancer. Some are large with millions of followers and others are small and very intimate with only hundreds of people involved. There are groups for: prostate cancer, colon cancer, general cancer groups, thyroid cancer, breast cancer, esophageal cancer, throat cancer, pediatric cancer, and melanoma, bone, brain, pancreatic, lung, leukemia, caregivers, survivors and even for owners of pets with cancer. In short there is a group for whatever type of cancer you are battling.
A Group Built on Trust – On numerous occasions I have just watched as members of the same group will interact with each other. Often it is as simple as “I am having a really hard day…” and they are immediately showered with attention and encouragement from the group in such a tender and caring way, sometimes it is “I just returned from my 4th chemo treatment and this is happening…” the group immediately rings in if they have had a similar experience and could offer some advice, not medical advice but the wisdom of one who has been there before. One of the most touching things is to witness the son or daughter of a group member alert everyone that their Mom or Dad passed away and offering a heartfelt thank-you to the entire group for the great friendships and encouragement they received from this group of loving and caring strangers. It is a sad thing to lose someone but these groups feel the loss deeply and offer such inspired counsel and encouragement for the loved ones now adjusting to life once again without their fighter.
How Can I Get Involved? The easiest way is to join a support group would be to use the search box on Facebook to find the ones you would like to join. Most groups will require that you detail a little bit about your cancer experience in order to verify you are truly someone needing help verses someone wanting to sell stuff or post a medical crowdfunding account, which will, by the way, get you immediately removed from the group never to be given access again.
This is a sample of the process to go through to find just the right group for you.
Conclusion – If you have been diagnosed with any form of cancer, if you are a caregiver to someone fighting a battle of have survived and now dealing with the financial strain and guilt associated with your success, then by all means find yourself a group of caring and compassionate people that will be as tender with you and your situation as any loved one you now have in your care circle.
I did not name any closed group specifically because of respect for their process of adding new members and not to overwhelm any of the administrators trying to keep a very family type feel about their cancer group. But if you have cancer your nuts not to use this incredible resource available to you for free.