Dumbo’s historic structures and dramatic views are well known. But under the bridges, there are unique businesses and interesting people who make the community truly come alive. One such person we recently met is Kathy Gurland, founder and director of a new consulting group whose offices are located at 25 Washington Street in Dumbo. The company is called PEG’S Group – www.pegsgroup.com
PEG’S Group is an independent group of Cancer Navigation Consultants who provide Personal Education, Guidance and Support for people affected by cancer. Kathy is one of the many healthcare professionals who became concerned about the shortcomings of the current healthcare system, most especially with its inability to address the full scope of services needed by individuals coping with cancer. This is what motivated her to start her own company. But Kathy wasn’t just encouraged to create this business as a result of her extensive professional background; she was also convinced to follow through on this idea due to her personal experience. Kathy has lost two sisters to cancer, Judi and Peggy. Both of them received a late stage cancer diagnosis, and both of them died when they were in their 40’s. When Peggy was diagnosed in 2003, Kathy’s professional education and experience enabled her to support Peggy in a unique way, as a knowledgeable advocate, a health care surrogate and an informed caregiver. These experiences convinced her that a distinct personal service needed to be created to help people like her sisters. The creation of PEG’S Group is a legacy to Peggy and Judi and to all of the individuals who have to face the uncertainty of a cancer diagnosis. As a Vinegar Hill resident and business founder based in Dumbo, Kathy is passionate about her community and wants to provide a “special offer” for the residents of Vinegar Hill and Dumbo (see Q&A after the jump).
Q: Why do you refer to PEG’S Group as a pioneer business?
A: Because no one has ever thought of developing this idea as a private enterprise outside the parameters of the healthcare world. When most of us get thrust into a medical environment, we usually just accept the healthcare system the way it is, because that’s all that is offered to us at the time. Yet, as day-to-day consumers, we operate differently. When we need assistance in our personal or business lives, we don’t hesitate to seek out and hire private individuals to provide us with what we need. So I thought – in a serious medical situation such as a cancer diagnosis, why shouldn’t individuals have the opportunity to hire their own personal private consultant/cancer navigator to provide them with what the healthcare system is unable to deliver at this time. I know I would have hired a Cancer Navigation Consultant (CNC) for both of my sisters if there had been such a business as PEG’S Group, and I certainly would want my own personal CNC if I was ever diagnosed with cancer.
Q: What makes your Cancer Navigation Consultants (CNC) unique?
A: All the CNC that are contracted with PEG’S Group are licensed in the State of New York under their particular discipline. They have years of experience navigating within the healthcare system, and they all have psychotherapeutic counseling skills. This combination of concrete medical knowledge and psychosocial awareness is crucial to assisting individuals affected with cancer. As CNC, we view our clients individually and holistically, not by just their medical diagnosis. In addition, we all are dedicated to a philosophy that focuses on maintaining hope, preserving health, sustaining life-affirming activities, and prioritizing quality of life.
Q: Can you give me an example of some of the innovative services offered to PEG’S Group clients?
A: Our services are incredibly diverse and too numerous to list in this interview, but they are explained in detail on our web site (www.pegsgroup.com). The most innovative aspects of our services though, are that we customize everything according to our clients needs and we let our clients dictate their own plan of services. If our clients cannot come to our offices at 25 Washington Street, we will meet with them in their homes, at their workplace, another agreed upon location or even conduct phone sessions, whatever is most convenient for the client. We will carry out internet research to save time for our clients, meet with family members or friends if requested, set up and attend medical appointments if needed, help evaluate cancer treatment options, etc. We also assist our clients to focus on all aspects of their lives, not just on cancer. We ask about their relationships, recreation and leisure activities, physical appearance changes, travel wishes, sexuality concerns, and any other quality of life changes that have been affected by their diagnosis. Importantly, we support and assist our clients in making well-informed decisions that will best serve their independent priorities, not the priorities of an overburdened healthcare system.
Q: What do you enjoy about Dumbo and Vinegar Hill?
A: I actually discovered Dumbo in 1998 when I did an internship with a family services agency at 57 Front Street (which has since been converted into a residential condo building). The eclectic energy and diverse community attracted me even back then when the neighborhood appeared deserted and “sketchy.”
The vast architecture and views around every corner still thrill me as I walk to work. At times when I am walking along the cobble stones and train tracks, that I feel as though I am in a different decade, not at all in this millennium. It’s no wonder that this area has produced so many ground breaking artistic endeavors.
Since we moved here four years ago, I have been even more impressed with the unique neighborhood characters, the many small innovative businesses and the development of the natural aspects of this area. The Brooklyn Bridge Park is an amazing treasure for any New Yorker, and one that I appreciate greatly. I also have to say that the Vinegar Hill Neighborhood Association (which I joined right away) especially impresses me with their ongoing dedicated community spirit and neighborly support. It is due to their efforts that VH was deemed an historic land marked area.
Q: You’re offering a special ‘deal’ for our readers and residents of the area. Can you explain?
A: Certainly. What I would like to offer your readers and residents of both Dumbo and Vinegar Hill is a complimentary initial consultation for themselves or for someone that they care about who has been affected by cancer.
What this consists of is a personal one-to-one initial comprehensive assessment with a Cancer Navigation Consultant. This initial assessment is how we begin all relationships with our new clients. The format is designed to help identify immediate needs and priorities and to collaborate with the client in selecting the cancer support services that will be most beneficial to their situation. The regular fee for this one time comprehensive assessment is $250, but it will be waived for your readers and residents of Dumbo and Vinegar Hill.
If you or someone you care about has been affected by a cancer diagnosis, you don’t have to deal with it alone. PEG’S Group can help you and your family.
Call Kathy at 718-246-PEGS (7347) for more information or visit them at www.pegsgroup.com.