Some members of a Fairfax cancer support group think nothing of phoning one another in the middle of the night.

That's because "On My Own" members live alone and often look to each other for comfort when they can't sleep. Their sleeplessness, said group facilitator and founder Bobbi Brady, often results from treatments like steroids, or from worry about their disease. Members of the group, sponsored by Inova Health System's Life with Cancer Family Center, are 40 and older.

"When you're used to living by yourself, or taking care of yourself, you do what you want, when you want to do it," said Brady, a retiree who never married and has undergone treatment for metastatic kidney cancer for more than 10 years. That can make it hard, she said, to adapt to disease and treatment.

Though the group might discuss challenges like being too tired to get groceries or drive to chemotherapy, Brady describes the meetings' general mood as "upbeat and energetic."

The next meeting is Monday, Aug. 1, from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., at the Life with Cancer Family Center, 2832 Juniper Street, Fairfax. The center hosts other free support groups for cancer patients. To learn more, call 703-776-2841 or see

-- Samantha Sordyl

On My Own founder Bobbi Brady helps patients who live alone.