The Men’s Support Group meet on the first and third Tuesday of the month at 7:00pm at the Cancer Care Centre. This group is for any male affected by cancer, whether he is a patient, family member or survivor and allows discussion on many subjects men may find difficult to talk about in other surroundings. Completely confidential, the group are at ease with one another to discuss how the cancer journey is affecting them or their loved ones. Mel Heath is facilitator and no bookings are necessary.

Waldo Bushman, a long-time member of the group, has put pen to paper to give an insight into how he feels about the Men’s Meetings.

Being diagnosed with cancer is a devastating experience. Over the years many men have found support in the Men’s Group. I’ll never forget the warmth and comradeship that I experienced at my first meeting. It made a big difference in my life. Others have told of a similar experience.

Some men had extensive support networks around them, others were very alone. Whatever the situation they benefited from being in the group. Studies back this up – being in a support group brings positive outcomes for men with cancer.

We swapped contact details. Anyone needing a sympathetic ear would always have someone he could call on. It was encouraging to meet somebody who had gone through terrible illness and emerged well. With so many men undergoing so many treatments the group was a ready source of information based on personal experience. We were often inspired by the courage of our fellows. When we lacked courage we were helped to acquire it.

We camped together among the red gums of Saunders Gorge. The bush was life-giving. When we lost Matt, our youngest member, we planted a plot of natural vegetation in front of the Centre in his memory. When Steward died we added a golden wattle and a drooping she-oak. He had loved and cared for the bush. In a broader sense the small planting is a living memorial to group members who have died.

Losing comrades is painful. It led us to face our own mortality. Apart from changes like improving our diets, learning meditation, taking up exercise there were more subtle yet more substantial changes that many made.

We have lost many friends over the years, some have died, and some have recovered and moved on. The group continues and is ready to welcome any man who comes along.

Waldo Bushman