Cancer Buddies –
Just wanted you to know that Georgia “invented” cancer buddies in the early 70’s with the help of Bob Kennedy, a local TV morning show host. Georgia appeared on his show a number of times after she created Cancer Call Pac (People Against Cancer) for the American Cancer Society. It was the first 24 hour telephone hotline for cancer patients in the country and formed the basis for the National Cancer Institute’s and the American Cancer Society’s current phone service, along with a host of others. She also trained the people who were the first to man the phones. Call Pac was the first program to put cancer patients in touch with each other (Reach to Recovery was basically a hospital-related service initiated by a Cancer Society volunteer and not the patient). Georgia had to overcome the institutional reluctance of the Society to put patients in touch with each other and the program was such a total success that ACS took it nationwide with their 4-Cancer number, but that didn’t happen until NCI did it first.
I still hear occasionally from people who say they were an original “cancer buddy” and remembered talking with Georgia.
It was, at the time, a unique program that heralded a watershed change in emotional and informational services for cancer patients and for which she was widely recognized and honored. This came about, in part, because of a promise Georgia made to the Lord when she was first diagnosed — that if she survived she would help as many people as she could to deal with their illnesses. God gave her time to fulfill her promise. Praise Him!
– Bud Photopulos