Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Group Gathers for Cancer Support

One in three people will be affected by cancer at some stage in their life. There are no statistics for the number of people affected by those diagnosed. Senior Austin Bashline was one of those impacted by someone’s cancer ordeal. “A family friend was in remission and had to go back to chemo. It’s painful to hear what she’s gone through—she’s been to hell and back.”
Even though he’s finishing his last semester at Gordon, Bashline wanted to do something that was helpful for others affected by cancer like he was. His personal experience and prior volunteer work in a hospital allowed him to witness all sides of cancer from lung biopsies to a counselor comforting a family after a loved one lost a battle. Bashline realized how important ministering to others was and how it can be implemented long after the initial shock. So he got the ball rolling for a new campus ministry aimed at helping those who felt like he did: helpless against fighting an unseen enemy.
The Cancer Awareness Ministry is still in the beginning stages, but its main purpose is to raise cancer awareness, give students concrete ways to come alongside those affected by cancer, provide support and comfort to each other and others, and even participate in fundraising events. “Raising awareness might be redundant, but it brings people together,” Bashline said, and that is part of the ministering aspect he’s looking for.
The ministry will be student-led, and people can get involved in any way they wish for as long as they wish. “A big part of ministry is getting people to engage at whatever level they feel comfortable,” Bashline said. So far he’s had a good number of people ready to get involved, and he is hoping this will not be confined to Gordon’s campus.
Bashline will not see the full effects of his ministry at Gordon because he is graduating this month, but the torch will be passed to freshman Alexandria DeMello.
“She had experience leading groups in high school and knows the importance of not doing things alone,” he said.

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