Traverse City Record-Eagle

Latest News - Mobile

April 5, 2014

Volunteers needed for cancer patient support program

TRAVERSE CITY — The only people who understand the emotions that follow a breast cancer diagnosis are those who’ve been through it themselves.

That’s the mantra of Munson Medical Center’s Navigator Program, which pairs women diagnosed with the disease with a companion who’s already won the fight.

Companions help guide patients and their families from diagnosis through treatment by offering resources and support. The navigators are all volunteers, and Munson Medical Center is looking for more.

Ann Reincke has been a navigator for six years. She’s about to celebrate eight years of being cancer-free after getting a bilateral mastectomy, an operation in which surgeons remove both breasts, in May 2006.

She was paired with a navigator through Munson after her diagnosis and decided to volunteer for the program after receiving a clean bill of health.

“I wanted to help someone, to support them like I had gotten support,” Reincke said. “You need support during that time. I wanted to give that to someone else.”

The program began about 15 years ago and typically consists of about 25 volunteers, program coordinator Blanche Heidt said. The goal is to reach patients early on so they have someone to support them when it comes time to make big decisions concerning surgery, radiation and chemotherapy.

Peggy Nunneley also was paired with a navigator when she was diagnosed with breast cancer 10 years ago. She had lost both her sisters to the disease, and she was scared. Her navigator eased her anxieties.

“They were both gone, so it was nice to have someone I could talk to and relate to as I was going through this,” she said. “If you haven’t gone through it, you don’t know what it’s like.”

Nunneley became a navigator after her treatment because she wanted to help people. She’s there for patients no matter how long it takes to reach recovery, and often the relationship continues outside the hospital doors. Many of the women become close friends.

Text Only

Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
Associated Press Video
Bill Murray Continues To Be Just Bill Murray By Eating Some Free Bill Murray Ice Cream Deja vu: Another NYPD officer choke-holding a suspect Hillary Clinton Blamed Bill's Affair With Monica Lewinsky On Abuse He Suffered As A Child 'Fifty Shades of Grey': Watch the Super Sexy First Trailer Now! Reports: Ravens RB Ray Rice Suspended For 1st 2 Games Of The Season Chapter Two: Becoming a first-time director Air Algerie plane with 119 on board missing over Mali Diamond Stone, Malik Newman, Josh Jackson and others showcase talent Free Arturo - The World's Saddest Polar Bear A Look Back at Batman On Film Through The Years LeBron James -- Dropped $2k On Cupcake Apology ... Proceeds To Benefit Charity Snoop Dogg Says He Smoked Weed at the White House Raw: Fight Breaks Out in Ukraine Parliament Chris Pratt Interrupts Interview To French Braid Intern's Hair Shirtless Super Mario Balotelli Dances While Ironing - @TheBuzzeronFOX Whoa! Watch "Housewives" Star Do the Unthinkable LeBron apologizes to neighbors with cupcakes Justin Bieber In Calvin Klein Underwear Shoot Samsung Pre-Trolls The IPhone 6 With New Ad Jimmy Kimmel Introduces His Baby Girl