I believe in self-help as an effective way of dealing with stress, hardship and pain. . . . Mending people, curing them is no longer enough; it is only part of the total care that most people require. The benefits of mutual aid are experienced by millions of people who turn to others with a similar problem to attempt to deal with their isolation, powerlessness, alienation, and the awful feeling that nobody understands.
~Former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop, M.D.
Dr. Koop’s inspirational statement pretty much sums up what ANA/NJ is all about. Being diagnosed with a brain tumor can be a devastating experience. Often, although they try, even family members never fully understand. It helps tremendously to be able to meet or talk with someone who has been down the same road. Our president and founder, Wilma Ruskin, had this experience in 1993. “The night before surgery, feeling frightened and alone . . . I called [a woman] in Chicago . . . and she spent nearly an hour of her time answering my questions, acknowledging my fears, and comforting me. That was my first introduction to the self-help and support concept, and it was to help me time and time again.”
So ANA/NJ was founded in 1995 to help bring acoustic neuroma patients, their families and friends together for mutual support and to share experiences and information. This is basically what we’ve been doing for these many years. We try to help new patients through rough times, and along the way we have also tried to increase public awareness of the symptoms of acoustic neuroma and the benefits of early intervention.
Our organization has grown. We have a dedicated planning group, which we call our Executive Board, and a very supportive Medical Advisory Board of prominent regional doctors. We publish a newsletter twice a year, and in 1999 we introduced our Directory of patients and friends, which has been especially helpful for putting people with similar concerns in touch with one another. We also maintain this new website, to stay up-to-date and keep in touch with the broader community of ANers and medical professionals.
But our basic reason for being remains the same -- self-help. The Internet is amazing and wonderful, but we still believe it’s most important for the newly diagnosed patient to have personal contact with someone who has already made the journey. We’re here. Give us a call, or send an email. Anytime!
ANA/NJ Executive Board Members
Wilma Ruskin, President
Dave Belonger, Vice President
Jane Huck, Treasurer
Dick Barker, Secretary
ANA/NJ Medical Advisory Board Members
Anthony L. D'Ambrosio, MD
Scott L. Kay, MD
Otolaryngology, Facial Plastic Surgery
Jed A. Kwartler, MD
Berkeley Heights, NJ
John D. Lipani, MD
Neurosurgery, Stereotactic Radiosurgery
James K. Liu, MD
Neurosurgery, Skull Base Surgery
Michael L. Rosenberg, MD
Samuel H. Selesnick, MD
Neurosurgery, Skull Base Surgery
New York, NY
Richard M. Hodosh, MD
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