Video conferencing brings cancer survivors together

Tuesday, November 9 2010

Members of an isolated island community have learned that cancer has no geographical boundaries, and neither does support.

Thanks to video conferencing technology, cancer survivors and sufferers of Beaver Island, Michigan, are able to come together once a month at their rural health center to connect with a similar group in Charlevoix, Michigan, a two-hour ferry ride away, reports the Associated Press.

The program is easy for the residents to use, even for those who aren't the most technologically savvy. Muggs Bass, a 70-year-old Beaver Island resident with cancer in her breast and bones, doesn't own a computer, doesn't use email and doesn't own a cell phone.

For first-grader Lauren Turner, a leukemia survivor in North Carolina, her isolation was less about physical distance and more about feeling alone.But she is able to stay in touch with 16 of her classmates, simultaneously, via a video conference hooked up in their classroom, reports the Gaston Gazette. Connecting with school is a pleasant distraction for the 6-year-old.

"By 8:45 a.m., she's on the computer starting a lesson," said Lauren's mother Kristie. "I don't want her to miss out on anything."