Resources and programs for the cancer community are now easier to find and access in Southern Virginia thanks to the new Cancer Resource Center of Southern Virginia (Resource Center) in Lawrenceville, which opened on May 6.
The purpose of the Resource Center is to facilitate the availability of local, state and national cancer programs and resources to individuals living within the southern regions of the state. It will identify the specific needs and services that are of the greatest help to area residents affected by cancer through the guidance of a Cancer Task Force that it plans to develop with local cancer care providers, cancer community organizations, health district leaders and Saint Paul’s College – all in partnership with Virginia Commonwealth University Massey Cancer Center (VCU Massey).
The Resource Center is supported by VCU Massey, in part through a grant from the Virginia Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission. Saint Paul’s College provided the physical space, housing the Resource Center in its Russell Memorial Library.
The Resource Center will act as an aggregator of cancer information for directing individuals living in southern Virginia to community cancer resources, such as identifying transportation to treatments and doctors’ appointments, financial assistance programs and help for the uninsured. It will also manage an online calendar of regional cancer events and plan cancer-related programs and activities for the community. In addition, the Resource Center will provide disease-related, site-specific education packets to cancer patients through the Cancer Task Force and local oncology practices.
The Resource Center represents VCU Massey’s latest community outreach efforts in the Southern Virginia area. “As Virginia’s leading cancer resource, VCU Massey Cancer Center is committed to providing comprehensive cancer services to Southern Virginia in partnership with existing cancer resources and with input from the community,” says Mary Ann Hager, associate director for clinical services at VCU Massey Cancer Center.
VCU Massey has long been involved in this community, providing medical oncology care in Emporia since 1988 in partnership with the Southern Virginia Regional Medical Center, as well as in South Hill since last year in partnership with Community Memorial Healthcenter (CMH). At CMH, VCU Massey will be opening the area’s first and only radiation treatment center this summer.
VCU Massey has also been leading various community outreach initiatives in the area for several years, and the Resource Center will operate in collaboration with these initiatives. For example, in partnership with VCU Massey’s Health Information & Advocacy @ Your Library (HIA) program available at library branches in Emporia, Lawrenceville, Blackstone, Crewe and Burkeville, the Resource Center will offer the public accurate, reliable and current information related to cancer prevention, detection, treatment and survivorship. It will also work in concert with VCU Massey-led efforts aimed at educating the community about the value of clinical trials research and with cancer prevention and control research studies being conducted by VCU Massey locally.
The Resource Center supports the findings of cancer needs assessments conducted in the Crater and Piedmont health districts by VCU Massey. Another assessment is currently being conducted in the Southside health district.
“Cancer patients, survivors and their loved ones are often burdened physically, mentally and economically by cancer. There are varied sources of support to help lift the burden, but they are not all easily made known,” said Hager. “Our goal in establishing the Cancer Resource Center of Southern Virginia in Lawrenceville is to serve as the connection between these helpful resources and those who need them. Many of these support services can have a positive impact on someone facing cancer.”
Dr. John R. Jones, vice president for student affairs at Saint Paul’s College, said: “The Loulie Taylor Fletcher Memorial Hospital was erected on the campus of Saint Paul’s College in 1926 to serve the health needs of the students and the community at large. Saint Paul’s College is pleased to partner with VCU Massey Cancer Center on the Cancer Resource Center of Southern Virginia. This partnership represents another major commitment to our students and community in continuing to address their health concerns and needs.”
The Resource Center is open every weekday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., and is also available by appointment by calling Vivian Taylor at (434) 848-6402. The reading room at the Resource Center, which offers general cancer information, is open every weekday, 9 am – 5 pm. The Resource Center is located on the lower level of the Russell Memorial Library, Saint Paul’s College, 115 College Drive, Lawrenceville, Virginia 23868.