Statement from the Cancer Support Center of Maine Board of Directors,

January, 2021

Barb Vittum, the co-founder and Executive Director of The Cancer Support Center of Maine (CSCOM), has been diagnosed with a terminal metastatic cancer. In light of Barb’s condition, the Center’s Board has decided to close after 12 years of service.

Martha Ohrenberger, President of the Center’s Board, remarked on the decision:

“I am deeply grateful for the honor of serving as a co-founder and board member for these 12 years. I have been witness to the many, many lives touch by our Executive Director, Barb Vittum. Barb’s capacity for selfless service, heartfelt comforting, and tireless caring for each and every one of our clients and their families will be her legacy. She will always be a fearless example of passion and determined spirit and oneness.

The board and I fully acknowledge the support we have received from the seed funding of George Marshall in the 2009 startup of CSCOM,  numerous  volunteers gave their service and physical assistance, loyal  funders,  professionals, businesses, and those who offered their time, talents, and generosity.  Our communities made this work possible.  The Center offered free services of cancer risk reduction, health education and patient advocacy at health centers, schools, organizations, and one-on-one coaching throughout the state.  

We have shared the gift of walking arm in arm for the Center’s glorious mission: “to provide free services to cancer patients, survivors, and people at risk in Maine through education, outreach, advocacy, and social support; fostering an environment to assist those in struggle with cancer to reach and maintain optimum physical and emotional health; and maintaining a fiscally viable, compassionate organization that strives for excellence by respecting and preserving the dignity of the people we serve.”

The Center was founded after Barb Vittum beat back a breast cancer diagnosis in 2001. Her support network at the time was so unusually strong that her surgeon remarked, “if everyone had the support Barb does, they would get well.” That awareness led Barb first to complete her college degree as an adult, then to co-create an organization devoted to supporting the needs of those fighting cancer and providing education to reduce the risks of cancer.

Since founding the Center in 2009, Barb and the Center’s volunteers have led educational presentations about cancer, supported every cancer client we possibly could who asked for our help, and celebrated cancer survivors and their caregivers through inspiring and fun annual events.

The Center has been unique in the breadth of its services and service territory. Those in need from northern Aroostook county to southern York county, from the western mountains to the Downeast coast, have benefited from Barb's sage guidance and astute navigation skills. Barb has offered selfless availability, 24/7, on holidays, in raging storms, and even as her own struggle with cancer returned.

A native of Ellsworth and long-time resident of Bucksport, Barb provided years of wellness and cancer support throughout the state of Maine. 

Holly Gartmayer-DeYoung, former CEO of Eastport Health Care, Inc. and the Center’s Board Secretary noted that during her years as the Center’s sole staff person, Barb has been “dogged in her assurance to help, bring comfort, offer witness in the experience of cancer, put voice to the unexplainable feelings unfolding for the client, bring hope and often a little laughter, her best-known medicine for the soul.”

Barb wants to acknowledge with gratitude all founding, past, and present Board members and to each and every individual who so generously gave in ways, which  made this organization  come into fruition which helped as many Maine residents in need as we possibly could.”

 

Board members will be in touch with all current clients. To contact the Center, please call Martha Ohrenberger at 207-949-1207 or email: martha.ohrenberger@icloud.com

Welcome to The Cancer Support Center of Maine

Our Mission is to provide FREE SERVICES to Cancer Patients, Survivors, and People at Risk in Maine through education, outreach, advocacy, and social support; fostering an environment to assist those in struggle with cancer to reach and maintain optimum physical and emotional health; and maintaining a fiscally viable, compassionate organization that strives for excellence by respecting and preserving the dignity of the people we serve. 

The Cancer Support Center of Maine provides the following services either in person or through phone or web contact programs, to best meet the needs and/or preferences of their clients. Our goal is to help clients navigate the often complex and confusing bureaucracy of health management in a time of crisis with an emphasis on free or reduced cost programs.

Emotional Support

Practical Advice

Critical Issue Assistance

Information Assistance

Support for grieving family and friends

Referral Services

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Quote of Inspiration

"Surround yourself with those who believe in YOU and open your heart to all the gifts you receive. And never allow previous problems to overcome you, a chemo/therapy time is only for healing. Remember there are lots of survivors."

.. Linda Maria Drew

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Cancer Support Center of Maine

147 Main Street

Bucksport, Maine, 04416

Phone: 207-949-1207

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