This project developed public presentations of the stories of cancer survivors and their families. Project partners included: Blue Ridge Healthcare Cancer Center, Burke County, North Carolina; Webster County Cancer Education Project, Webster County, West Virginia; and Wetzel County Cancer Coalition, West Virginia. One of the goals of the project was to raise awareness of early cancer detection and prevention.
Eleven participants from North Carolina and West Virginia first attended a three-day Roadside Story to Performance Workshop to gain the skills to collect stories and make plays. Subsequently, they scripted and performed "Voices of Light," "Hope's Cafe," and "Our Never Ending Stories" at community health venues, including statewide cancer convenings. Some groups made videos of their plays as another way to raise awareness.
Mountain Empire Older Citizens (MEOC), the agency on aging in Roadside's home county, sponsored the program as part of their ongoing cancer education initiative. MEOC had previously collaborated with Roadside to write and perform two plays from the stories of cancer survivors and their families. It was the success of these earlier projects that enabled MEOC to obtain funding from East Tennessee State University's Office of Rural and Community Health and Community Partnerships program for "You and Your Community's Cancer Story."
The East Tennessee Partnerships program funded five projects with the purpose of addressing the unusually high rates of cancer deaths in central Appalachia. The other four projects were: "Successful Methods for Engaging Physicians and Direct Health Care Service Providers in Cancer Control," "Organizational and Financial Support of Rural Cancer Care Navigation Models," "Organizing, Quantifying Costs, and Documenting Benefits of Mobile Cancer Screening Units in Rural Areas," and "Balancing Environmental Concerns with Lifestyle Issues."
"You and Your Community's Cancer Story" was deemed one of the most successful of these five projects, and was the only project that was continued by its participants when the funding ended.