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Using social media to get support

Parents of children with cancer often turn to social media to connect with support, according to findings of new research led by Roswell Park Cancer Institute researchers and published in the journal Cancer Nursing.

“Little research has systematically studied how people use social networking sites when confronting serious illness,” said the paper’s first author, Elizabeth Gage-Bouchard, associate member of cancer prevention and control at Roswell.

Researchers examined personal Facebook pages of parents of children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, a form of childhood cancer, from May 2012 to May 2013. The analysis of more than 15,000 Facebook posts found six primary ways Facebook was used: documenting the cancer journey; sharing emotional strain associated with caregiving; promoting awareness and advocacy about pediatric cancer; fundraising, mobilizing support and expressing gratitude for support.

“Clinicians can educate parents on how to evaluate information obtained through Facebook using evidence-based guidelines. The health care team can and should encourage patients and their caregivers to connect with support and celebrate accomplishments throughout their cancer trajectory and Facebook is one vehicle for sharing this information and support,” Gage-Bouchard said.

Buffalo challenged to lose weight

Fleet Feet Sports is challenging Buffalo to lose a ton of weight.

The athletic apparel and shoe store will start a 12-week Ton of Fun Weight Loss Challenge next month.

Participants will work on their own to lose the weight, but Fleet Feet will provide support, encouragement and resources along the way, including weekly eNewsletters full of nutrition tips, tricks and motivation; a closed Facebook group for support and encouragement; nutritional talks from a clinical dietitian; and prizes for those who stick with the program.

Those who participate will receive a $25 store voucher for completing eight weekly weigh-ins and another $25 voucher if they lose at least 5 percent of their body weight by Dec. 3.

The challenge starts Sept. 10.

Those interested are welcome to attend a free informational session at 7:15 p.m. Aug. 31 or Sept. 7 at Fleet Feet Sports, 2290 Delaware Ave. or click on the “Join a training program tab” at

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