Staying Strong: Paul’s Story
In October 2007, when Paul Ricciardi decided to go along with his mother Toni to a newcomer orientation at the Cancer Support Community, he didn’t quite know what he was getting into. “I thought I’d go with my mom to find out what the organization was about,” he said.
Paul’s mother, Toni, was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer. “Unfortunately, she wasn’t able to attend support groups for long,” Paul shared. “She became very ill after attending just a couple of support group sessions.”
What Paul didn’t know was that the newcomer orientation he attended would he his orientation to the Cancer Support Community as well.
“I began to attend a caregiver support group. It was helpful to be able to share at the Cancer Support Community because not everyone knew that my mother had cancer. There were friends of our family who did not know.”
Paul continued to attend his weekly support groups for several weeks. “A lot of times, we would talk about anything but cancer,” he continued. “That helped, too. There were times when going to support group felt like the difference between sanity and insanity. As a caregiver, I needed the release,” he said.
The Cancer Support Community can be a great resource for someone going through cancer or for their caregivers and friends,” Paul continued. “I didn’t know that I would need it, but I’m glad that the caregiver support group was there for me when I did.”