With the sun behind me, I left the comfort of the workplace and ventured to the unknown for the first men’s support group last night. I arrived before the men did where I was able to peruse the library of cancer related literature. Could I read a book about facilitating a support group before this session starts? Impossible, I know. As they arrived it was like meeting old friends I hadn’t seen in many years. Their humanity, their love, their hope and their focus was eerily similar to what you might expect from a man whose family learned more about cancer in their young years than someone who had walked this planet for fifty or sixty years. Cancer knows no age and last night was a stark reminder how it can enter, sniff around, find a receptor and release itself into the bodies of our loved ones without reason. Cancer has many questions, many suggestions, many offerings and it’s in the way we respond that makes or breaks us. These guys last night are standing at the plate with bases loaded, with a full count and their entire career is on the line – BUT – they are standing in there, fouling one pitch off after another, refusing to give in, refusing to strand their loved ones and doing all they can to bring them home. Funny how a baseball metaphor makes so much sense in this twisted world of cancer. There were absolutely zero pretenses to last night’s meeting. After introductions were exchanged it was “game on” and after ninety minutes of listening, I mean really listening to where these fellows have traveled and what their plans are I learned an important facet of facilitation and it came from Cindi’s voice of experience. To look at their faces for hope, to hope for a cure, to hope for control and to hope for healing. When we started talking about the Super Bowl they were both thankful I left my New England Patriots hat in the car. We left each other’s company with a smile. Next meeting scheduled for March 3rd. Cancer sucks, though there is HOPE.