Sylvester’s Peer Mentorship Programs
By Staff Writer
If you’ve read Linny and Lotus’ story as well as Suzanne and Tresha’s, you’ll know why having support in your survivorship journey is more than attending meetings. That’s because survivorship is not a one-size-fits-all experience. People who’ve undergone cancer treatment can experience any number of short- and long-term symptoms. Sometimes it’s helpful to have that person who’s walked a similar path as you, giving you advice along your own journey.
The peer mentorship programs at Sylvester provide crucial support to patients in treatment for cancer by pairing them with trained volunteer mentors who are cancer survivors. Mentors use their personal experience to provide emotional support and information to patients, whether remotely, by phone, text, email, virtual conferencing, or any other method of connecting that is comfortable for patients.
These bonds can be as deep as you’d like them to be, and we have to admit that we love seeing photos of our peer mentor pairings meeting for the first time.
The peer mentorship program doesn’t just help the person with a recent cancer diagnosis. Many mentor volunteers say that the program helped them process their own experiences through a different lens and even provided an outlet to process emotions years after their treatments.
As for how the program is managed and sustained, our mentor volunteers receive comprehensive, ongoing training to provide comfort and much-needed support to the newly diagnosed patient. The program director schedules regular mentor support group meetings to provide emotional support. These meetings provide an opportunity to discuss this important work in a collegial, safe, supportive environment.
Currently, Psychosocial Oncology Services is offering The Woman to Woman Program for gynecology oncology patients and the Breast Cancer Peer Mentorship Program for breast cancer patients. We look forward to launching other cancer mentorship programs in the future.