Johnstown Independent

Nonprofit offers support, services for those affected by cancer


Officials with Cancer Support Community Central Ohio hope a new location will increase awareness of the nonprofit organization's focus on support, education and hope as important components to treating people with the disease.

The local affiliate of the nationwide nonprofit organization relocated to 1200 Old Henderson Road from Sawmill Parkway in July. An open house to promote the new site was held earlier this month.

"We believe that our new location, because of its central location, provides us more visibility and accessibility," said Valerie Wigton, director of development and communications for Cancer Support Community Central Ohio, which serves residents of Franklin County and all seven contiguous counties.

"We're very proud of our new facility, which gives us the capability to offer complete cancer care programs and services to support anyone affected by cancer," Bev Soult, president and CEO of Cancer Support Community, said in an announcement about the open house.

"Basically, we had been located for approximately four years in our space at Sawmill Parkway, and that facility that we were in was owned by Mount Carmel Health System.

"They had provided our home for a number of years, and they actually did notify us that they had some other plans for the facility, so our board took it upon themselves to identify a new location for us," Wigton said.

"We utilized the expertise of board members in narrowing down (from) almost 50 different sites and buildings."

"We're very grateful to Mount Carmel Health System for providing this great community space that we've occupied for the past four years," Soult said in a statement announcing the move.

"At the same time, we're excited for the opportunities that our new location provides," she said.

The Old Henderson Road site also brings the organization and its programs closer to health care institutions in Columbus, the director of development added.

The local affiliate is one of 62 chapters of Cancer Support Community, which resulted from a merger in November 2009 between Gilda's Club Worldwide and Wellness Community, which was founded by Dr. Harold Benjamin in Santa Monica, Calif., in 1982.

Although the original organization is now 31 years old, Wigton said Cancer Support Community still strives to make inroads in awareness, not only among cancer patients, their loved ones and caregivers, but also among professionals who treat cancer patients.

"We're finally gaining a little more ground as far as helping the medical community and treatment facilities understand the connection between mind, body and spirit, everything we do, and treatment," Wigton said.

"We don't do any kind of treatment," she said.

"We provide education to help individuals choose the best option for them and also focus on providing the programs that will help them ... follow their treatment regimen, not miss a radiation treatment or a week of treatment.

"You have to address all of the other issues that come with a cancer diagnosis, as well as the disease itself," Wigton said.

Cancer Support Community educational and support programs include cooking, nutrition, exercise, support, networking and wellness.

All Cancer Support Community programs and services are evidence- and research-based, professionally led and are provided at no cost to anyone affected by cancer: patients, survivors, loved ones, and caregivers, according to information from the organization.

For more information, visit; or call 614-791-9510.