Local prostate cancer support group looks to help men in a time of need
By Adam Hocking
MARSHFIELD — Ron Berry, 75, and Bob Foltz, 83, have both been there before. They have experienced the shock of a prostate cancer diagnosis, gone through the grueling treatment, and experienced the overwhelming fear of the unknown. They have also come out the other side of this process, now both in remission for many years.
However, they have not forgotten — nor will they ever — the anxiety, fear, confusion, and terror of going through a process like that. Now Berry and Foltz are facilitators of a prostate cancer support group that meets the first Thursday of each month at 5 p.m. at the Laird Center for Medical Research in room 050. Foltz is the founder of the group.
Christensen Sales Corporation of Abbotsford supplies funding to the group each year, which the group transfers to the Marshfield Clinic research department, Foltz said.
Group members meet to share their experiences as they travel the path of prostate cancer and provide each other a shoulder to lean on and a support network of people who understand the whole process. The men’s significant others are invited to attend the meetings as well. The group is considering doing an occasional men-only meeting for those members that may be hesitant to share personal information in front of members of the opposite sex.
Including significant others, about 25-30 people attend the meetings on average.
Typically each meeting has a speaker, which is normally a physician from the Marshfield Clinic. The speaker’s topic may be about cancer, or it may be about something totally unrelated, but it will always be about building healthy habits and providing education to the group. The meeting generally runs for two hours or less. There is no cost to be a part of the group.
Berry said that when a new member attends a meeting, “We all go around and introduce our self, and we tell everybody, just like a bunch of old men, we tell everybody what we had wrong with us in relation to the prostate cancer.”
Foltz said that his and Berry’s role with the group is to provide support to others.
“We’re there just to support other people and say, ‘Well, we’ve had it, and we’re a survivor, and here we are 17 years later,’” Foltz said. He later added, “It’s very supportive, and we get to make friends, and it’s a close-knit group.”
“If you can see somebody that’s out 17 years after having a radical prostatectomy, it gives you hope,” Foltz said.
Berry added that he and Foltz have “run the gamut” of illnesses related and unrelated to prostate cancer, and that allows them to share their own experiences with men who are currently going through the process.
“That’s how we share. That’s a good thing,” Foltz said.
Foltz and Berry both stressed that the group does not offer medical advice but rather is a place to talk, share feelings and experiences, and learn more about many different health issues.
For more information about the group, contact Richard Nesbitt at 715-384-3489 or email him at email@example.com. You may also contact Ron Berry at 715-384-7099 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about prostate cancer, visit cancer.org/cancer/prostatecancer.