Kick the Habit in 2015

Courage to QuitBy: Katie Calkin | Master Certified Health Education Specialist

We want to help you be a quitter in 2015. Here’s why:

People can gain 10 or more years of life by quitting tobacco. Quitting is the single best thing tobacco users can do for their length and quality of life.

As a health educator, it’s a privilege to be a part of people’s quit journey when they attend the Courage to Quit classes at Athens Regional. I love hearing people say how much better they feel after they quit. All the participants in the September class left the last session tobacco-free. I was thrilled to get the email below from one of them:

“When I have ‘quit’ in the past it felt good. But it was more like I was counting the days that I had been without smoking and almost subconsciously realizing that I would be back on the cigs. Today’s epiphany that I had feels so much more like LIBERATION than anything else. I feel like I’ve shaken the burden of cigarettes and the last two days have just felt amazing mentally and physically. Clear, sharp thinking and I can already tell that I’m breathing better after stopping cold turkey this past Sunday around 8 p.m. Thanks once again for your time, support and sweet spirit.”

Courage to Quit classes are 4 one-hour sessions. They’re designed for people who are ready to quit during the sessions. We talk about tools for quitting and for managing stress without tobacco.

Everyone knows smoking is bad for you. Courage to Quit has a positive focus giving people structure and support to turn their desire to be tobacco-free into a concrete quit plan.

Register for Courage to Quit

Are you ready to quit? Our next Courage to Quit session is Tuesday evenings in February. The first class is Feb. 3. Call 706-475-1029 to register.

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Posted by on December 22, 2014 in Uncategorized


De-Stress Your Holidays

By Casey Bryant, BSW Intern | Loran Smith Center for Cancer Support

Stress LessWith all the gift giving, social gatherings and delicious food, most would think it nearly impossible to not enjoy the holiday season. Though it is filled with obvious delightful happenings, the holiday season contains masked stressors that can make this season not so jolly. While preparing our invitation lists for our gatherings and parties, we must do our best to ensure that these “uninvited guests” don’t show up.

Holiday stressors, combined with managing a serious illness or caring for someone with a serious illness, can cause great difficulties in the holiday season but the added pressures that are presented do not have to stop us from having a happy holiday.

Plan Ahead

To prevent stress and encourage self-care, it is imperative we plan ahead for the holiday season. Whether it be gift planning, party planning, or menu planning, this step can greatly prevent the amount of stress experienced during the holidays and leave more time for self-care and patient care.

Know Boundaries and Limits

During the planning period and throughout the holiday season, it is important that we be aware of our boundaries and limits. Knowing and adhering to these are a great way to keep the level of stress manageable.

Ask for Help

We all want to see the ones we love happy and we want to see ourselves happy and in good health. Even though we do our best to prevent, sometimes things still happen. In the event that we find ourselves overwhelmed or having difficulty managing, help is always a phone call away. Never hesitate to reach out to a family member or friend for help and certainly never hesitate to reach out to us here at the Loran Smith Center.

More to Help You

Our Loran Smith Center for Cancer Support provides information, education and emotional and spiritual support to cancer patients and their families in north Georgia. It serves as a resource for patients before, during and after cancer treatment through support groups, individual and family counseling and an educational resource library.

To speak to someone at the center, call 706-475-4900.

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Posted by on December 10, 2014 in Loran Smith Center, Wellness


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Coping with Grief During the Holidays

By Caroline Sharkey, MSW Intern | Loran Smith Center for Cancer Support

HolidayFor people experiencing grief, the holidays can be an especially difficult time. While temporary, the surge of grief and memories can feel like a tailspin. We are reminded of all that has been lost and how different these times of year are as a result. The first step to coping with grief during the holidays is recognizing that the resurgence of grief is a normal part of the healing process and that being prepared can help to lessen the intensity.

Loss changes everything, but with support, being patient with yourself, and a few strategies, the holidays can be a time of expression and growth.

Be kind to yourself

Grief can feel like a roller coaster and emotional set-backs are normal. By realizing that you can only do what you are able to realistically and comfortably manage allows for the expression of feelings.

Express yourself

Having an outlet for your feelings such as journaling, increased exercise, time alone, or time with friends and family can help to process the pangs of grief.

Ask for help

Ask for what you need. While it may feel necessary to carry on a favorite tradition in memory of the deceased, if doing so feels too hard it’s okay to do something different. Too often those around us want to celebrate the holidays as usual and hearing how best they can help and how hard this time of year is for you provides them with insight as to how they can be supportive. Ask for help, delegate and create the boundaries that help you to get through.

Consider traditions

For some, carrying on with beloved traditions is a great source of comfort, while it can be unbearable for others. Consider creating new traditions, even those that may be temporary. This might be a good year to spend the holidays “paying it forward” and assisting at an area agency helping those in need or surrounding yourself with family and friends.

Whatever you decide, do what you can to create the support for yourself that helps you to get through. There is no one way to celebrate the holidays any more than there is one way to grieve. No matter what, remember that this is all a part of the process of moving forward.

More to Help You

Our Loran Smith Center for Cancer Support provides information, education and emotional and spiritual support to cancer patients and their families in north Georgia. It serves as a resource for patients before, during and after cancer treatment through support groups, individual and family counseling and an educational resource library.

To speak to someone at the center, call 706-475-4900.

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Posted by on December 3, 2014 in Loran Smith Center


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Raising Award-Winning Dough

It pays to be creative — and quite a baker — when raising dough for the In Their Shoes Athens Cancer Walk.

To help meet her fundraising goal, April Myers bakes cakes for donations. Not only have her desserts raised enough for her to participate in three walks, they’ve earned her awards.

Her strawberry cake won the top cake award at the spring 2014 Jaemor Farms Strawberry Festival. Then, she traveled back to Jaemor Farms for their Peach Festival in August and her fresh peach cake earned overall winner in the cake category while her Fresh Peach Delight was the Overall Grand Prize Desserts winner.

Congratulations, April, and thank you for your continued support of the free programs offered at the Loran Smith Center for Cancer Support for local cancer patients and their families.

April Myers Wins Baking Awards


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Chilling Out for Former Co-worker

The Ice Bucket Challenge may be chilling out on Facebook but it still is warming the hearts of some of our employees. That’s because they know Rusty Holland. Rusty worked as a beloved Physical Therapist in our Rehabilitation and Home Health Departments for many years until his health became his main mission. His story is a powerful one.

To show their love and support for Rusty, our Home Health team did the Ice Bucket Challenge in his honor and collected more than $500 in donations to give to the Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) Association. They are challenging our Rehabilitation team to donate and get drenched for him as well. As the video shows, he seems to be pretty happy about the idea.


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Posted by on September 22, 2014 in Recognition, Service


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In Their Shoes Fundraising Ideas

In Their Shoes LogoWalking 13.1 miles In Their Shoes is a wonderful accomplishment and a true show of support. The main reason for that is because of what the walk represents – the difficult journey that loved ones with cancer experience. The other reasons involve the time you invest to train, walk and raise money.

Individual walkers have a goal of $1,000. Some of them reach that goal with the help of others. It’s a good idea to share that you are asking them to support cancer patients and survivors and the free programs at the Loran Smith Center for Cancer Support.

Here’s are some other ideas to help you reach the goal:

Breast Health Center In Their Shoes Shirt

Click to enlarge photo.

  • Sell T-shirts like our Breast Health Center is doing. (See photo.) Contact us for more information about purchasing one to help their team reach its goal. Final orders due Sept. 26.
  • Reach out to friends and family through social media or personal emails explaining why this is important to you and the community.
  • Bake and sell the treats (with permission, of course) at school, work or church.
  • Have a lemonade stand. Get your kids involved and show the importance of giving back.
  • Have a garage sale or sell old books or treasures through appropriate websites.
  • Have a game night or theme party at your house and ask guests for donations to play or for door prizes.
  • Change your voice mail message on your phone and ask callers to donate. Add a “Support me on October 25 in the In Their Shoes Walk” to your email signature line.
  • Give friends and family members “piggy banks” to collect change.
  • Host a silent auction for your friends and family.
  • Ask a local business to contribute. Many plan to make charitable contributions during the year. (Contact the Athens Regional Foundation before soliciting any corporate sponsorship.)
  • Consider asking for donations instead of gifts for upcoming celebrations like birthdays.
  • Ask your neighbors if you could help them out around the house (mow their lawn, clean the gutters, walk their dog, go to the grocery store) for small donations.

Get more ideas, some rules to keep in mind, and a training guide in the walker handbook.

Thank you for walking with us … In Their Shoes! Can’t make it to the walk? Please consider donating.

In Their Shoes

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Posted by on September 14, 2014 in Events, Foundation, Loran Smith Center


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Lung Screening

Should you consider a Low Dose CT (LDCT) lung screening?

1. Are you between 55 and 74 years of age?
2. Are you a current smoker with a 30 pack per year history of smoking?
3. Are you a former smoker with a 30 pack per year history who quit smoking less than 15 years ago?

If you answered yes to those questions, you should speak with your primary care physician about a referral for LDCT lung screening for people who are high risk.

Your physician must fax a referral order to the Athens Regional Medical Center Chest Center. That fax number is 706-475-5905.

If you would like more information about this screening, please email us.

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Posted by on September 12, 2014 in Wellness


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