‘I Can Cope’ to bring hope to those with cancer, loved ones

PUNXSUTAWNEY — The Jefferson unit of The American Cancer Society (ACS) is sponsoring another session of “I Can Cope,” to be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 20 at the IUP-Punxsutawney Campus on Center Street.

"I Can Cope is the largest single free educational program for adults facing cancer, either personally, or as a friend or family caregiver within the year," said Peg Henninger, R.T.

Henninger said the ACS has been doing this for nine years.

"We've done so well with it because our committee just gels together," she said.

Sandy Pavlak, R.N., said we have a unique community that comes out and supports all good causes such as the fire department with Pizza & Prevention.

"The cancer rate in our community is so high, and ‘I Can Cope’ can hopefully meet some of that need by educating people and offering support," Pavlak said, adding that it is held once a year, is an all-day event and can be quite intense.

"It is based on the previous year's participants, who tell us what their needs are, and what they would like to see discussed at the next year's session," Pavlak said.

Brooke Henninger, R.N., said that this year's theme is the Seven Levels of Healing.

According to Geffen Visions website: Jeremy R. Geffen, MD, FACP — who came up with the seven levels — is a board-certified medical oncologist, a pioneer in the field of integrative medicine and oncology, and the founder of Geffen Visions International, Inc.

"The Seven Levels of Healing program is designed for patients and families who want to combine the very best conventional medical treatments for cancer and other illnesses with an expanding array of complementary therapies and mind/body approaches to healing," Geffen said.

He said the program is based on the belief that for healing to be complete, all the dimensions of who people are as human beings — physical, mental, emotional, psychosocial and spiritual — must be addressed in a meaningful and effective way.

Some of the speakers for this year's program are Dr. Kyle Lingenfelter, general surgeon at Punxsutawney Area Hospital and Dr. Ali Tunio, radiation oncologist at Indiana Regional Medical Center, Brooke said.

The other speakers include: Ginny Haines RN, OCN West Penn Allegheny Health Systems Professional View; Jane Smith Survivor Patient View; Carol Bell East Central Division Sr. Health Initiative Representative; Karen Herriotts CRNA PAH; Brenda Means PT PAH; Holly Setree Sr. Dietician Major IUP; and  Kathy Renne MA PAH.

Pavlak and Brooke Henninger will also present the closing program.

Karen Burkett, O.C.N., said the speakers they've invited this year are very dynamic.

Burkett said “I Can Cope” is an educational program and should not be confused with a support group.

"But we can put those who attend in touch with a support group if they would like," Burkett said.

Peg Henninger said the ACS appreciates the help of its co-sponsor, IUP-Punxsutawney, and Dr. Terry Appolonia, dean of the Punxsy campus.

Peg said those who would like to attend need to pre-register by calling her at 938-9868 by Oct. 15. A free lunch will be provided.