At Shaw Cancer Center, patients are not alone on their journey. Our Survivorship Program offers support services to address the issues of cancer treatment to help patients, families, and loved ones understand and better cope with the challenges of the disease.
Shaw sponsors a number of cancer support groups to help patients:
  • Summit Cancer Support Group: this support group features speakers on health-related topics and serves as a support system for patients and family members.
  • Cancer Support Group at Jack's Place: all patients, family and friends are welcome to attend.
  • Conversations with Caregivers: connect with other caregivers in a safe and supportive environment.
  • Shaw Cancer Center Education Support Group: cancer patients, survivors, caregivers and loved ones are encouraged to attend.
  • Patient workshops and various conferences, retreats and events throughout the year.
  • Home Care & Hospice of the Valley grief group.
For information on cancer support groups, classes and events, please contact Erin Perejda,  LCSW at 970-569-7606 or
Oncology social workers are Master’s level, licensed clinical social workers who specialize in helping people whose lives have been impacted by cancer. This is a free service for all Shaw patients and survivors. To speak to our social worker, Erin Perejda,  LCSW at 970-569-7606 or
How can an oncology social worker help?
  • Access information to understand your diagnosis and treatments.
  • Cope with your cancer diagnosis.
  • Consider decisions about treatment options as you think about other factors in your life, including work, family, and personal goals and responsibilities.
  • Understand social security and disability benefits.
  • Obtain information and apply for other programs and services that can help.
Shaw's social worker offers:
  • Counseling for patients and their family members.
  • Various support groups and educational programs.
  • Information and referral to community resources for assistance with financial concerns, transportation issues, lodging during treatment, community support groups, and more.
  • Information and referral to cancer-related resources and service organizations.
  • Workplace and school education and consultation.
Our social worker can provide education and guidance on:
  • Effectively communicating with your treatment team members.
  • Talking with your children, family, friends, and co-workers about your illness.
  • Coping with your emotions, such as sadness, anger, grief, worry, and fear.
  • Reducing stress and using relaxation skills.
  • How cancer affects sex, intimacy, fertility, and feeling good about your body.
  • Living with cancer: issues commonly experienced and resources to help you long-term.
  • Planning for your care with the use of advance directives.
  • Life as a cancer survivor.
While everyone’s experience with cancer is different, feelings of anxiety and isolation are common. Talking to someone who has “been there” can be comforting. Shaw Cancer Center's Peer Connection Program offers people with a new diagnosis of cancer the opportunity to speak with a survivor who has gone through a similar experience. Patients can be matched with a Peer Guide according diagnosis, stage, age, gender or other preference.
Our Peer Guides are all cancer survivors, and they are available to provide support, insight, and practical information to newly diagnosed patients. They will always refer a patient back to the physician for medical advice. Contact typically begins on the phone. The Peer Connection Program is a free service to patients of Shaw Cancer Center.
All that is required of the patient is:
  • An intake form with questions regarding your particular needs along with relevant medical information.
  • A signed consent form(s).
Becoming a Guide - Peer Guides are volunteers who must:
  • Be one year out of active cancer treatment.
  • Complete a one-time training event.
  • Maintain the confidentiality of all patients and/or caregivers.
  • Make a one-year commitment to the program.

Request Support
For information or to make a peer connection, please contact Erin Perejda,  LCSW at 970-569-7606 or

Pastoral services are available for patients and their families 24 hours/day, seven days/week, extending spiritual care to everyone who requests it, regardless of their faith orientation. The following services can be provided by our hospital chaplain or volunteer chaplains:
  • When you need to speak with someone about spiritual or emotional concerns.
  • When you feel the need for prayer or would like to receive a blessing or the sacraments.
  • When you need help finding or contacting spiritual resources in the community, our chaplains are able to reach out to your faith community.
  • When there is a new diagnosis or a recurrence, especially of a serious or life-limiting disease.
  • Before surgery or other procedure that might create anxiety or fear.
  • To be with family and friends during difficult times or if there is family conflict.
  • To struggle together with unanswerable questions like, "Why is this happening to me?" or "Where is God?"
  • When a patient is facing death or to help with funeral arrangements.
  • When a staff member needs support.
  • Religious rites and rituals as requested by patients, families and staff and as appropriate to the hospital environment. 
To reach a chaplain:
  • Ask your attending nurse to contact Chaplain Services.
  • Dial the operator at "0" on any Shaw phone.
Vail Health's Ethics Resource Committee is available for Shaw patients and their caregivers who may be struggling with a difficult decision involving healthcare. The Committee is comprised of individuals who are trained to facilitate and guide discussion. The Committee does not make medical decisions, but listens and responds to patients, staff, physicians and caregivers to clarify issues and explore options and possible outcomes. To get in touch with the Ethics Resource Committee, please ask your nurse to request an Ethics Consultation on your behalf.
Shaw Cancer Center is a service of Vail Health Hospital.