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Prostate Cancer Association offers support in many ways

From left, Lorne Smith, PCPCSA secretary; Michelle Ferris, Aberdeen Health Foundation, executive director; Dr. Anne Kwasnik, medical director for Aberdeen Hospital’s Palliative Care Unit; Ken Langille, PCPCSA president; Bill Skinner, PCPCSA vice-president.
From left, Lorne Smith, PCPCSA secretary; Michelle Ferris, Aberdeen Health Foundation, executive director; Dr. Anne Kwasnik, medical director for Aberdeen Hospital’s Palliative Care Unit; Ken Langille, PCPCSA president; Bill Skinner, PCPCSA vice-president. - Contributed

 If past experience is any indicator there’s a good chance that men who get involved with the Pictou County Prostate Cancer Support Association will experience a better quality of life during a very difficult time. 
The association, which began in 2001, promotes awareness, raises money and provides valuable support. Improving the psychological well-being of men who have been diagnosed with prostate cancer is a key goal for the group. Those who have taken part say understanding options and finding help with difficult decisions can go a long way.
Initially, PCPCSA was founded around friendship and support. Meetings are held monthly at the UCT building behind Summer Street and today the group has close to 100 members, including many spouses and partners.
Along with awareness, education and support, fundraising is a big part of what PCPCSA does. The association is involved in local fundraising events like the Dragon Boat Festival, Donald Keddy Hockey Tournament, and the Shoot for Dad, archery competition. Money raised supports research, provides financial assistance to Pictou County men for travel and drug expenses, and funds specialized equipment needed for prostate cancer treatment at the Aberdeen Hospital. PCPCSA has been an important donor and partner for the Aberdeen Health Foundation as well as other charities that support cancer patients.  
Since 2007, PCPCSA has donated close to $120,000 to the Aberdeen Health Foundation to support services for cancer patients and their families. Equipment purchases began with a biopsy gun and have included a vital signs monitor, ultrasound and a chemo hood. They have also supported staff development, palliative care, and the Oncology Patient Fund, which assists with the extra costs of a cancer diagnosis, including prescriptions, medical devices, and travel for treatment. “The Aberdeen Hospital does not have a urology department or prostate cancer treatment program, therefore patients have to travel to Truro or Halifax,” notes PCPCSA vice-president, Bill Skinner. “Our equipment support is based on needs and recommendations by the Aberdeen Health Foundation, not necessarily limited to prostate cancer. Palliative care and cancer care supports such as drugs or travel are high priority because many of our members have used these services.”
In February, the association donated $7,800 for furnishings in the Palliative Care Unit. The donation includes a new sectional for the family room, and for the library: a dining table, end tables and lamps. 
“Families often find themselves spending many hours in the unit alongside loved ones,” says Dr. Anne Kwasnik, medical director for Aberdeen Hospital’s palliative care unit, “so having some comforts of home is important to everyone’s wellbeing. This donation from PCPCSA is very much appreciated and goes a long way to supporting families.” 
“The PCPCSA has been a tremendous advocate and partner for prostate cancer awareness and care in our community. Their longstanding support of initiatives at the Aberdeen Hospital through the Foundation has resulted in a significant enhancement in services for prostate cancer patients, and other cancer patients as well,” says Michelle Ferris, executive director, Aberdeen Health Foundation. “We thank them for their commitment, and ready support for the needs which arise in our community.”

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