ANS Center for Hope Foundation gives new patients battling brain tumors chance for healing
May is Brain Tumor Awareness Month, and unless you have been personally affected, you may not realize that in 2018, nearly 80,000 people will be diagnosed with primary brain tumors, adding to the 700,000 in the U.S. already diagnosed.
“What these people will go through is something most can’t fathom,” said Claire Weiss, a registered nurse at Atlantic NeuroSurgical Specialists (ANS) and coordinator of the ANS Center for Hope Foundation, a dedicated support group for patients, family members and caregivers. “These diagnoses are massive, life-changing events, not only for them, but for everyone around them. It’s important the community takes time to acknowledge our neighbors who are bravely batting brain tumors.”
ANS’s Brain Tumor Center is one of the busiest in the nation. Each of its board-certified brain surgeons sees hundreds of patients each year with newly diagnosed or recurrent tumors. Its multidisciplinary team of physicians offers the most comprehensive and innovative treatments for both benign and malignant tumors of the brain, skull base, spine and spinal cord.
“Regardless of the type of brain tumor, there’s so much to navigate. Patients and their families often feel like no one understands what they’re going through,” Weiss said. “As caregivers listening to the needs of our patients, we knew there was a community out there looking for many of the same things — and it has become our passion at ANS to bring it together. We believe with hope … and the best medical care team … healing has its best chance.”
Inspired by a mission that with hope, miracles can happen, The ANS Center for Hope was founded in 2012. Today, the 501(c)(3) Foundation provides free support, education and other services — including a monthly brain tumor support group that meets the third Thursday of each month — for anyone impacted by brain tumors, not just ANS patients.
“Forget the stereotype of a support group that gathers people in a circle of cold metal folding chairs to talk about how sad they are,” Weiss said. “We look at what patients need, what their families and friends need, and we find positive ways to address those needs while lifting people up. It truly feels like a family.”
ANS Brain Tumor Support Group meetings focus on enabling members to share their experiences, support one another and, sometimes, simply forget about the battle they’re fighting. Volunteers prepare and serve dinner, providing a good meal to bond over, and most meetings also bring in speakers or special guests, such as nutritionists, acupuncturists, art or massage therapists or physicians.
ANS nurses and staff serve as volunteers, going beyond the call of duty to keep the Foundation running strong with their time and effort.
Beyond these volunteers, it’s the members who do the heavy lifting, Weiss said.
“These patients and families are miraculous people,” she said. “The way they keep hope and the way they support each other — they’re such special people. It’s something to behold.”
To learn more about The ANS Center for Hope Foundation, RSVP to attend the next meeting or make a tax-deductible donation, visit centerforhopefoundation.com.