ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – When patients are diagnosed with cancer, they are usually comforted by their family or their friends. Still, many patients feel isolated because those supporting them do not really know what they are going through—even for some who have already won their battle against cancer.  

This is how it was for Jacqueline de los Santos, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2007 and was able to recover. However, she relapsed 13 years later, and she now has stage 4 breast cancer.  

“I’ve got a lot of support from my sisters and stuff, but it’s just not the same,” says Jacqueline. 

When she came in for treatment, she met Mary Leija in the lobby, who was diagnosed with breast cancer seven years ago. 

“It’s frightening. It can be very depressing, but with the support of a group like this, it makes a big difference,” Mary says. 

Mary was able to have her cancer removed, and Jacqueline and Mary were both able to support each other during a challenging time, now becoming close friends. 

“It’s someone that has gone through it with you. You know, the same experience more or less that you did,” says Jacqueline. 

Another cancer survivor, Roberta Lambert, was diagnosed with colon cancer.  

“It was killing me, really. The isolation was far, far worse than the cancer itself,” Roberta says. 

She got her colon removed, but she was also diagnosed with breast cancer 6 years ago, which metastasized to her bones. 

“I still have the cancer, but I’m walking with a cane and using a wheelchair for extended periods.” 

She still calls herself a cancer survivor even though she is currently battling cancer, and she says that community is crucial during these times. 

“It’s very, very isolated, especially when you can’t walk.” 

She moves around in a wheelchair, and it is difficult for her to socialize this way. 

These three women were all at Hendrick for ‘Cancer Survivor’s Day,’ which helps create this community. 

“You get to meet new friends like I met my friend Jackie here,” says Mary. 

Each person attending this event is offered resources including nutrition guidance, financial assistance, support dogs, and more. 

“Things like this are so important for people that are in my position,” says Roberta. 

Hendrick is also restarting some support groups for cancer patients, such as a group called ‘A Taste for Better Living,’ which discusses nutrition during treatment, symptom management, and healthy eating for survivorship. This group meets every third Tuesday of the month from 10:00am-11:00am at Hendrick Cancer Center, located at 2000 Pine Street. 

Another group that Hendrick offers is a women’s cancer support group. This group meets every second Thursday of the month from 11:30am-1:00pm. Lunch is provided, and it is located at Hendrick in the Davis Bereavement Center, Room B, which is at 1651 Pine Street. 

To RSVP for these groups or to learn more information, call 325-670-4488.