Men who have dependent children and whose spouses or partners died from cancer are an overlooked population. The Single Fathers Due to Cancer program offers support, information, and resources to fathers as they adjust to being sole parents and work through their grief and that of their children. This program is the first of it's kind in the U.S. and its purpose is to help widowed fathers who face unique challenges not addressed by traditional grief support groups that often attract an older, female population.
Developed by Donald Rosenstein, MD, director of the UNC Comprehensive Cancer Support Program, and Justin Yopp, PhD, Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry, the group grew out of the doctors' work with young mothers who were dying of cancer and their families. During the counseling sessions mothers expressed concerns about how their husbands and children were coping with their terminal illness and would cope after their death.
Join the support group
The Single Fathers Due to Cancer Program includes a monthly support group for fathers and their children. The program is free and open to any single father due to cancer, but registration is required. The group meets the third Monday of every month at 6:00 p.m. at Carolina Pointe II. Fathers are welcomed to bring their children, who will be supervised in a separate room and provided pizza, drinks and activities.
The program is currently recruiting single fathers to participate in a survey in order to develop treatments to lessen the burden of future generations of fathers and their children. Click here to take the survey.
Check out the links below for more news and information about the program.
UNC Lineberger's Single Fathers Due to Cancer program featured in the Chapel Hill News.
Bruce Ham, one of the original members of the Single Fathers Due to Cancer support group, has written a memoir, “Laughter, Tears and Braids,” about his journey raising three daughters after the death of his wife from cancer.
Join UNC Health Care at 11:00 a.m. Eastern time on Friday, Nov. 1, for a discussion of how fathers cope with the loss of their wife or partner, meet the demands of sole parenthood, and manage their children's grief.
The first of its kind program, Single Fathers Due to Cancer, continues to gain attention through media reports.
The past year has been a very difficult one for Timothy Lai, a New York City public school teacher. His wife Esther, who fought terminal breast cancer for eight years, passed away exactly a week before Christmas. While deeply mourning his wife, Timothy struggled with how to cope with the loss himself and help his teenage Leif endure this trying life experience.
Health reporter for the New York Times, Jane Brody, features the Single Fathers Due to Cancer program.
Men who have dependent children and whose spouses or partners died from cancer are an overlooked population. These fathers face unique challenges not addressed by traditional grief support groups that often attract an older, female population.
NBC's Today Show spotlighted the first-of-its-kind program designed to help single dad's who have lost a spouse to cancer. NBC’s Dr. Nancy Snyderman reports on the group's efforts.
The article profiles Russell Tatum, a father who found emotional support for himself and his family through the UNC Lineberger-supported group designed for fathers who have lost a spouse to cancer.
A new website for Single Fathers Due to Cancer has been launched as a way to help fathers more easily find resources and support.
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.”
Cancer is a leading cause of widowed fatherhood in the United States. Faculty with UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center’s Comprehensive Cancer Support Program authored a commentary titled “Single Fatherhood Due to Cancer” in the August issue of the journal Psycho-Oncology outlining challenges these fathers face and future directions to develop supportive interventions for them and their children.
Part of UNC Comprehensive Cancer Support Program