The UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center is sponsoring a kick-off celebration for Coalesce, a new support group for young cancer survivors, with a drum circle event Saturday, April 15, from 10 a.m.-noon at Railroad Park, 1600 First Ave. South.
Cancer survivors of all ages struggle to find support resources that can help navigate a diagnosis; but for young adult cancer survivors, 20-45 years old, this is particularly challenging. Martin Townsend, who was diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia at age 19, is now a young adult living with cancer, and has created Coalesce to help others like himself.
“As a bone marrow transplant recipient, I realized that, beyond day-to-day survival, I can positively affect those around me who are on a similar life path,” Townsend said. “Coalesce means ‘coming together as whole,’ and that is what I’m hoping to do for young cancer survivors in the Birmingham area.”
Less than 10 percent of all cancer cases occur between the ages 20 and 45, and because this is a smaller group, fewer resources are available to them, which translates into unmet needs. Survivors face a host of psychosocial issues, whether it’s going to school, developing a career, establishing new relationships or coping with the disease itself.
“A support network can promote social competence, psychological adjustment, and good emotional, spiritual and mental health. Having opportunities to be with others who share a similar experience or challenge can go a long way toward overcoming distress and healing,” Townsend said. “Building a community is essential to healing, and that is what we are trying to do with this drum circle.”
John Scalici and his interactive Get Rhythm Program will combine his talent for drumming with experiential learning to help support group members to understand how valuable they are to one another.
This event is free and open to the public. For more information, contact Martin Townsend at 205-585-7211 or firstname.lastname@example.org.