Cancer patients, survivors and caregivers now have a local place to go for support and more.
The South Florida Baptist Hospital Cancer Resource Center, which had its grand opening Aug. 15, offers such items as wigs and hats for those who don't have insurance. The center, 1708 W. Palmetto Ave., will also offer information about cancer detection and treatment.
"The cancer resource center is going to a convenient change for a lot of cancer patients and survivors in Plant City," said Ruby Jean Redman, whose husband, local attorney James L. Redman, died after a long battle with cancer.
"As a volunteer for the American Cancer Society I drove cancer patients to facilities in Tampa, Brandon and other parts of the county for treatment and support. This will be more convenient for a growing number of people who face cancer in this area."
The center, a block west of the hospital's emergency center, off Plant Street, will be open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Friday.
The 2,800-square-foot building was converted from a doctor's office purchased earlier by the hospital. The volunteer staff will be screened, trained and monitored by the hospital.
"The hospital has 130 volunteers to support the Cancer Resource Center," South Florida Baptist administrator Steve Nierman said.
Wendy Brown heads up the volunteer staff.
"We will have two people per shift, with a morning and afternoon shift at the center," Brown said. "We will help people who cannot visit us during normal working hours by providing security and volunteer persons for off-hour visits."
Many of the volunteers are cancer survivors or former caretakers who want to give back to the community.
Volunteer Jon Stroud is a colon cancer survivor.
"I am a volunteer for the hat and scarf room," the city employee said. "I also would like to create a colostomy support group. My experience would be beneficial to people who have gone through treatment for colon cancer. This facility will offer a lot of people the information and support that they need."
Guests to the center lacking insurance will find hats, scarves, turbans, bras, wigs and prosthesis available but in limited quantities.
Meeting space is available for small and larger groups. The center is planning seminars open to the public regarding specific cancer needs. Dates for those events will be published as they are planned.
For information regarding the Cancer Resource Center call (813) 644-6798.