Group lends support to
cancer victims

OXFORD - Oxford resident Kathy Coursey-Boes knows that people living with an advanced stage of breast cancer need to talk with others.

"Nobody else really knows what we are going through," said Coursey-Boes, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in August 2001, which later developed into the most advanced stage of metastatic breast cancer, Stage IV. "It's good to talk to somebody who knows what we're going through or will be going through."

That's why she started a Stage IV Breast Cancer Support Group in Newton and Rockdale counties.

"There was just a need for it - we are living longer than we were previously, and we are constantly going through treatments," she said. "I know of nine women so far in the two counties (living with Stage IV breast cancer)."

Last month, she held her first meeting for the group and hopes it will expand into a larger group for more who need it.

"I'm hoping to be there for whoever needs us," said Coursey-Boes, who also organized a rally at the state Capitol in October to bring awareness about metastatic breast cancer. "We are there for them if they do need us. We are available as a resource if they need support."

In Conyers, the group will meet from 6 to 7:30 p.m. on the first Tuesday of the month at Rockdale Medical Center, and in Covington, the group will meet from 6 to 7:30 p.m. on the third Tuesday of the month at Newton Medical Center's physicians pavilion in the basement auditorium.

It is open to men and women living in the area with Stage IV breast cancer.

Currently, Newton and Rockdale counties have support groups for individuals with early stages of breast cancers, but Coursey-Boes wanted to specifically target those with advanced stages.

"There are a lot of issues that we have that are different than other cancers," she said. "Those (early stage) groups have been wonderful to me, but the ladies in those groups are not who I am."

In the group, she plans to use it as a discussion opportunity - on both cancer-related and non-cancer-related issues - and also bring in special speakers and provide resources to members.

"The group is not my group - the group will be everybody's who comes," she said. "We are going to work with what the members' needs are."

For more information about the group, call Coursey-Boes at 404-374-4143.

Michelle Floyd can be reached at michelle.floyd@newtoncitizen.com.

SideBar: At a glance

Stage IV Breast Cancer Support Group

· When and where: 6 to 7:30 p.m.

First Tuesday of the month - Rockdale Medical Center

Third Tuesday of the month - Newton Medical Physicians Pavilion (basement auditorium)

· More information: Kathy Coursey-Boes - 404-374-4143