Sending support across the river

Cancer patients in Southern Indiana now have a place to turn for hope and healing, thanks to one woman’s vision.

The Norton Cancer Institute Pat Harrison Resource Center in partnership with Clark Memorial Hospital opened in February 2016 in Jeffersonville, Indiana. The resource center serves as a healing place where cancer patients, survivors and their families can go for support, information, guidance and, most of all, hope.

New Albany resident Pat Harrison was the visionary behind the new center. After her experiences being diagnosed and treated for breast cancer in 2013, she realized a service was desperately needed for others like her in Southern Indiana — a warm, welcoming place to turn for people needing cancer information and support services and to meet others going through the same journey — a place where patients, and women in particular, could feel good about themselves.

Before the resource center opened, the prosthetics center at Clark Memorial Hospital in Jeffersonville served as the closest thing to a resource center, but it had inadequate space, no dedicated staff and limited accessibility.

While three Norton Cancer Institute Resource Centers are available across the bridge in Louisville, Harrison knew the importance of having a more convenient center on the Indiana side of the river.

“Patients who have cancer need this kind of support closer to home, on this side of the river,” Harrison said. “They shouldn’t have to leave their communities to get the cancer education they need. And these resources — from nurse navigators to prosthetics — are essential in the healing process. They address the whole person, and help you navigate your cancer diagnosis.”

The free-standing facility is housed in a charming historic home across the street from Clark Memorial Hospital at 1206 Spring St. It has a warm and welcoming feel, a dedicated parking lot for easy access and a full-time nursing and support staff. The center features an atrium reception area, library/reading room, indoor and outdoor meditation spaces — including a meditation garden — individual and group meeting areas, a therapy center that offers free massages and music therapy, a prosthetics center with room for patients to be fitted for bras and wigs, and plenty of space for individuals and families to meet with a multidisciplinary team of providers.

Through Harrison’s relationship with the resource center, she also hopes to spread the message about the importance of breast self-exams. If it weren’t for a self-exam and knowing she had to be an advocate for her own health, her cancer may not have been diagnosed so quickly.

“This is such an amazing project that brought together Pat’s passion for the community with the important and healing work of Norton Cancer Institute,” said Lynnie Meyer, Ed.D., R.N., CFRE, chief development officer for Norton Healthcare. “Once the community was able to see the power of this partnership, they came together to help us raise the additional funds needed to make this project a reality.

The renovation process has taken about two years to complete. Norton Healthcare’s vision was to maintain the historic character of the building while creating a comfortable place that did not resemble a hospital. Harrison wanted the ambiance to be inviting, soothing and hopeful. And now that the doors have opened, she can finally see her vision come to life.

About the Norton Healthcare Foundation

Helping patients and families along their journey to wellness is the major focus of the Norton Healthcare Foundation, which serves as the philanthropic arm of Norton Healthcare. It works to ensure Norton Healthcare hospitals and adult health services stay up-to-date on the latest advances and technology as well as funds important initiatives, educational offerings and support services. Learn more and help support the work of the Norton Healthcare Foundation.

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