CancerCare was honored to participate in the New York City chapter of Phi Beta Kappa’s 1st Annual Back to School Special Networking Event as a recipient of donated school supplies for children and teens affected by cancer. The event was a tremendous success, with each attending member of the national academic honor society bringing with them supplies for children and teens going back to school.
Phi Beta Kappa “Back to School” Drive Collects Donated School Supplies for Children and Teens Affected by CancerOctober 25, 2013
Fifteen leading advocacy organizations and cancer charities, including CancerCare, have joined together to form the Metastatic Breast Cancer Alliance, with the vision of transforming and improving the lives of women and men living with metastatic breast cancer.
The alliance aims to unify the efforts of its members and to increase awareness and education while advancing research and policy – efforts for metastatic breast cancer that have the potential to extend life, enhance quality of life and ultimately find a cure. Learn more about the Metastatic Breast Cancer Alliance at http://www.MBCAlliance.org/.
CancerCare provides a comprehensive network of services for people coping with metastatic breast cancer, including our recent Connect Education Workshop, Living with Metastatic Breast Cancer. Listen to the workshop as a free podcast.
CancerCare’s services also include free support groups for people coping with metastatic breast cancer, available over the telephone and online. We also currently offer an online support group for people facing any type of breast cancer.
Learn more about our free services for people affected by breast cancer, including counseling, publications and breast prosthesis clinics and other community programs for people living in New York City, New Jersey and Connecticut.
Starting September 28, Caribou Coffee, one of the leading branded coffee companies will offer a special Caribou Coffee Amy’s Blend collection of coffee, tea and merchandise to support CancerCare’s free, professional services. The collection honors Caribou’s original roastmaster and friend, Amy Erickson, who passed away from breast cancer. CancerCare supporters can pay tribute to Amy and those impacted by breast cancer by purchasing any item from the Caribou Coffee Amy’s Blend collection in Caribou stores and online September 28 through October 31.
For the second year in a row, Caribou will donate 10 percent of all retail coffeehouse proceeds from the collection directly to CancerCare. Last year’s partnership helped raise $250,000 in support of people coping with breast cancer—the largest amount raised in the 17-year history of Caribou Coffee Amy’s Blend program!
This year, the coffee will also be available on the shelves of select Caribou grocery stores throughout the country. For every 11 oz. bag of Caribou Coffee Amy’s Blend sold in grocery stores, an additional $0.50 will be donated to CancerCare, with a total minimum donation of $100,000 and maximum donation of $250,000.
The 2013 Caribou Coffee Amy’s Blend collection was created to include not only exclusive hot and cold drinkware, but also accessories such as an infinity scarf, lip gloss, hair ties and a pen, in addition to the coffee and tea. And, supporters who purchase the new, limited-edition Caribou Coffee Amy’s Blend hot tumbler starting September 28 will receive unlimited coffee refills at any Caribou location for the entire month of October.
Caribou and CancerCare are also providing warmth to those in need through an innovative social media campaign, “CaribouKnits.” For every message shared using #CaribouKnits on Facebook or Twitter from September 28 through October 31, Caribou team member volunteers will knit one inch of a scarf. All scarves will be donated to CancerCare to provide warmth to those coping with breast cancer in the Caribou communities.
September is Blood Cancer Awareness Month, and September 12, 2013 marked the first national MPN Awareness Day. “MPN” stands for myeloproliferative neoplasms, a group of blood cancers including myelofibrosis, polycythemia vera and thrombocythemia. Because these diagnoses are relatively rare, many people are unfamiliar with MPN.
Voices of MPNTM was created to promote greater awareness of MPN. The initiative builds on the belief that raising the voices of those with MPNs will shine a light on these rare diagnoses to encourage unity, connection and support for people affected by MPNs.
Living with a rare condition can cause people to feel isolated and alone. Voices of MPN strives to help people cope with feelings of isolation by encouraging people to create a community to raise awareness and share their personal experiences. The cornerstone of the Voices of MPN initiative is the website http://www.voicesofmpn.com, which links individuals affected by MPNs to information, educational programs and community engagement activities and resources.
Join MPN advocates in promoting awareness and empowering people living with MPNs to raise their voices and form a community of advocacy. Visit www.voicesofmpn.com to learn more.
CancerCare provides free services for people coping with any cancer diagnosis, including blood cancers. Learn more about how we help people with leukemia, lymphoma, multiple myeloma, myelofibrosis, myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) and rare cancers.
A new report released by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) this week, Delivering High-Quality Cancer Care: Charting a New Course for a System in Crisis, is changing the conversation about cancer patient care.
The report documents how the current health care system fails to adequately address patients’ needs, leading to poorer outcomes and quality of life. It also provides recommendations in six areas for improving patient care:
- Engaging patients to make more informed choices about their care
- Having an adequately staffed, trained and coordinated workforce
- Providing evidence-based care
- Learning health care information technology (IT)
- Translating evidence into clinical practice, quality measurement and performance improvement
- Offering accessible and affordable care
This breakthrough report reaffirms IOM’s recommendation that health care professionals address patients’ “psychosocial” (practical, financial and emotional) concerns, along with medical needs, in order to provide the most comprehensive care.
CancerCare has long been looked to as the leading organization advocating the importance of psychosocial cancer care, and was instrumental in crafting recommendations for the IOM’s landmark 2007 report, “Cancer Care for the Whole Patient: Meeting Psychosocial Health Needs.”
The findings from that report, as well as from this most recent report, illustrate the crucial importance of providing care addressing patients’ myriad needs. CancerCare applauds the IOM for continuing to advocate for comprehensive patient care going beyond simply treating the disease.
Amy J. Berman, Senior Program Officer at the Hartford Foundation and celebrated health care blogger, provides a clear and concise rundown of the report on the Hartford Foundation’s blog, Health AGEenda. Amy also provided testimony, served as a reviewer for the report, and is included in the accompanying IOM video clip, which you can watch below.
Being told that you have breast cancer or watching as a love one receives this diagnosis can turn your world upside down. Facing important medical decisions and managing difficult emotions can sometimes be overwhelming to everyone involved. But for many families, it is the tremendous financial cost of cancer treatment that presents the greatest challenge.
The financial impact of a cancer diagnosis is oftentimes overlooked and under-discussed. The inability to go to work and provide for one’s family, paired with medical and practical costs, can result in patients feeling lost and unsure of where to turn for help.
Donna came to CancerCare after she was diagnosed with breast cancer and facing a financial crisis. “I was overwhelmed with emotions, questions, concerns, and yes, sometimes fear. Because I was laid off from my job just short of a year before being diagnosed with aggressive stage-II cancer, I had nowhere else to go, since my treatments were overwhelming and left me with no energy to work. CancerCare came through for me, helping me to attend my daily radiation treatments that extended for seven weeks.”
Since 2000, The Avon Foundation for Women has generously supported CancerCare‘s financial assistance services, educational programs and publications for underserved women facing breast cancer. AVONCares, a partnership between CancerCare and the Avon Foundation for Women, provides limited financial assistance to underserved women for homecare, child care and transportation. Over the past 13 years of our partnership, the Avon Foundation has provided more than $20,000,000 to more than 65,000 women from all 50 states.
Remember to reach out for support—medical debt can cause emotional stress, but there are resources available to provide relief. Learn more about CancerCare’s financial assistance services, and view all of our support services for people affected by breast cancer, including counseling, support groups and education.
Support for CancerCare and the Avon Cares program is made possible by funds raised through the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer series. For more information, visit www.avonwalk.org.
For the seventh consecutive year, sisters Joann and Diana hosted “Ices for Andrea” to raise funds for CancerCare. The fundraiser was held in memory of their mother Andrea, who died of breast cancer in 2007.
After her passing, Joann and her sons attended weekly counseling sessions at CancerCare. “They gave me the tools to start getting my life back, start parenting again and speak of my mom without being hysterical.”
In an effort to give back to the organization that helped them through their cancer journey, the sisters created “Ices for Andrea” on the first anniversary of their mother’s passing. As a tribute the sisters decided to sell Italian ices, Andrea’s favorite dessert, and donate all proceeds to CancerCare’s free professional services. Thanks to an outpouring of support from their community, this year’s event raised an astounding $10,150 for people affected by cancer.
Counseling for cancer patients, caregivers and loved ones is available over the telephone no matter where you live in the U.S. or in person at our offices in New York City, Long Island, New Jersey, and Connecticut.
CancerCare’s staff of professional oncology social workers provide support, information and resources to help you better cope with cancer. Learn more about our counseling services.
Caregivers provide important emotional and physical care for a person with cancer. Their responsibilities may include helping a loved one with daily activities such as getting to the doctor or preparing meals. They may also be tasked with managing finances and paperwork while keeping up with day-to-day family and work responsibilities.
Many times, friends and community members want to help, but are unsure of where to begin.
MyCancerCircle.net is an online tool created by Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals in collaboration with CancerCare to help caregivers create their own community of support. The tool allows caregivers to coordinate volunteer activities such as cooking meals or transporting a loved one to appointments. My Cancer Circle also provides a private space where members can offer words of support and encouragement.
To learn more about My Cancer Circle™ or to create a community to support a loved one facing cancer, visit www.MyCancerCircle.net.
Learn how to create a community of support from leading experts by listening to the podcast “My Cancer Circle: A Support Network for Caregivers.”
CancerCare provides free services specifically for caregivers, including support groups (available face to face, over the phone, and online), publications and Connect Education Workshops.
View all of CancerCare’s free services for caregivers. My Cancer Circle is a trademark of Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
Young adults in their 20s and 30s can undoubtedly feel overwhelmed when a parent is diagnosed with cancer. Many have limited experience with caregiving, and may feel unprepared for their new role. And young adult caregivers who have relocated far from home to pursue a career or start a family may face even more challenges.
Ultimately, the question many young adults providing care from a distance grapple with is, “Should I stay or should I go?” It’s a difficult choice to make: Young adults may end up feeing guilty if they choose to “stay” in their current location, or feel obligated to “go” while making difficult sacrifices.
The decision to provide care from a distance or relocate closer to home to care for a parent often leads to feelings of uncertainty and isolation. For some young adults, relocation may not be financially feasible. Social and cultural demands to take an active role in caring for parents may also add feelings of pressure and stress. And caregiving, whether locally or from a long distance, can also drastically impact intimacy and relationships, as well as children and family life.
Young adults who must contend with competing commitments and responsibilities often feel that their busy lives are barriers to getting support. That’s why, for many young adult caregivers, and indeed anyone coping with a cancer diagnosis, online support groups are an ideal option for sharing difficult feelings with peers in a similar situation.
Professionally led, age-specific groups such as CancerCare’s Young Adult Caregivers Online Support Group offer a safe space for group members to share experiences and feel part of a virtual community of support. Online groups allow for flexibility, as members can share their thoughts and feelings and offer advice and support at any time from anywhere with an internet connection.
Many young adults caring for a parent with cancer find these groups to be incredibly rewarding experiences that help them define and make sense of their new role. CancerCare’s specialized services can ultimately reduce distress and enhance the coping of young adult caregivers as they consider whether to stay or to go.
Author: Carly Mesavitz, LMSW, Oncology Social Worker, CancerCare
After being deeply impacted by cancer at such a young age, 13-year-old Maddy has become a courageous advocate for CancerCare’s free professional services available to anyone affected by cancer.
Maddy began coming to CancerCare for emotional support at the age of six after her mother, Alyssa, was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer. “It was important for me to be at CancerCare, because if not, I would have let my nerves and feelings get the best of me,” explained Maddy. “My mom started losing her hair and got a wig. At first I didn’t understand why, but CancerCare once again came to the rescue. They explained to me about the medicine in her body and how it made her lose her hair.”
In December 2006, Alyssa passed away. Maddy and her brother continued coming to CancerCare to learn how to cope with their loss and their father joined a weekly bereavement group.
Determined to give back to the organization that helped her family through their most challenging times, Maddy dedicated her Bat Mitzvah project to providing hope to CancerCare clients. “Because of my experience, I know a lot about cancer. I wanted to contribute my time to talking to or working with children,” she said.
She currently volunteers at the CancerCare New Jersey office each week helping to prepare for the annual Healing Hearts Bereavement Camp. One of her passion projects involves creating a memory lane path where the children can add their fondest memories of a lost loved one. She has also raised over $1,500 by selling CancerCare bracelets and collecting donations through her family’s “Hearts of Gold” walking team.
Maddy continues to inspire CancerCare staff and clients each day with her desire to provide others with help and hope in the face of cancer.