Bruce Ham shares his story, how support group for single fathers due to cancer helps him

Bruce Ham heard about the “Support Program for Single Fathers” from a friend. “I attended the first meeting. The guys in the group were going through exactly what I was going through and they were a similar age, they had all lost their wives to cancer, they all had kids in the house, so we had a lot in common. That’s what made it appealing to me.”

Bruce and his three daughters live in Raleigh. They lost wife and mother Lisa Ham to colon cancer in 2010. The support group was started in 2010 by Donald Rosenstein, MD, and Justin Yopp, PhD, as part of the UNC Comprehensive Cancer Support Program. Dr. Rosenstein explains, “We wanted to be able to support these fathers who were simultaneously mourning their wives, caring for their children, maintaining the household and holding on to their jobs.  The men in this group have been our teachers and partners as we try to improve supportive services for single fathers due to cancer.”

Bruce and his family were featured in a Father’s Day article in the News  & ObserverIcon indicating that a link will open an external site. . He also writes about his family on a blogIcon indicating that a link will open an external site., and a recent entryIcon indicating that a link will open an external site. described the support group.

Bruce says the group has helped him and his daughters. “You see people dealing with the same issue you’re dealing with so you don’t feel alone. So, if someone else has found something that works with a kid or worked with grief, I think to myself, ‘I may try that.’”

And for his daughters,  “I think there is something to be said for kids feeling like Dad is getting support. It lets them know Dad needs help to get through this so it’s okay if I need help to get through this.”

The support group meets monthly. For more information: