Making a difference; isn’t that what Oncology Social Work is all about? YOU can make an immense difference in the lives of those facing a cancer journey, by educating and nurturing patients and their families. Having a cancer diagnosis affects people differently. Some seem to accept it with a certain sense of equanimity. Others retreat in fear. For those who are fearful, you can help them learn to say, “I want to live”, instead of, “I am afraid to die.” It can be both a humbling and exciting task.

The Florida Society of Oncology Social Workers has a long-standing history with the American Cancer Society which dates back to its beginning in 1982. Members of FSOSW continue to support the American Cancer Society’s mission, serving on various committees, taking part in fundraising opportunities, and facilitating the I Can Cope Program. The ACS continues to provide FSOSW with a Quality of Life Grant to support training and facilitating I Can Cope, and to provide psychosocial education at the annual FSOSW conference. ACS also has a strong relationship on the National level with the Association of Oncology Social Workers, (AOSW), where collaboration also includes training and facilitation of the I Can Cope Program.

I Can Cope is an educational program for people facing cancer. Friends, family members, and caregivers are encouraged to participate. Living with cancer is one of the greatest challenges a person can face in the course of a lifetime. I Can Cope offers help in the form of reliable information, peer support, and practical coping skills, so that patients can meet their cancer challenge head on.

I Can Cope sessions can provide encouragement and tips that the patient can use immediately to better manage their diagnosis and improve their quality of life. YOU can provide the needed support for these patients by becoming an I Can Cope Facilitator in your facility and/or in your community, and YOU can help to dispel cancer myths by presenting straightforward facts and answers to cancer related questions.

As an I Can Cope Facilitator you will be asked to attend an initial facilitator training class; successfully complete an update training session at least every two years; organize, promote, and facilitate I Can Cope classes at co-sponsoring organizations; recruit guest speakers; and to actively promote I Can Cope in the community.

There is no better time than now to give a portion of your time to provide a much needed service to the cancer community, and Make a Difference in the life of cancer patients. For more information or to register for a free training class near you, please call the American Cancer Society at 1-800-ACS-2345. Or contact your local ACS office.