CanCare Austin Changes Its Name

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CanCare Austin Changes Its Name

  1. 1. cancer is at oncology treatment centers and hos- pitals. So that is where we have gone. Our volun- teers now are able to see scores of people living with cancer each week by visiting with patients and family members at Texas Oncology Center, South- west Regional Cancer Center, St. David’s Hospital, and South Austin Hospital; this allows them a direct connection to exactly the people they are uniquely qualified to help. We will begin serving at Seton and Round Rock Medical Centers shortly. In all these settings our volunteers offer not only Cancer Connection resources but also the knowledge to connect patients and caregivers to any of the many other resources available in the Austin area. We see the short term difference our volunteers are making in the eyes of the patients and caregivers, and in the gratitude they express. We can predict the long term difference because we know statistics confirm the impor- tance of this type of support in quality of life during treatment and rates of survival afterward. Our evolution has allowed us to connect two groups, those wanting to serve and those needing exactly what these survivors can provide. Because our volunteers are uniquely helpful, the demand for our services has grown rapidly. And we have big dreams; it is our hope that over time our volun- teers will serve at each oncology center and each hospital in the Austin area. We fervently believe that no one should have to live with cancer alone. In order to realize these dreams, we need to make better connection with one more group, a group of donors. The reality of a nonprofit is that we must find additional funding to pay for our growth. If you believe in our mission and you are able to con- tribute, we earnestly solicit your gifts in the giving season to come. By connecting those who want to give back with those who need their help, we are making a difference. And many more life enhancing connections remain to be made. INSIDE Calendar of Events p. 2 l Contribute To Your Own Healing p. 3 l What’s New in the CC Office? p. 3 l Let’s Create Awareness Together p. 4 l Imagine...Mammograms & Miracles p. 4 l For the Love of Caregiving p. 5 l Hospital Visitation Growth p. 5 l Volunteer Training: Where the Connection Begins p. 6 l Volunteer Spotlight p. 7 l Care Receiver Spotlight p. 7 l Meals Delivered to Breast Cancer Victims p. 8 The Inspirer is published quarterly by Cancer Connection, formerly known as CanCare Austin For more information call (512) 342-0233 or email: info@thecancerconnection.org www.thecancerconnection.org Physical Address: 3710 Cedar St. Box 11 Austin, TX 78705 CanCare Austin Changes Its Name by Bill Greif, Co-Founder CanCare Austin has changed its name to Cancer Connection. We have done so in large part because the new name seems better to de- scribe our activities at this point in our evolution. We started with the core idea of providing one- on-one, long term emotional support for both those with a cancer diagnosis and those who are their caregivers. We chose a model which recruits and trains volunteers who have already experienced cancer to provide that support because of our belief that they are best able to do it; they have already “been there” and share a common base of experience. Thus, each of the 165 volunteers who attended training in our first (almost) three years has had a cancer experience. For most, this was the most difficult time in their lives. Yet they have chosen to walk back into the world of cancer to help others who are now facing the same terrible challenges. When questioned about why they choose this path, our volunteers invariably say something like, “I want to give back... And I sure could have used someone like me when I was going through cancer.” Each has returned to help others by sharing his or her own hard- won knowledge. They are a very special group of people. As we have evolved, we have found more ways to connect this powerful force for healing to those living with cancer and needing support. In the beginning, we found that we were not able to match every volunteer, especially those with more rare forms of cancer. So we began to explore where we could most effectively interact with those who would benefit from the compassion and wisdom our volunteers are able to provide. While our one-on-one match- ing program continues to grow (we have made approximately 50 matches YTD in 2007), we discovered the best place to find people with “Our mission is to improve the quality of life for individuals and families affected by cancer...”
  2. 2. 2 The Inspirer l Volume II l Issue 4 l October 2007 Featured Events Support & Networking Other Community Events Event requires advance registration. Please call 512-342-0233 for info and to register.( Volunteer Training Class Fri, October 19; 7 – 9 pm; Sat, October 20; 9am - 5pm This is a 10-hour training class for cancer survivors and family members who would like to serve as men- tors for other people now facing the same challenges. We cover all the information, listening skills, and preparation needed for being a Cancer Connection volunteer. Apply online: www.thecancerconnection.org Additional Volunteer Training Dates: Nov 30 – Dec 1 Guided Imagery ( Emmett Skiles, MA Saturday, October 27, 10:30am - 12:00 pm AGE Building (Founders Room)* Learn the basics of using visualization, or Guided Imagery, as a complement to your treatment therapies. You will be shown how the imagery process works and hear about the latest research that is available. A brief session will be demonstrated with time for sharing your experience with it, and you will receive a free CD to take home with you. Recording Your Legacy: ScrapBooking 101 ( Elizabeth Erwin, Creative Memories Consultant Six consecutive Tuesday nights beginning Oct. 23, from 6:30pm – 8:30pm, held at the AGE Bldg in the Dining Rm. Where are your photos and stories preserved? We would like to help you celebrate your precious memo- ries. We will work on and complete an album project of your choice in this 6-week series. All materials including the album and basic tools will be provided at no cost. Living with Cancer Support Group This support group is for anyone currently experiencing cancer, with any diagnosis. Its purpose is to provide an atmosphere of compassion, exploration, and mutual support. Meets the 2nd and 4th Thursdays of every month, 6:30 - 8:00pm, at St. John’s Methodist Church, 5906 Wynona Street, Austin, TX 78756. Facilitator: Jeanne Harvey, R.N. Caregivers Support Group This group is intended for the significant other(s) of the indi- vidual dealing with cancer. It is held at the same time but in a different room, as the Living with Cancer group (listed above). We will work to provide a safe place to share the concerns and challenges that caregivers face. Meets the 2nd and 4th Thursdays of every month, 6:30 - 8:00pm, at St. John’s Methodist Church, 5906 Wynona Street, Austin, TX 78756. Facilitator: Carolyn Wilson. To register for support groups, call 342-0233. Life After Cancer Networking Group Survivors finished with treatment meet and share about issues unique to finding the “new normal” as we put our lives back together after cancer. Discussion topics often include various complementary therapies being explored to maintain hard-won health and well being. Guest speakers hosted regularly. Meets on the 3rd Thursday of every month from 7:00 - 9:00pm in Room 222 of theAGE Building*. Facilitator: Emmett Skiles Reiki Night ( Reiki (ray-key) is an ancient, healing therapy of gentle touch based on the belief that there exists a vital energy within and around the body: when this vital energy is in balance, health and well-being abound. Free Reiki sessions are being offered for those dealing with cancer every 1st and 3rd Thursdays from 6:00 - 8:00pm. We invite you to sign up for a 45-minute Reiki session with one of our trained practitioners. Please call 342- 0233 to register for a session. Qi Gong Class - free Amovement class that meets every Thu, 2:45-3:45pm Located at the ITT Building 6330 E Hwy 290, Ste. 315 Contact Holly Ice, 324-1000 ext 11906 or email hice@seton.org. Nia Class - free NIA is an expressive movement/dance class for women recover- ing from serious illness. Move at your own level of fitness, grow- ing into greater mobility, vitality, endurance, strength, flexibility, agility, and relaxation. Contact Dianna Petrick, 544-0905. Yoga Class - free Tuesday afternoons from 2-3pm, at South Austin Cancer Center at 4101 James Casey St., Austin, TX 78745, 2nd Floor. Free ongoing, gentle yoga classes for patients, survivors, and caregivers. Contact Emily Pearcy, LMSW, 912-2776. Calendar of Events Cancer Dialogue Group This ongoing support group is for cancer patients with any diagnosis, including survivors finished with treatment, as well as their caregivers. Meets on the 1st and 3rd Tuesdays of every month from 5:30 – 7:00pm at Southwest Regional Cancer Center, 901 W. 38th Street, Suite 200, Austin, TX 78705. Facilitator: Ann Meyer, LCSW, 421-4167. Colon Cancer Support Group This is a monthly drop-in support group for individuals with colon cancer. It provides an opportunity for people experi- encing the same type of cancer to come together and offer each other support, share concerns, and exchange informa- tion. Meets the 2nd Thursday of each month, 6:00 - 7:30pm, at Texas Oncology, 6204 Balcones Drive, Austin, TX 78731. Facilitator: Anne Minor, LMSW. For more info call: Anne Minor LMSW, at 589-8731, or Lauren Brandt LMSW, at 427-9433. *The AGE Building, Austin Groups for the Elderly, is located at 3710 Cedar Street, Austin, TX 78705 Cancer Connection’s professional staff and volunteers will come to your organization and teach a variety of classes that would be of interest to those living with cancer. We also have a Speakers Bureau to increase awareness about our programs and services. Please contact us at (512) 342- 0233, or info@thecancerconnection.org, if you would like to request us to present to your group. Examples of class topics include: - Visualization & Guided Imagery - Support for the Caregiver - Art Therapy for Cancer - Scrapbooking - Journaling - Spiritual Analogies for the Journey of Cancer
  3. 3. 3The Inspirer l Volume II l Issue 4 l October 2007 POOL PARTY MAKES A SPLASH! On Saturday, August 18, over forty members of the Cancer Connection family joined us for great food and fellowship at volunteer Debi Meyer’s home for the First Annual Cancer Con- nection Pool Party. Also present were community partners Roni Kendall from Hospice Austin and Carol Johnson from The Care Communities. Volun- teers from our first training class of 2004 through our most recently trained July 2007 class were able to meet each other and forge new friendships. Others were able to reconnect with classmates from their own training class. Towards the end of the evening, we unveiled our new “Cancer Connec- tion” logo to a very satisfied audience. Afterwards, volunteers shared in heartwarming sentiments about Can- cer Connection’s impact on their lives. We are very thankful for our Cancer Connection family that has supported us for over three years of service, and continues to support us as we venture into new and exciting directions. What’s New in the CC Office? Cancer Connection is proud to welcome Julie Johnson on board! Originally from Wyoming, Julie has lived in Austin for ten years and is currently seeking an MSSW degree from UT’s School of Social Work. In addition to degrees in marketing and business administration, Ju- lie has experience working with a variety of non-profit and human service organizations including United Way, AIDS Services of Austin, and Hospice Austin. She is interested in assisting and learning from those living with cancer and other life altering conditions. “I am so pleased to be working my first field placement with Cancer Con- nection. It’s a dynamic organization with many dedicated people contributing to its mission. From the all important volunteers, to the great staff and thoughtful, hard working board, I believe it would be hard to find a better location to begin to learn the craft of social work,”she said. Julie can be reached at 342-0233 or julie@thecancerconnection.org Contribute to Your Healing Process by Creating Your Own CarePage by Karen Johnson CarePage.com is a semi-blog website, created for anyone expe- riencing illness (be it patient, caregiver, relative, etc.), to facili- tate communication between the CarePage (CP) subject (that would be you) and your friends and family – anyone whom you choose to invite to“join.” All you have to do is enter e-mail addresses and CP sends out the personal and comprehensive invitations. It’s so simple! Just go to www.carepages.com to create your own CarePage. While I started my own for medical update purposes, it has grown into a quasi- public (only those I’ve invited to join) journal that is more cathartic than any po- tion a pharmacist could possibly concoct! I’ve not only reported the outcomes of doctor visits, but also my worrisome parental skills and musical preferences. One day, I wrote of the complete history of my mustache (a perfect example of a“good”chemo side effect!). The CP Photo Gallery provides me the opportunity to enhance my stories. I’ve posted pictures showing the celebration of my last chemo treatment, the radiation room, and even some“before”and“afters”of my mastectomy. Some of my readers write encouraging responses on my CP Message board. Others, preferring privacy, are prompted to send e-mails after reading the updates. There are some, too, that just read what I write. I know because the ‘Guest List’, seen only by the CP Manager [that would be you] tells you who has visited your page! All of these responses represent different ways of showing me how many loving and supportive people are out there, thinking and praying for me. That knowledge is truly MY best medicine!
  4. 4. 4 The Inspirer l Volume II l Issue 4 l October 2007 I t seems there is so much to be aware of these days. There are the day-to-day events, news, and work-related activities that we need to keep abreast of so that we are well-informed, function- ing people. And for many cancer survivors, there can be an extra diligence to strive for balance, to cultivate a conscious inner life, to eat as healthy as possible, and to keep a close check on unnecessary stressors. At the same time, we can turn our attention to responding to cancer survivorship issues from a more external perspective. As concerned citizens of a global community, many of us are motivated to ensure that future generations do not suf- fer with this disease like we have. The American Cancer Society re- cently announced its commitment to education and advocacy initia- tives that will ensure access to qual- ity cancer care for the uninsured and the underinsured. Additionally, the Lance Armstrong Foundation is rallying support for Proposition 15, which will appear on the upcom- ing November 6 elections ballot. This proposition will establish the Let’s Create Awareness Together Cancer Research and Prevention Institute of Texas and commit a $300 million investment each year over ten years for a total of $3 bil- lion, the single largest state-level investment on record. And many of the presidential candidates are introducing their own plans to ad- dress healthcare reform. Another major area that cries out for attention, and many people seem to shy away from, is how to bring the root causes of cancer into the larger discussion. How can we realistically expect to affect the cancer issue if we’re not willing to take a serious look at its root cause from an internal/personal perspec- tive as well as the external one? I think we owe it to ourselves to consider a balanced response – one that takes all perspectives into account. We now know that cancer prevention goes much deeper than early detection, although that remains extremely important. Support needs to be accessible to those who wish to make more healthy choices for their lives. We recently had a guest speaker for our Life After Cancer Networking group, who spoke to us about this timely topic. Her name is Marian Jamison and her website is www.cancerfreesociety.org. If these types of discussions appeal to you, I would encourage you to visit her website and find out about her upcoming meetings. These are exhilarating times in which we find ourselves at Cancer Connection as we revitalize our organization under the banner of a new name. We continue to look for new ways to increase aware- ness out into the community about what we do. One of the best ways for you to assist us with this is through“word of mouth”. In our daily conversations with others, we often hear someone say that they, or someone they know, are dealing with cancer. This is a good time to tell them about Cancer Connection and how beneficial it can be to talk to someone else who knows what that experience feels like. We have recently been successful in reaching greater numbers of people through some of the local media outlets. I recently met with KVUE, KOOP radio, News8, and The Austin American Statesman to inform them of the work we do Our program at Seton provides mammog- raphy and breast health education with a clinical breast exam to uninsured, low- income women for a $10 co-pay. Recently we arranged a mobile mammography screening at a rural church out in Cedar Creek. One of the ladies that attended our screening was so amazed at how easy it was for her to come in and get her mammogram and exam. Upon returning to work, she encountered one of her co-workers and asked her, “Just how long has it been since you had your last mammogram?” The lady replied that she could not even remem- ber when she last had one. So, her friend insisted she go with her back to our screening and she was going to pay for her mammo- gram and she wouldn’t take no for an answer. Cindy Manning is a case manager with the Seton Cancer Screening and Early Detection program. She been an oncology nurse in Austin for 25 years, and is a member of Cancer Connection’s Board of Directors. She is respon- sible for case managing patients from first detection all the way through diagnosis and treatment. Imagine... Mammograms & Miracles by Emmett Skiles, M.A. Program Director at Cancer Connection. We were featured on the news in a live interview with Paul Brown of cable channel News8, which is now available for viewing on our website at: www.thecancerconnection.org. Other plans for outreach efforts include: speaking to employees of large companies (brown-bag lunches), speaking to nurses and other health care profes- sionals, exhibiting at health fairs, and sending quarterly in- formation packets to area faith organizations. If you have more ideas, or other resources to help us spread the word about what we do, please e-mail me at: emmett@thecancerconnection. org. Together, we can make our own unique contribution to making someone else’s journey through cancer a little easier. She did bring her the following day and we worked her into the schedule. Her screening mammogram came back very suspicious and more diagnostic views were ordered. A mass in the left breast was then biopsied and the results were posi- tive for breast cancer. We then enrolled her into the Medical Assistance Program that is available for patients working with the Seton Cancer Care Team. This program puts the patient in touch with valu- able resources such as social services, financial assistance, and help with medications management. She was soon scheduled for a complete mastectomy with reconstruction. Thankfully, her axillary nodes were negative. She can expect a 98% full recovery!! I saw her at her recent post-op checkup and we reminisced on all that had trans- pired. I said, “You know, your girlfriend truly saved your life.” This story demonstrates how each one of us can be that “somebody” who encourages, reminds, or insists that those we know and care about get that mammogram, colonoscopy, PSA, or have that strange mole examined, etc. Just imagine, there are miracles out there waiting for us to uncover, and we can make such a huge difference for someone’s life!
  5. 5. 5The Inspirer l Volume II l Issue 4 l October 2007 For the Love of Caregiving This article is part 2 of a series of 3 by Lisa McCafferty, MAC, NCC, LPC-I A family member’s cancer diagnosis precipitates a storm of emotion; people feel shocked, numb, angry, paralyzed, and confused. These emotions spread in waves to family and friends. As families and social circles adapt to treatment regimens, pain management, doctor visits, and abbreviated friendships, families experience high levels of stress. This may be the ultimate test of a family’s cohesion and commitment. Families with pre-existing psychosocial problems—drug abuse, children with behavior or learning disabilities, employment instability, financial problems, or marital strife, now have their coping skills stretched to their limits. While all major transitions are hard to families, cancer seems to be particularly disruptive. One reason is the physical impact on the patients. Individuals who were once robust and healthy are now at the mercy of both the disease and the treatment. Such changes ultimately have a profound impact on the patient’s feel- ings of self-identification and self-worth. Second, cancer puts a family’s future plans on hold. All family members experience shock, fear, and uncertainty about the fu- ture. This is especially stressful when a parent is ill, and the prog- nosis and duration of treatment is simply unknown. Anxiety rises, and can ultimately cause depression in the patient or caretakers. Socially, families dealing with cancer nearly always experience a disruption of normal relationships, as they become more isolated. And finally, practical aspects of daily life become severe hassles, such as laundry, housecleaning, cooking, and child care—how do you get all that done while caring for a sick spouse 24/7? The result is that both patients and caregivers may experience rapidly shifting moods. Their emotions may feel like a rollercoast- er: optimistic one minute, then enraged, then ready to cry. The most difficult feelings to face are anger, guilt, sadness, and fear. You may be ashamed to have them. But these feelings are part of the coping process, and it’s best to address them directly, while keeping the lines of communication open to and from each family member. If things get to be too much, consult a friend, a support group, or a counselor. Difficult emotions can’t be willed away, but they can be coped with and calmed. It’s exceptionally encourag- ing to meet other families who have had similar experiences. People with cancer and their caregivers tend to want to protect each other from their worries. But talking things through may help you understand each other, reduce your isolation and stress from holding back, and allow you to work together on shared anxieties. Fortunately there are resources to help. One of the very best is right in your hand. Lisa McCafferty is an LPC-I in private practice. She has extensive personal experience as a caregiver for cancer survivors and the elderly, having taken on the role in 1970 when her father was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. She can be reached at lisamc.lpc@yahoo.com Cancer Connection/LiveSTRONG Hospital Visitation Program Continues Growth The Cancer Connection/LiveSTRONG Hospital Visitation Program continues to expand, as Cancer Connection volunteers will soon be found in St. David’s Round Rock Medical Center and Seton Medical Center. Both volunteer opportunities will allow for volun- teers to visit patients and their family members on nights and weekends to accommodate our volunteers that work a more tradi- tional schedule. Likewise, the additional training required for each location is minimal. With the addition of these two hospitals, our volunteers are now in service in four area hospitals. Not only are we excited about the launch of these additional hospital locations, but also our community partners at these hos- pitals are eagerly anticipating volunteer placement at their hospitals. Leigh Goldstein, MSN, RN, ONC, clinical educator at Round Rock Medical Center stated,“We are very excited about the relationship we have formed with the Cancer Connection volunteers. The emotional support given to our patients by these volunteers will reduce the fear and uncertainty faced by anyone diagnosed with cancer. With their support for cancer nursing and patient care, Round Rock Medical Center will be delivering the most com- prehensive, exceptional cancer care to every patient everyday.” If you are interested in these exciting opportunities please email brandon@thecancerconnection.org.
  6. 6. 6 The Inspirer l Volume II l Issue 4 l October 2007 Volunteer Training: Where the Connection Begins I t has been over six months since I began as the Volunteer Coordinator for Cancer Connection. In this excit- ing and relatively short time we have trained nearly 50 additional volunteers, and have continued to offer new and exciting ways of volunteering through our one-on-one matching program, and our ever-expanding visitation programs in area hospitals and oncology centers. Prior to volunteer service, all volun- teers and staff experience a 10-hour, weekend training. While we call them “trainings,” these weekends are structured much more like “retreats, “ allowing a room of mostly strang- ers to connect through shared cancer experiences, reflecting on their own cancer journey and the unique place they are in to give back to others fac- ing cancer. Trainings begin on Friday evenings, as members of the class introduce themselves and begin to share their cancer story with their fellow classmates. In- cluded in the eve- ning’s activities, the class hears from a former care-receiver and a current volunteer who share of the impact Cancer Connection has made in their lives. Ultimately, Friday evening’s activities help set the stage for a weekend of learning, reflection, and sharing. Training resumes on Saturday morn- ing, where we are fortunate to have an oncology professional share their unique perspective of the cancer jour- ney. Previous trainings have included doctors, nurses, and pharmacists from Southwest Regional Cancer Center and Texas Oncology. A lively discussion generally ensues regarding how the work of a Cancer Connection volunteer can intersect in the lives of the care-receivers they serve in relation to healthy communi- cation with their medical team. Throughout the rest of the day, Cancer Con- nection staff present on a variety of topics including: Integrative Models for Cancer Treatment and Support, Issues of Faith, and Active Listening. Woven throughout the day are times of small group discussion, allow- ing group members the chance to model some active listening tools and other skills they have learned during the weekend. At training’s end, our newly minted volunteers are able to select the areas of volunteer service in which they wish to participate. These service opportuni- ties are increasingly expanding, with new hospital visitation programs forming at St. David’s Round Rock Medical Center and Seton Medical Center and continued oncol- ogy center visitation at Texas Oncology Balcones and Southwest Regional Cancer Center. Beginning in October of 2007, a new visitation program will begin at Texas by Brandon Wollerson, LMSW Oncology’s South Austin Cancer Center. When I completed my own volunteer training in February of this year (be- fore my job actually began), I knew I had become part of an organization that genuinely cares about the popu- lations it serves: cancer patients and their family members, and those vol- unteers seeking meaningful service opportunities. As we connect these two groups, we help to ensure that no one faces cancer alone. Clockwise from top: First Cancer Connection Training Class- (L to R) Katie Greif, Denise Edmiston, Pat Robinson, Julie Johnson, Jane Oderberg, Hazel Clark, Kim Bergeron, Johnny Reyes, Stella Ferris SWRCC Pharmacist Carla Portnoy addresses training class Volunteers share in small group breakout sessions REMAINING TRAINING SESSIONS October 19-20 November 30-December 1 Apply online at www.thecancerconnection.org, or call Brandon at 342-0233 for more information.
  7. 7. The Inspirer l Volume II l Issue 4 l October 2007 Name _________________________________________ Phone ________________________ Address ______________________________________________________________________ City ___________________________________ State ________ Zip ________________ p I would like to be contacted about becoming a Cancer Connection volunteer. p I would like to be matched with a Cancer Connection volunteer. To Donate: p I would like to contribute $_______ to the mission of Cancer Connection. My gift is in Memory/Honor of: ______________________________________________ Please notify: Name: ___________________________________________________________ Address: _________________________________________________________ City: _________________________ State: ________ Zip: _________________ Additional ways to give: p I have enclosed my company’s matching gift form. p I would like information on how to include Cancer Connection in my will or estate planning. Please make check payable to: Cancer Connection PO Box 29871, Austin, TX 78731 Cancer Connection is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization. All gifts are tax deductible and are gratefully accepted. & If you would like to request our services, receive information, volunteer your time and talents, or make a donation, please complete the form below and return it by mail in the envelope provided in this newsletter. Volunteer Spotlight Back in March of this year I began looking for a way to resume my volunteer activities in Austin’s non- profit cancer community. It had been 9 years since my late husband, Ned Stark, passed away while battling colon cancer. After his death, I became very in- volved in volunteer health-care activities. But in 2001, I remarried which led to new interests and demands on my time. Now, with only my husband, myself, two dogs and a cat living in our house full-time, I felt a renewed urge to help---and I found the perfect avenue through Cancer Connec- tion’s mentoring programs. Cancer Connection offers a one-on-one matching program for survivors and care- givers. I was very excited when Emmett Skiles notified me that he had my first “match”—a woman in Austin whose hus- band had recently been diagnosed with lung cancer and who wanted to talk to someone who had walked a similar path. Susie and I spoke first by phone, talking for well over an hour. Since then we’ve met over Sunday morning beverages every cou- ple of weeks, sharing our lives, our histories, our thoughts, our fears, and our hopes. I’m also fortunate to participate in Cancer Connection’s new hospital visitation pro- gram at St. David’s South Austin Hospital. We have a care-cart filled with helpful items for hospitalized cancer survivors and their caregivers which we bring to them in their hospital rooms. While visiting, we hand out materials, answer questions, and basically just let these folks lay their eyes on some- one who has confronted cancer and come out the other side. My developing friendship with Susie and my hours at St. David’s South Austin Hospi- tal are incredibly meaningful to me. I hope that, by giving of my time and experience, I can somehow be a small “star in the dark- ness”for the people I meet through Cancer Connection. --Charlsa Bentley, Volunteer Care Receiver Spotlight My introduction to Cancer Connection was at a time of bewilderment and shock. My partner, Pat Tiemann, was diagnosed with Stage IV stomach cancer in April 2007. Neither of us could comprehend how Pat’s health and life could be in such sudden jeopardy. After a phone call to Cancer Con- nection, Emmett sent a volunteer, Deanna Cochran, to talk to us. Deanna had cared for her mother, who had a similar type of cancer, just two years previously. Although it was Deanna’s first experience as a Cancer Connection volunteer, she helped us to understand what to expect and how we might start to cope. In addition, Deanna is an R.N. with a background in hospice care. She immediately helped us get Pat enrolled in hospice ser- vices, which was a true blessing. She spent hours with me doing the necessary paperwork and contacting insurance companies. At the same time, I began attending Cancer Connection’s support group for caregivers and found help and strength by sharing with others in similar situations. Pat’s cancer was especially virulent, as Deanna’s mother’s had been, and Pat lived only two more months. While I struggle to recover from this inconceivable loss, the wonderful people I met at Cancer Connection are still making me feel supported. Our battle was unfortunately short and excruciatingly difficult, but Cancer Connection gave us direction and compassion that made it manageable. Deepest and sincerest thanks! --- Stan Wilson, Care Receiver To help Cancer Connection continue its mission... 7
  8. 8. Meals Delivered to Breast Cancer Patients NONPROFIT ORG US POSTAGE PAID AUSTIN TX PERMIT NO. PI 934 Earlier this year, Cancer Connection was asked to become a member of a collaborative venture called the Breast Cancer Service committee. It is a dedicated group of survivors, service and medical providers, community volunteers, and local business entrepreneurs whose goal is to address the critical needs of breast cancer patients after diagnosis. Access to nutritional meals was identified as the first gap in services to address. A pilot program was started in July to deliver groceries and prepared meals to women with breast cancer, and their families. The service providers who serve on the committee were asked to nominate a family that they work with, and Cancer Connection nominated one of their care-receivers, a woman named Kerstin Arnold. “I was so grateful for the meals project because it provided delicious and nourishing meals for me and my eight year old son when we needed it the most”, said Kerstin. “It also gave me one less thing to worry about during a difficult time PO Box 29871 Austin, TX 78731 512.342.0233 www.thecancerconnection.org RETURN SERVICE REQUESTED DATED MATERIAL Board of Directors Rev. Dr. Karen Greif Co-founder, Board Chair Bill Greif, M.A. Co-founder, Board Vice-Chair Laura Davidson-Albachten Denise Edmiston, LCSW Gail Hurt Cindy Manning, R.N. Patti Simmons n n n n n n n after my bilateral mastectomy. In the first couple of weeks, my mom came over and prepared the meals for me because I wasn’t able to do it on my own yet. Once I was able to get the meals together myself, it made things so much easier for me. I didn’t have to worry about planning our meals, figuring out what to cook, doing the grocery shopping, and then actually preparing and cooking the meals. And espe- cially since I couldn’t drive or lift anything heavy for a few weeks, these tasks would not have been easy! Everything was awesome. They had a great variety in both the prepared meals and the gro- ceries. I can’t express how much we appreciated it.” According to Emmett Skiles, who serves on the Breast Cancer Service committee, “The timing could not have been better in this particular case. Kerstin had recently been scheduled for her surgery when I first contacted her. And it just so happened that we were able to start delivering meals to her the next day after she returned home from MD Anderson.”

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