When Ashley Goodwin graduated from high school in 2004, she wanted to come to CSU to learn how to help people.
But last April, Goodwin’s mother, Kerri Goodwin, was diagnosed with cancer.
“It was really difficult to hear the news,” Goodwin said. “I think what made it even more hard is that I was up here and she was in Littleton.”
Now in the wake of her own mother’s battle, she is helping others cope with cancer.
Goodwin’s friend and classmate, Lauren Davis, was 10 years old when her uncle died from cancer, and her family took Davis’ cousin in for several months.
More than a decade later, she, too, is helping people cope with cancer.
Goodwin and Davis, both senior social work majors, collaborated to create Healing Together Peer Cancer Support Group, CSU’s only support group for students who have in one way or another been affected by cancer.
The premise of Healing Together is to bring together a community of peers who need support from others in similar situations.
“I figured we already have something in common here; we’re all students at CSU,” Goodwin said. “So we have something going for us.”
One of Goodwin’s textbooks shows the drastic effect that cancer has on families.
“It is estimated that three out of ever four families will one day be touched by cancer,” according to her textbook “Cancer and the Family.”
Under these numbers, CSU’s roughly 25,000 students would include about 19,000 students affected directly or indirectly by cancer.
Upon discovering her mother was not the only cancer-stricken member of her family, Goodwin said she was upset and angry at the disease.
“I wanted to do something positive with that anger,” Goodwin said. “When I found out that there wasn’t a specific support group on campus geared toward family members that have cancer, I figured that was where I was supposed to go.”
Davis and Goodwin’s paths did not cross until they were at CSU, but taking the same classes in the same major, it was hard to avoid each other.
“I think we pretty much had class together since sophomore year,” Davis said.
Hearing of Kerri Goodwin’s diagnosis, Davis wanted to team up with Goodwin.
“Just hearing what she was going through, (I tried) to support her in her quest,” Davis said.
Davis involved herself in social work because she said she hates seeing people in distress, she said.
Aside from cautionary checkups, Kerri Goodwin is now free from the threat of cancer.
“She has been declared cured for three months now,” Goodwin said.
Healing Together Peer Counseling Support Group will hold another meeting Nov. 7 from 7:15 to 8:45 p.m. in the Wellness Zone in Lory Student Center. For more information contact Ashley Goodwin at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Staff writer Johnny Hart can be reached at email@example.com