© Thomas Becker - Amherst Daily News
Business owner Travis Saulnier is the individual responsible for organizing one of the few cancer support groups in Cumberland County.
AMHERST - In one way or another cancer has touched and impacted our lives, just like it did to Travis Saulnier.
Saulnier, who was diagnosed with lymphoma, has made it his mission to form a cancer support group for those of Cumberland County.
“We generalized it for everyone to show up so that we can see how many people really need the support and what groups we can break it down to.”
The local businessman and owner of Downtown Wash and Lube will be organizing the group, with the first session being held April 7 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the hospital’s cafeteria.
Support groups are mainly for people who’ve just been diagnosed and are struggling to understand the news they’ve received, Saulnier said.
“A lot of people take a backwards spin and really get negative on themselves and negative on life and this support group is to show them that people do bounce back from all this.”
There’s too much focus on the negative, Saulnier said. The support group will be designed to encourage people to have a positive outlook and to provide information on cancer related topics.
“It’s not negative anymore. It’s all positive. We can cure almost anyone these days, people just don’t understand that. With these support groups there can be a lot more interaction - networking where people will be able to share their information.”
After doing some research, Saulnier was disappointed to learn there’s a lack of support groups around the area. He got the idea of forming the group when he discovered the Lymphoma Foundation of Canada had no support groups in the Maritimes. He decided to step in and do something and they were all for it. However, when he realized there was no support groups for anyone, he decided to form a general group.
“There are a lot of people that really need some support.”
Support groups are very important and allow people to share their feelings, he said.
“We meet new friends. People are met throughout these support groups. It shows we are not alone out there.
Right now it’s all voluntary. Saulnier is using his own money to purchase food and drinks for the sessions, but it’s a small price to pay to make a difference, he said.
There have been attempts at support groups around the county before, but most of them failed. Saulnier doesn’t foresee that happening with this group.
“I won’t give up. I’m really, really stuck on getting something going. When I get it going I push it.”