The idea of creating a haven of support for cancer patients and their families began in the hearts and minds of a few people who shared a common vision.
On January 19, 2001, this small group began meeting over breakfast to discuss the possibility of starting a center where people who were diagnosed with cancer could come for support. As the meetings became more frequent the dream developed into reality. A plan of what the center would look like was drawn, a mission statement and goals and objectives were written.
While researching other cancer support centers, the group learned of The Wellness Community, now known as the Cancer Support Community. Believing it made good sense to partner with an organization that had strong ties to the medical community and offered a wide variety of professionally run programs, the group decided to seek affiliation with TWC.
The Wellness Community of Central New Jersey received its charter in March, 2002.
The Cancer Support Community Background
The Wellness Community was founded by Dr. Harold Benjamin in Santa Monica, California in 1982. As a result of experience with his wife’s breast cancer and through subsequent years of study on the psychological and social impact of cancer, Dr. Benjamin formulated the Patient Active Concept. This revolutionary idea would be recognized years later at Walt Disney World EPCOT Metropolitan Life exhibit as one of the most significant developments in the evolution of modern health care.
In July 2009, The Wellness Community and Gilda’s Club Worldwide joined forces to become the Cancer Support Community. By helping to complete the cancer care plan, the Cancer Support Community continues to optimize patient care by providing essential, but often overlooked, services including support groups, counseling, education and healthy lifestyle programs. Today, the Cancer Support Community provides the highest quality emotional and social support through a network of nearly 50 local affiliates, more than 100 satellite locations and online.
“Community” is perhaps the most important aspect of The Wellness Community model of care and is what differentiates this program from any other. All services are provided free of charge in a home-like, community setting. Today, across the country, thousands of people with cancer and their loved ones unite together through our programs. People come at diagnosis, during or at the end of treatment, at recurrence or several years out of treatment. They all come to learn they are not alone in their fight – whether for physical, emotional or spiritual recovery. Together, they regain a sense of control over their lives and ultimately discover that hope is a valuable tool irrespective of the stage of disease.