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New initiative aims to help cancer survivors

Published: Jan. 5, 2022 at 9:29 PM EST
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PARKERSBURG, W.Va. (WTAP) - A new initiative aimed at helping cancer survivors is underway.

It’s called West Virginia Pediatric and Young Adult Cancer Alliance and it’s run by the Walking Miracles Family Foundation. The purpose of the program is to help cancer survivors navigate the long-term effects of cancer treatments.

The program’s Director of Survivorship, Dr. Patricia Shearer, explained, “The end of treatment is not the end of the cancer experience. In fact, many cancer survivors share with us that when they complete treatment, they feel as though they’re in a transition with no understanding and no clarity of how to move forward.”

The program’s inspiration is the story of Brett Wilson, the founder of Walking Miracles. He’s had cancer twice and says he’s dealt with issues like stunted growth and memory loss and has had to get multiple pacemakers as a result of his treatment.

He said, “There are still some questions that I have about my treatments on whether or not they’re impacting my body as far as weight goes and different things that are happening to me that I never had anybody that I could get answers from.”

Wilson hopes this program will connect people with the help he never got.

“Just because they’re done with treatment doesn’t mean they’re finished,” he said.

This is how it works. Survivors are given a personalized plan based on the issues they might face based on the treatments they received.

Dr. Shearer elaborated with an example.

“..., if babies had been treated with a chemotherapeutic drug called adriamycin or doxorubicin, they are at risk for some heart damage.”

This can result in problems later down the line. She continued.

“..., so we know, with certain amounts or adriamycin or doxorubicin, periodic echocardiograms of the heart are helpful…,””

After a plan is created, the survivor is connected with a primary care provider, if not already, who can push that plan into action.

You can find more information about the program at walkingmiracles.org.

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