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SMMC Offers 'Walk Away From Cancer' Program Thanks to Grant from Maine Cancer Foundation


A new pilot program developed by Southern Maine Medical Center’s (SMMC) Cancer Care Program, Walk Away From Cancer, will provide survivors, diagnosed during the last six-to-twelve months, with the tools and motivation to begin and sustain a program of exercise, nutritional education and emotional strength and coping skills.  The program will run July 17 to August 23, every Tuesday and Thursday evening, from 4:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. and is free to participants or their family thanks to a $5,000 grant by the Maine Cancer Foundation.

“It is incredibly gratifying to serve the people of Maine with these grants,” says Tara Hill, Maine Cancer Foundation executive director.  “Twice a year, our selection committee is able to send funding to all corners of the state, from York County to Waldo County.”  In addition to education and patient support grants, the foundation also awards cancer research grants on an annual basis, totaling over $1.1 million in 2011.

Participants will spend about half of each meeting walking on the Eastern Trail behind SMHC under the direction of an exercise physiologist.  During the remainder of each meeting, a nutritionist will provide tips on diet as it relates to cancer or a social worker will offer information on coping skills, depression, and other emotional health topics related to a cancer diagnosis.
“At SMHC, we are committed to ensuring that our cancer patients thrive as well as survive,” stated Ed McGeachey, SMHC’s president and CEO.  “We offer a range of non-clinical cancer support programs.  The recent grant of $5,000 form the Maine Cancer Foundation will enable us to add a new option – exercise – to our roster.  I am confident that ‘Walk Away From Cancer’ will promote healing and better long-term outcomes for our cancer patients as well as their families.”

To register for Walk Away From Cancer, or for more information about the program, contact SMHC’s Cancer Care Coordinator Peggy Belanger, RN, at 283-7320.

About Southern Maine Medical Center
Southern Maine Medical Center (SMMC) is a national award-winning healthcare system including a medical center offering excellent clinical care and a multi-specialty physician services group. SMHC features one of Maine's leading Emergency Care centers as well as a full range of inpatient and outpatient services at its 150-bed acute care medical center. Non-emergency care is available without an appointment seven days a week at SMHC’s Walk-In Care center in Saco. SMHC's physician services offer high quality medical care through offices located in Biddeford, Kennebunk, Old Orchard Beach, and Saco and a wide array of outpatient services at its diagnostic and therapy centers in Saco, Kennebunk, and Biddeford. SMHC is Joint Commission accredited, state-licensed, and is a member of the MaineHealth system. To learn more visit

About Maine Cancer Foundation
Maine Cancer Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the health and well-being of Maine people by funding cancer research, education and patient support programs.  100% of the funds raised remain here in Maine.  The Foundation was established in 1976 by a small group of concerned citizens who had lost loved ones to cancer.  Thanks to their efforts, and the support of thousands of others, Maine Cancer Foundation has made a difference in the fight against cancer, providing millions of dollars in grant funding.  To learn more visit

Media Contact: Karen Chasse, (207) 283-7238

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