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Barbara Sosman Support Center opening in Brewer

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Barbara Sosman Support Center opening in Brewer (photo courtesy Barbara Sosman Supprt Center)

BREWER - A cancer support center is opening on Wilson St. in Brewer just one mile away from the EMMC Lafayette Center. The Barbara Sosman Support Center is a non-clinical sanctuary for families and patients affected by cancer.    

The Center provides a wide range of resources and a variety of services to patients and their families and/or caregivers. In addition, the Center is a place for patients and families to converse with others who are battling cancer.

Lisa Spencer, Outreach Coordinator for the Support Center, recently took the time to speak to The Maine Edge.

“We’re going to have diet and nutrition classes, smoking cessation classes, massages and more. Everything is free to cancer patients and their caregivers. Also we help people financially, if they need to apply for Mainecare or Food Stamps and things like that.”

Planning for the Barbara Sosman Support Center began 11 months ago after Paul Trommer, owner and founder of the Center, lost his wife Barbara Sosman to pancreatic cancer. Speaking with other cancer patients and their families, Trommer realized that they all shared a similar experience - it is hard on people when they bring their loved ones in for treatment.

“When they (Trommer and Sosman) were going to the Lafayette Center they were seeing people sitting in their vehicles while their family members were having treatment. A lot of people do not have the money to go out for lunch or do other things,” Spencer said. “They started the Center because they wanted a place where people could go and to also get support.”

The largest challenge that Spencer, Trommer and volunteers have faced is funding.

“We’re not well known yet. We are having trouble with the grants that we have applied for because they don’t know us.”

Despite the lack of outside funding, the Support Center team remain committed to helping the patients and families affected by Cancer.

A recent visitor of the Center was Liam, a 7-year-old boy who has terminal cancer. Earlier this month, Liam, who has always wanted to be a police officer, was given the opportunity to ride in a police car to his last treatment appointment.

The Support Center welcomed Liam for an afternoon. He ate McDonalds and hung out. Liam is currently living in the Shepherd's Godparent Maternity Shelter with his mother and her new baby. The Support Center was there to provide some normalcy in his life when he needed it the most.

“He hasn’t been getting out a lot lately, so for me,” explained Spencer, “that has been the most rewarding thing.”

In the future, Trommer hopes to have a room for various therapies and counseling, books for privacy, a kitchen area and a wall packed with informative pamphlets and contacts. There are also ongoing negotiations to acquire a larger building.

When asked where you see the Center in five years, Spencer replied: “In five years, I’d like to see ourselves, you know, helping a lot of people.”

The Barbara Sosman Support Center opening event takes place on Saturday, Oct. 27 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. On opening day, there will be a ribbon cutting, a food truck, raffles, activities for children, and more. Kiss FM will be set up and broadcasting live for three hours during the day.

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