When Barbara Deschenes was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2011, she felt conflicting senses of fear, confidence and resolve. She had a lot of questions.
In 2012, a year later and cancer free, Barb Deschenes along with co-founders Suanne Craib and David Wilson (both cancer survivors as well), decided that the Western Maine region needed a place where people diagnosed with cancer could go; with the goal to help patients diagnosed with cancer navigate the emotional terrain of diagnosis and treatment; what to do with life after facing the prospect of death and to provide spiritual well-being.
For this group of survivors, a local center seemed logical especially when Stephens Memorial Hospital started offering chemotherapy infusions in that same year. In addition, Patti-Ann Douglas, the hospital’s Cancer Patient Navigator (hired in 2012) also realized the need for a center after hearing many emotional survival stories. Over the next few years, an informal group began meeting regularly at the hospital to discuss how their dream could become a reality.
During the fall of 2014, visits were made to three Cancer Centers; one in South Portland, one in Lewiston and one in Ellsworth which resulted in generating more enthusiasm and positive energy. In January 2015, a steering committee was formed and through months of meetings and visioning sessions the Cancer Resource Center of Western Maine was officially born. The vision for the Center is to provide education and support for the person with cancer and their family by offering free programs in a warm and welcoming environment. Realizing they needed an actual space, a small room located in the Oncology building of Stephens Memorial Hospital at 199 Main Street became the new home of the Cancer Resource Center of Western Maine.
A group of volunteers helped to make the room warm and welcoming by painting it a pretty light blue, adding sofas and chairs, pillows, curtains, a rug and inspirational wall art. Local artist Pam Morra volunteered her time to paint a beautiful tree with a red cardinal on one of the branches....this tree symbolizing immense and enduring strength. Many people from the community have come forward to share their ideas, resources and talents to help the Center become a reality.
The Cancer Resource Center of Western Maine has drop in hours two days per week. We have support groups for both men and women. We offer wellness programs, we have comfort items, educational material and we offer creative services such as knitting, drawing/coloring, jewelry making and much more. We offer all these services free to anyone impacted by cancer. In addition to all these services, the Center can help provide some “Hope, Strength, Courage and Support”.
To learn more on how we can assist you and your loved ones , please call the Center at 207-890-0329 or email us at email@example.com