Victory in the Valley is a nonprofit cancer support organization formed in 1983 in Wichita.

Today, Victory in the Valley has more than a dozen support groups, ranging from general cancer support to specific health issues such as childhood cancers and brain tumors.Victory in the Valley

The newest chapter of Victory in the Valley is the South Central Kansas Cancer Support Group. The chapter was founded by several of South Central Kansas Medical Center’s Auxiliary members, who themselves are cancer survivors.

“The reason for this group beginning is Janet Emmerson, our ring leader,” said Sara Ward, one of the group’s organizers. “She said she had a calling for it. She just felt the need and had gone to some of the support groups (in Wichita).”

The local chapter’s first meeting will be at 2 p.m. June 19 in the SCKMC’s Outpatient Services Building, located at 6403 Patterson Pkwy. in Arkansas City.

“The first meeting is more or less just to get to know people. It’s for any cancer, not just breast cancer, and for (both) men and women,” said JoAnn Baker. “If the caregivers, family, whoever (cancer) has touched want to come, they can also come.”

Victory in the Valley’s mission is to encourage cancer patients and families on their journey by offering hope.

That mission is carried out through the local group’s efforts.

“Support is the most important, but it also is to show that there are many survivors,” Ward said. “It’s not all doom and gloom.”

One of the main means of support the group offers is being a resource to those with questions.

“The ones that have cancer, or are going through treatments, may have questions that they are not sure about,” Baker said. “Some of us (who have) been through it, we can help them through some of it.”

The support group will meet monthly, and plans to feature a variety of uplifting speakers and educational presentations. But Ward acknowledged the focus will be tailored toward the needs of its members.

“Everything is geared towards you and what your needs are. (Victory in the Valley) can share all kinds of things with you that you haven’t even thought of,” Ward said. “Nobody feels the same — we have to keep that in mind. Even if we have suffered with cancer in the same area, it’s not the same. We don’t have the same story as a new person going through it. It’s very emotional.”

For more information about Victory in the Valley support groups and programs, visit www.victoryinthevalley.org.

This information was provided by South Central Kansas Medical Center Marketing Director Clayton Pappan.