When I hear words like cancer or survivor I think back on my own experiences of battles won and lost among my family and friends. In 2005, when I was a freshman in college, my mom called me and told me my grandpa had a brain tumor. He was diagnosed with a glioblastoma, which is a highly malignant, fast-growing brain cancer. The time we had left with him just slipped us by and he was gone not four months later. He passed away the week of my 19th birthday.

This is just one account of one person I have known who died from cancer. I’m betting you have a story very similar to mine. I’m betting you have more than one. No matter who you are, there are certain things in life that every person has experienced. You hear people saying, "That happened to my cousin, my mom, my best friend or me." Cancer is one of those things. It touches all of us, whether we have a diagnosis or not.

I want you to know if you have cancer or you know someone with cancer, you are not alone. It has almost been 13 years since my grandpa passed away, but I think of him often these days. I am now in my 30s and back in college completing one of my practicums at the Ashland County Cancer Association. I chose this site because of my experiences and because I knew very little about what it had to offer. Since being there, I now wish we had called the Cancer Association when my grandpa was sick, not only for the support it could have offered him, but also for the support it could have offered all of us.

The Ashland County Cancer Association supports individuals who have cancer with financial, emotional, educational and nutritional needs. It offers financial reimbursement for cancer treatment medications and mileage to doctor appointments. In the office there is a vast library of educational materials as well as helpful staff who can answer nearly every question you could think to ask. A stock of nutritional supplements such as Boost is available to clients as well. It also has a plethora of volunteers who are cancer survivors willing to offer emotional support to anyone who asks. These are the benefits available to residents of Ashland County that I wish we would have taken advantage of.

If you or someone you know is battling cancer, you don’t have to fight alone. Call the Ashland County Cancer Association to receive assistance. The application is easy and there are no income restrictions. It even has a mammogram program for individuals without insurance.

If you would like to give back to the Cancer Association, I encourage you to participate in its annual rummage sale in June or join it for a flapjack fundraiser breakfast at Applebee’s on April 28. It is accepting donations now for the rummage sale and feel free to contact the Cancer Association for more details.

I know how precious time is and I guarantee it will be time well spent when you call the Ashland County Cancer Association. If you would like to receive assistance or if you have any questions, call 419-281-1863 or stop by 1011 E. Main St, Suite B, Ashland, Ohio 44805 Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

I look forward to seeing you there and hearing your stories if you need a listening ear. And always remember you are not alone.

Alison Webb is a student intern at the Ashland County Cancer Association. She is employed by Rape Crisis Domestic Violence Safe Haven as a victim advocate and is working toward her human services degree at North Central State College.