Why is Hazel sent to a support group?

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Hazel is a seventeen-year-old girl with cancer. Her mom believes that Hazel suffers from depression. Hazel's doctor agrees. As a result, Hazel's medications are adjusted, and she is encouraged to attend a Support Group on a weekly basis. The group is comprised of others who either have cancer or had cancer. The purpose of the group is to provide support and coping skills as members fight their illnesses. Hazel shares that each member takes a turn stating his or her name, diagnosis, and age. Sometimes, they talk about dying. Hazel realizes that there is a certain level of competition that takes place among the members of the support group. For example, Hazel was given a "20 percent chance of living five years." She does the math and realizes that she needs to outlive four people in her support group. Although she attempts to stop going, Hazel realizes that she attends to make her parents happy.

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Hazel has been diagnosed with Stage 4 thyroid cancer. As well as the damaging impact this has on her physical health, it also affects her psychological well-being. Hazel becomes understandably depressed due to her terminal condition, which causes her mother no small concern. Mrs. Lancaster doesn't quite understand either her daughter's condition or the unpleasant feelings they cause. But she still cares deeply for Hazel and suggests that she attends a support group that meets every Wednesday in the basement of a local church. She thinks that it would be good for Hazel to meet up with other people with the same condition. At the support group, she'll hopefully derive considerable strength from the empathy and support she'll receive from others who know just what she's going through. Attending the support group might also go some way towards alleviating her depression.

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