HURRICANE, WV – Child- hood, adolescent, and young adult cancer survivors and their families across the state are encouraged to participate in the West Virginia Pediatric and Young Adult Cancer Alliance, a new initiative from the Walking Miracles Family Founda- tion.
The unique community-based program will educate cancer sur- vivors and their loved ones on the long-term side effects of can- cer treatments and how survivors might achieve optimal health in the years ahead.
“Our West Virginia families will now have what my mom and I never did,” said Walking Miracles founder and chief executive officer Brett Wilson. “As a childhood and adolescent cancer survivor myself, I understand these young people and their loved ones desperately need help and guidance as they adapt to being cancer survivors. That’s what our new alliance is de- signed to provide.”
The alliance is made possible by a $45,000 grant from the Highmark West Virginia Charitable Fund for Health, which awards programs and initiatives that specifically address and improve the health, well-being, and quality of life for West Virginia residents.
Walking Miracles offers survi- vors navigation programs designed to increase knowledge of their disease, understand their treat- ment options, and learn about the lifetime implications of their treat- ment choices. The nonprofit also assists patients in effectively com- municating with their clinical care teams, and provides assistance to families in travel, food, and lodg- ing costs while seeking treatment.
Walking Miracles will team with Dr. Patricia D. Shearer, the founder of Patti’s Place Vital Pediatrics for Complex Kids in Atlanta, to make the alliance a reality. She will serve as the alliance’s director of survi- vorship.
A board-certified pediatric on- cologist and pediatric palliative medicinephysicianwithanexten- sive background in survivorship program development, Dr. Shearer will consult with cancer survivors, working with individuals and fam- ily members to coordinate care in their local communities. She is registered by the State of West Vir- ginia Board of Medicine as a tele- health provider.
“Our approach features a unique process of education by telehealth according to the guidelines of the Children’s Oncology Group. It then helps them arrange follow-up with a primary care physician near their home,” said Dr. Shearer.
The West Virginia Pediatric and Young Adult Cancer Alliance is a prototype program that could be adapted nationwide, according to Dr. Shearer.