A $100,000 grant to start a self-help program providing psychological and emotional support for cancer patients and their families has been approved by the South Bay Hospital District board.
The grant went to the Wellness Community-South Bay, which is patterned after a program in Santa Monica. It will offer group and individual counseling, visualization and relaxation sessions, nutrition workshops, health education and community meetings.
A location for the program is expected to be chosen within three weeks.
Philip Valera, executive director of the hospital district, said the program is designed to counter feelings of "desperation and helplessness" that people feel when the disease strikes them. People who have recovered from cancer will take part in the group, he said.
Valera said the Wellness Community, which is seeking funds from other foundations and corporations, will have an annual budget of $150,000 and will serve a minimum of 150 cancer patients and 75 family members.
Board member Jean G. McMillan, who is a major supporter of the program, abstained from voting.