Help is available for cancer patients and their families

Local doctor creates support group network

CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with cancer, 22News is working for you to show you what resources are available.

Dr. Jay Burton is a cancer survivor. Six years ago he was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia, a cancer of the blood and bone marrow. His struggle with the disease sparked the idea for “Survivor Journeys”. It’s a non-profit survivorship program, with cancer-specific support groups for patients and for family members.

I want to be able to help cancer survivors try to navigate this process, which can be daunting,” Dr. Burton said.

For those diagnosed with cancer, Dr. Burton has five support groups, ranging from Enfield to South Hadley.  Each group focuses on a different type of cancer, to make sure you’re getting the help, information and support specific to your need. Dr. Burton also created a bereavement group, to help family members dealing with the loss of a loved one to cancer.

Dr. Burton introduced 22News to his former patient, Bill Tyler.  He’s a Stage II melanoma survivor from East Longmeadow. He attended a survivor group, at first to get some answers. Now, he goes for the opportunity to help others.

If I can sit with someone who is dealing with stage three, stage four really struggling with it…I actually get a pay-off by helping other people,” Tyler said.

Dr. Burton is launching a new melanoma survivors group next Wednesday October 12th at 6:00 p.m. at the All Saints Episcopal Church at 700 Woodbridge Street in South Hadley. The group will continue to meet the second Wednesday of every month.

To see a list of the other available support groups, Click Here.

Dr. Burton is also hosting his 2nd annual Halloween Gala fundraiser to help make these groups possible. It’ll be held Friday October 28th at Chez Joseph in Agawam. To register, Click Here.