WeCare is support group established in memory of Marilyn Stregiel for cancer patients and their caregivers
One never feels quite so alive as when caring for someone dying. All the mundane fades away. The focus is on closing a life. Those excrutiating days when you hang on their every breath, hoping it will end for their sake. Hoping it will never stop for yours. Minutes are hours, and hours are days while each and every second is precious. Your patient's comforts - physically, emotionally and spiritually - become your world. You hold your breath through each tiny step they may take. You manage medication. You talk with medical personnel, hospice, clergy, lawyers, friends, family and yourself.
Then one day it is over, and you feel heady with relief. You helped your loved one achieve victory. Then slowly the emptiness sets in, and not until you are completely drained, can you start the process of coming back to your day to day.
You have witnessed the essence, so life will never be the same.
The deceased can no longer speak. You are their beholder. What to do with this responsibility?
Skaneateles' Marilyn Stregiel died on Dec. 29, 2006. In life she was effervescent, in death ever present. The love of her life, Norman Stregiel shockingly predeceased her by 10 months. She was supposed to be first, as she had breast cancer for 15 years.
Marilyn's friends and family knew she had always wanted a support system for cancer patients and their caregivers, so this became their mission.
Weekly a group of 11 cancer survivors and caregiver put their heads together and plotted. The result is WeCare. A cancer support group for survivors in the Skaneateles area (Marcellus, areas around Otisco, Skaneateles and Owasco Lakes, Jordan and Elbridge). Basically anyone who would find it a convenient place to converge.