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Dr. McLaurin Opens Cancer Resource Center


Cancer Center Grand Opening

With the simple snip of a ribbon, Franklin County gained a new weapon in the on-going struggle against cancer.

Shortly after noon Tuesday, the American Cancer Society opened a Cancer Resource Center, only the second in the eastern portion of the state, within the office of Franklin County Cancer Center on Jolly Street.

The center is owned and operated by Dr. Robert McLaurin who is donating space to the Cancer Society to provide additional resources to those fighting the dreaded disease.

Dr. McLaurin and the ACS are dedicating the resource center in memory of his mother, Dr. Kathleen Spellman McLaurin.

“As many of you know, my mother passed away last year.  She lived a long, rich, happy life, full of passion and purpose.  She was a physician and a pioneer and a champion of many worthwhile causes,” Dr. McLaurin said.

“She raised five kids with one simple mandate: do the very best that you can do with whatever you have to work with.

“In her last days, as she was drifting away, mostly sleeping, she woke up one day to find her children gathered about the foot of her bed.  In her typical feisty fashion she said, ‘Haven’t you got something better to do?’

“It was her way of saying, ‘Life is short; there is no time to waste.  Get back to work; you have important things to do!’” Dr. McLaurin said.

“So, this endeavor is my way of honoring her life and her last request, by joining forces with the ACS, and doing something really special for the good people of Franklin County,” he added.

As he helped open the center, Dr. McLaurin noted that “30 years ago John Naisbit coined the phrase high-tech/high-touch to emphasize the need to balance advanced technology with genuine human caring and compassion.

“Five years ago, we started the Franklin County Cancer Center when we installed one of the most advanced pieces of technology in all of medicine – a Linear Accelerator.

“Today, we are gathered together to celebrate the arrival of the ultimate compliment to the work already underway here: the Cancer Resource Center.

The Cancer Resource Center is the critical mass that provides the perfect balance, which makes the whole greater than the sum of its parts, he said.

  • It is educational material on types of cancer and types of treatment.
  • It is books on survival and spirituality and strength.
  • It is free internet access to all of the ACS programs and services worldwide.


But most of all …

  • It is people – caring and compassionate people, who have decided to devote their time and energy to help other people navigate their way through the complex and scary journey we call cancer.


“We are proud that we have cultivated this strong partnership with the ACS,” Dr. McLaurin said as he introduced several dignitaries, including U.S. Rep. Bob Etheridge and State Sen. Doug Berger, who attended the opening.

Sen. Berger said the resource center is “about taking care of our own — about working together as a team.”

He likened the center to the ceremony for an access road to the county’s industrial park Tuesday morning, saying it is “a plan for us to take care of ourselves.”

Berger called the center an “institution of hope” and said his colleagues in the North Carolina Senate are committed to the battle against cancer.

He noted that State Sen. Marc Basnight of Manteo has taken a special interest in the cancer fight since his wife was claimed by a rare form of the disease a few years ago.

“Cancer can strike any of us,” Berger said, recalling comments by Basnight that “we have to find a cure for cancer.”

Berger noted that North Carolina has committed $50 million a year to fight the disease. “North Carolina will become the Mayo (Clinic) of the South regarding cancer treatment,” Sen. Berger said.

U.S. Rep. Etheridge called Tuesday a “big day for the county” and noted that the resource center’s opening was “another partnership” somewhat like the industrial park road announced earlier in the day.

“All of us either have someone in our family or know someone touched by cancer,” Etheridge said — and recommended that everyone  seek appropriate medical care and tests as the first step in battling the disease.

“Education and research are key,” the congressman said, “but early intervention is critical.

“This resource center is really about people. It’s about relationships one with another,” he said, adding that while a cancer diagnosis is a huge shock, “there are cures today.”

Patricia Earnhardt-Tyndall, the volunteer coordinator in this region for the American Cancer Society, said the resource center is designed to be a “one-stop-shop for information” about cancer and treatment.

“This is your center,” she said, noting that it is open to anyone suffering from the disease or simply wanting to learn more about it.

The center is a free program designed to provide cancer patients and caregivers with the information, day to day help and emotional support they need to face cancer.

“No one should feel they have to fight cancer alone,” said Earnhardt-Tyndall.

“The Cancer Resource Center will be a vital link in the entire cancer experience, not only for those diagnosed, but also for their families and caregivers.”

By partnering with the Franklin County Cancer Center, Earnhardt-Tyndall said the ACS will be able to serve patients with the most up-to-date information possible about their individual cancer, treatment options, and other resources available to them.

“We are pleased to be partnering with a local treatment facility so patients may have easier access to the resources that are available, but the center is here for the entire Franklin County community, regardless of where they are treated,” she said.

The center is staffed by volunteers, who have been recruited and trained by the American Cancer Society and the Franklin County Cancer Center. Volunteers will help patients navigate their cancer journey by providing information on everything from individual cancers, nutrition, transportation, support groups, area lodging to prostheses and wigs. The resource center will also be able to match people recently diagnosed with cancer with cancer survivors.

Theresa Lassiter, also with the ACS, said that “information empowers” and added that information ”benefits both the patient and the family..

Let’s get the word out,” she said.

The American Cancer Society is dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major health problem by saving lives, diminishing suffering and preventing cancer through research, education, advocacy and service. Founded in 1913 and with national headquarters in Atlanta, the Society has 12 regional Divisions and local offices in 3,400 communities, involving millions of volunteers across the United States.

For cancer information anytime, call toll free 1-800-ACS-2345 or visit www.cancer.org. The Franklin County Cancer Center can be reached at 497-0113.