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Cancer survivor support group adapts with COVID-19

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TUCSON - A local cancer survivor support group is figuring out ways to still take care of their members, as the nation deals with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tucson Cancer Conquerors normally meets at Brandi Fenton Memorial park for coffee, to socialize and even exercise among other activities.

But with the 'stay-at-home' order in effect, they can't have their normal group gatherings. However, this hasn't stopped them from taking care of its members.

With large group gatherings now restricted due to COVID-19, the group instead delivered supplies to its members while social distancing at the park.

"It was really fun this morning. I had to run by every single car and wave and say hello," said Liz Almli, President of Tucson Cancer Conquerors. "You know we're trying to keep our six feet and that's hard because as you talk you get closer and closer so we kept everybody wearing masks this morning."

The non-profit organization has started connecting with members online for birthdays, sharing cooking recipes, hiking tips and even exercise videos. In a now isolated world, what this group is doing means a lot to all of its members.

"This group means a great deal to me and I think that one of the things that is of most importance is that we have an opportunity to share that with other people in our community," said Mary Specio-Boyer, Executive Director of Tucson Cancer Conquerors.

Saturday would have been the day TCC normally meets for coffee, so while members drove up, those working were also handing it out so they could relax and talk with other members in their cars.

"It's really important because there's nothing like actually being able to chat with someone face to face and not being able to give hugs is really hard," said Almili. "We're a big hug group. We really miss that social connection with one another."

The group has even been making regular calls to its members to make sure they have all the supplies they need. For those who weren't able to pick up their stuff at the park, the board will make trips to their home so they're not left out.

"It's a magic group of people that have really made a huge difference in my life and hopefully in the lives of other people who connect with us," said Specio-Boyer.

If you would like to learn more about the Tucson Cancer Conquerors, click here

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Mark Mingura

Mark Mingura joined KVOA as a Multi Media Journalist in October 2019. Originally from the valley and with ties to Tucson, Mark is excited to get back to his home state and tell the stories of the Old Pueblo.

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