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Archive for Monday, May 25, 1998

VOLUNTEER MAKES CONNECTIONS IN GROUP

May 25, 1998

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Donna Flory volunteers as a group facilitator for a local cancer support group.

Donna Flory lives to see the connections made between members of the Cancer Support Group.

As volunteer group facilitator for the past two and a half years, Flory has witnessed the members share heartache and tears, as well as their hopes and dreams.

The group, which is sponsored by the American Cancer Society of Douglas County, meets twice a month at Lawrence Memorial Hospital. A social worker with the Kansas University Psychological Clinic, Flory has had a long-time interest in grief and loss issues.

``My role is that of a facilitator. I'm there to help people find a way to be supportive and share with each other,'' she said.

Members of the group include cancer patients and survivors, as well as their families and loved ones. The group serves as a haven for members to ``share war stories'' and talk about common problems and issues, such as questions about their cancer treatment and how to best communicate their needs to family members.

``There are times when the group has amazed me with their ability to help each other,'' Flory said.

Flory has her own way of coping with grief and loss. She often visits terminally ill members at their homes or hospital when they aren't able to come to group anymore.

Flory has a greater appreciation of life watching the group members battle their own cancer and hearing survivors talk about their experiences. She is amazed at people's spirit and resiliency in dire times.

``Some people face it with grace and some people face it kicking and screaming,'' Flory said. ``They both have a firm spirit to them.''

Flory has a strong spirit of her own. She dealt with many cases of grief and loss while working previously as a social worker for Hospice Care in Douglas County and the state's Social and Rehabilitation Services. Flory also volunteered for the Douglas County AIDS Project. She was actually one of the first board members with DCAP, helping with client services and facilitating a support group.

Judy Nolly, a social worker with Hospice Care in Douglas County, has admired Flory's work for many years. Nolly believes that Flory's passion and love for people makes her the perfect facilitator for the Cancer Support Group.

``I think she really listens to people, and people feel very comfortable talking to her because she's not judgmental,'' Nolly said.

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