Families Remember Loved Ones at CancerCare’s Healing Hearts Bereavement Camp

June 26, 2014

 

Thirty families recently joined together to spend the weekend at CancerCare’s Healing Hearts Bereavement Camp – a retreat for those coping with the loss of a loved one to cancer. The camp combines fun activities such as swimming and horseback riding with therapeutic grief activities.

“The camp is a place where the families can come together and not feel different. They meet others who have experienced a similar loss and they don’t have to explain anything to one another; they can just come together and have fun,” said Kathy Nugent, MSW, LCSW, CancerCare director of social service. “There are a lot of tears, but there is also so much laughter. They’ve all found new friends – people that understand. Our hope is that they all made a lasting connection.”

This year’s camp featured a butterfly theme, focusing on metamorphosis and healing. Families were given the opportunity to create butterfly collages honoring their loved ones and ended the weekend with a ceremonial butterfly release.

The sixth annual camp was held at Malibu Dude Ranch in Milford, PA from June 13 through June 15. The free retreat was made possible by our dedicated supporters at Eisai.

You can view more photos from the Healing Hearts Bereavement Camp or watch a video of the song, “Fly Butterfly Fly,” written and performed by Meaghan Farrell, Andy McNamara and teens at the camp.

 


Celebrating 70 Years of Service with our Founding Family

June 11, 2014

CancerCare‘s founding family

As CancerCare celebrates 70 years of providing help and hope to anyone affected by cancer, we feel it is important to reflect on where it all began and to honor the vision of our founding family.

Julius Jay Perlmutter, a lifelong philanthropist, experienced the devastating impact of cancer firsthand when his parents were both diagnosed and lost their lives thirteen weeks apart in 1938. In attempting to get quality care for his parents, Julius quickly learned that no facilities existed to help middle-class patients with advanced cancer.

This experience motivated Julius to create CancerCare, a nonprofit organization that would help people diagnosed with cancer and their families by accepting patient referrals and providing a low-cost private room and bath.

“It is so important for people to know that CancerCare is out there and that information is available, that help is available. CancerCare has helped millions of people financially,” said Julius’ daughter, Regina Goldstein.

Regina Goldstein, daughter of CancerCare founder Julius Jay Perlmutter

All of us at CancerCare are grateful to Julius Jay Perlmutter and his family for their commitment to giving back to those in need. It is a testament to his long-term vision that CancerCare continues to expand our services as our clients are faced with new financial and practical challenges. Much has changed since 1944, but our mission remains the same: to provide help and hope to anyone affected by cancer.


CancerCare Social Workers Shine at the AOSW Annual Conference

June 5, 2014

Allison Nilsen, LMSW presenting at AOSW

A dynamic team of six CancerCare oncology social work team members presented at this year’s Association of Oncology Social Work (AOSW) Annual Conference. AOSW is a non-profit, international organization dedicated to the enhancement of psychosocial services to people with cancer and their families.

More than 500 oncology social work professionals gathered in Baltimore, Maryland for the conference on May 28-30, 2014. CancerCare presenters included Maria Chi, LCSW; Elizabeth Ezra, LCSW, OSW-C; William Goeren, LCSW-R; Carly Mesavitz, LCSW, OSW-C; Carolyn Messner, DSW, OSW-C, LCSW-R and Allison Nilsen, LMSW.

CancerCare presentations and posters were given on a variety of topics, including:

• Feeling Whole Again: The Role of Social Work Intervention During a Wig and Breast Prosthesis Fitting

• Finding Hope Beyond the Pall of a Pancreatic Cancer Diagnosis: What Can We Do to Help?

• Oncology Social Work Field Education: An Insider’s Perspective

• Support Group for Older Gay Men with Cancer – Clinical Issues and Overview

• Training the Next Generation of Leaders in Oncology Social Work

Elizabeth Ezra, LCSW, OSW-C presents on pancreatic cancer

Created in 1984 by social workers interested in oncology and by existing national cancer organizations, AOSW is an expanding force of psychosocial oncology professionals. The annual meeting serves as a wonderful opportunity to advance the field of oncology social work, as well as to highlight the important work conducted by CancerCare’s social workers.

 

 

 

 

 


Coping with Lung Cancer: Arlene’s Story

May 27, 2014

Arlene visiting the CancerCare Wig Clinic

During a routine annual check-up with her physician, Arlene C. learned that after 15 years in remission, her lung cancer had returned. “The cancer had come back – an aggressive one. Surgery and chemo. That’s when it all began,” shared Arlene.

Arlene knew that chemo meant she would likely lose her hair and she wanted to prepare herself for the physical change and the accompanying emotions she might experience. Her daughter-in-law mentioned that CancerCare had resources that could help.

After making an appointment at the New York City-based CancerCare Wig Clinic, Arlene and a friend met with an oncology social worker to discuss her treatment and the challenges she was facing. She was also fitted for her new wig and given a care package to help her through the next few months.

“I went to CancerCare and was treated royally,” said Arlene. “I was expecting the hair loss, but it was still a shock to my system. But I didn’t make myself or anyone else nuts over it and, before I turned around, I had hair again.”

Arlene was touched by the care she received and made a donation to the organization and wrote a poem about her experience. “I made a donation in honor of the CancerCare staff who just made my day in many ways with their caring and comfort.”

 

“Daze of Chemo”

By Arlene C.

The doctor called, “We have to talk”

I set the date to learn my fate

Aggressive cancer

Surgery then chemo

The next step was to embark with my children Susan and Mark

Where to go for my chemo?

Mark thought I should be closer to him in Sag Harbor for treatments

But we let that rest and went with the alternative that was best

The calendar was marked for the days, the hours, but not my mind or body

Mark and Susan were with me all the way

I made a promise I couldn’t sway or betray

Where do I begin?

The daze of chemo was upon me

I was never good at acting

But in the end I knew I was going to win a trophy as the best robot

Where do I begin?

My battle began with anxiety, brain loss – especially names

Stomach problems, low blood pressure

All of this caused by the very strong dosage given

However they changed the recipe and I was cooking again

And then the crowing glory

I lost all my hair

Susan bought me a hat

CancerCare gave me a wig

And I amassed some turbans, etc.

Everyday became a chore

Trying to match headwear with outfits

The one good perk was I didn’t have to buy shampoo

Six months later, after two PET scans, I’m clean

Is there anything else to do but thank God and all my friends that prayed for me?

Not done yet

I had my own unveiling

Tossed the turbans, etc. and showed my head off

Everyone loved my new hair do

I truly felt I went from being a robot to queen for a day

 


Grant from The Horizon Foundation For New Jersey will Bring Cancer Services to Underserved Populations

May 20, 2014

 

 

CancerCare has received a $35,000 grant from The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey. The grant will fund CancerCare’s project, Early Detection and Education Program for Underserved Individuals in Newark.

The project aims to bring professional services to the local community and raise awareness on the importance of screening for breast, cervical, colon and prostate cancers. Free educational workshops, led by Spanish-speaking social workers, will be provided throughout Newark and the surrounding Essex County areas.

On-site cancer screenings will be available at select sites. Participants will also have direct access to CancerCare’s professional support services, including financial assistance and counseling.

“The need for expert, no cost cancer prevention and early detection services is growing. Through this generous grant from The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey, CancerCare will be able to effectively reach even more underserved populations,” said CancerCare CEO Patricia J. Goldsmith. “A growing body of evidence demonstrates that a lack of knowledge about cancer risk factors can hinder early diagnosis. Early diagnosis leads to the best possible outcomes at the lowest cost. This project will allow our organization to bring critical information and services to hundreds of individuals in the community that might otherwise face a diagnosis without much needed support services.”

CancerCare’s continued partnership with The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey will address language, cultural and psychological barriers that traditionally prevent underserved individuals from obtaining regular cancer screenings.

“We are delighted to support CancerCare,” said Jonathan R. Pearson, Executive Director of The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey. “The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey is dedicated to supporting charitable organizations making an impact in the lives of people across New Jersey.”

For more information about the Foundation visit www.HorizonBlue.com/foundation.

 

 


Coping with Cancer in the Workplace

May 13, 2014


Recent medical advances are allowing more and more people coping with cancer to continue working during and after treatment. The workplace can be a supportive environment for people facing a cancer diagnosis; it can contribute to a sense of normalcy and provide a feeling of community, not to mention financial stability and health insurance benefits.

For many people who want to continue to work during and after treatment, the issue of disclosure looms large in their minds. Some may worry that they will be seen as a liability to their employer and perhaps be terminated from their position if they open up about their diagnosis. Others may fear that they will encounter subtle discrimination.

As an oncology social worker at CancerCare, I encourage clients who decide to tell their employers about their cancer to learn as much as possible about their diagnosis and treatment schedule before discussing it. Presenting a plan of action to their supervisor will not only help people feel more in control of their diagnosis, it may help ease the supervisor’s or coworkers’ concerns about how work will keep moving forward as the patient copes with his or her diagnosis.

Part of returning to work after an illness is immersing oneself back into the identity you had before treatment. I encourage people to take control of conversations that become about their cancer by acknowledging their colleague’s comment and then immediately focusing back to work specific topics. This is called “re-casting” or resetting your professional image.

There are many available resources that can help people coping with cancer in the workplace. CancerCare provides free resources on workplace issuesCancer and Careers is another excellent resource for information about coping with cancer in the workplace.

 

Our guest blogger is Anna L. Eckhardt, LCSW, coordinator of online services at CancerCare.         

 

 


Greenwich 5K Walk/Run for Hope Raises over $40,000 for Anyone Affected by Cancer

May 6, 2014

Top fundraiser Sophie Khanna

Dedicated CancerCare supporters laced up to raise more than $40,000 at the Second Annual Walk/Run for Hope at Greenwich Point in Greenwich, CT on May 4, 2014.

The community-based event brought together friends and families to walk or run in memory of those they have lost to cancer, honor survivors and support those who are currently facing the disease.

Top-fundraiser and advocate Sophie Khanna, age 14 of Greenwich, raised $10,685 for the organization. “I was looking for a run to do and I saw CancerCare,” said Sophie. “My grandma suffered from cancer. Luckily she survived it and I just want to help people around who suffer from cancer.”

CancerCare client and advocate Margie Benefico, of Stamford, began meeting with a CancerCare social worker after she was diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) six months ago. After learning about the walk, she formed a team of 55 members called ‘The Lymphomaniacs’ and raised $5,410.

“From the first time I called CancerCare, they were very warm and welcoming. They helped me to talk things through – like getting a second opinion and tolerating the chemo. I hope to be involved with CancerCare for many years to come and to help others find the services that they gave to me.”

“CancerCare is there to provide free services to those dealing with a cancer diagnosis,” said Connecticut State Representative, House District 151, Fred Camillo. “I know from personal experience that facing this illness can be overwhelming, but an organization like CancerCare makes certain that you won’t have to do so alone.”

Walkers and runners of all levels and ages participated in the event. Visit www.cancercare.org/walkgreenwich to see the top fundraisers and race results and see the event photos at http://ow.ly/wyfJ4.

“Thank you to all of the dedicated walkers, runners and volunteers who made this year’s Walk/Run for Hope a huge success,” said CancerCare Connecticut Office Regional Director Sandra Tripodi, LCSW, ACSW. “As a native of Greenwich, it gives me great pleasure to be working with local supporters to raise awareness and funds for CancerCare’s free programs and financial assistance to anyone affected by a diagnosis of cancer.”

 


CancerCare Welcomes New CEO, Patricia Goldsmith

May 2, 2014

As CancerCare celebrates the 70th anniversary of its founding, we are pleased to welcome oncology leader Patricia Goldsmith as the new Chief Executive Officer.

“As CancerCare marks seven decades of helping the cancer community, we are thrilled to have found an exceptional leader in Patricia Goldsmith,” said CancerCare National Board of Trustees President Susan Smirnoff. “Patricia is a dynamic oncology visionary with an outstanding record of achievement, and we look forward to expanding CancerCare’s service offerings under her leadership.”

Patricia brings more than 20 years of nonprofit management and strategic planning experience to her new role, and has a proven track record of success in hospital and physician academic organizations, as well as nongovernmental health care organizations. She previously served as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN), an alliance of 25 of the world’s leading cancer centers devoted to patient care, research and education. In this role, she was responsible for overall operations and provided oversight for a multitude of programs and national initiatives.

Prior to joining NCCN, she was Vice President for Institutional Development, Public Affairs and Marketing at the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute, the only Florida-based National Cancer Institute-Comprehensive Cancer Center.

“CancerCare is a remarkable organization that does so much good for so many,” said incoming CEO Patricia Goldsmith. “As the leading social service organization in cancer, CancerCare is well-positioned to support the coming changes in our health care system directly relating to the psychosocial and financial effects of diagnosis, treatment and survivorship. I have admired the organization for many years and am honored to have been chosen to become the next CEO. I look forward to working with the talented staff and Board of Trustees to achieve even greater success in the coming decade.”

 


CancerCare Celebrates 70 Years and Raises Over One Million Dollars at Anniversary Gala

April 29, 2014

Journalist and Advocate Katie Couric; Junior Philanthropist Maddy Gold; and Chef David Burke at the Gala.

Thanks to our dedicated supporters and advocates, CancerCare raised more than one million dollars for anyone affected by cancer at the 70th Anniversary Celebration Gala. Over 500 attendees gathered at Cipriani in New York City on April 23 to honor the organization as it moves into its eighth decade of service.

“With 13.7 million cancer survivors in the U.S. today, a number that is expected to increase to 18 million over the next decade, CancerCare’s services are more relevant than ever before,” said CancerCare National Board of Trustees President Susan Smirnoff. “The Gala allows us to honor individuals and corporations that have made incredible contributions in supporting CancerCare over the past 70 years and to raise essential funds to further carry the mission.”

Television journalist, author and dedicated cancer advocate Katie Couric kicked off the evening by sharing how she and her family were personally affected by cancer and found comfort in using CancerCare’s services.

Chef and restaurateur David Burke took the stage for the live auction portion of the event. Grammy Award-winning contemporary opera singer Jessye Norman and Former Mayor of New York City David Norman Dinkins were also in attendance.

Ms. Couric proudly presented the Partnership Award to Philip Blake, Senior Bayer Representative USA and Bayer HealthCare Representative US. Under the leadership of Blake, Bayer HealthCare holds a long-standing commitment to CancerCare’s mission of bringing outstanding educational services to help people whose lives have been affected by cancer.

The Help & Hope Award was presented to Pamela S. Wygod and the WebMD Health Foundation. Ms. Wygod has been a devoted member of CancerCare’s Board of Trustees since 2006 and the Foundation has awarded the organization more than $2.5 million to support cancer patients in the San Diego area.

One of the organization’s youngest and most powerful advocates, Maddy Gold, 13, courageously shared her story and was surprised with the Junior Philanthropist Award.

The event was hosted by Annette and Andrew Pizzo, President of Collection XIIX, Ltd.

The CancerCare 70th Anniversary Celebration Gala raises crucial funds for and increases awareness of the organization’s free, professional support services. To see photos from the event, visit http://ow.ly/wf1xb.

Stay up to date on all of the social media action by liking us on Facebook and following us on Twitter.

 

 

 


CancerCare Superstar Maddy Shares Her Story of Help and Hope

April 21, 2014

Alyssa and Maddy

Maddy Gold, 13, has quickly become one of CancerCare’s most inspiring advocates by sharing her personal cancer experience. As a result, she has made a remarkable impact on the lives of others.

Maddy began coming to CancerCare at the age of four to receive emotional support after her mother, Alyssa, was diagnosed with metastatic cancer. She found it to be a safe space to talk about all of the changes their family was facing.

“I remember that when my mom started losing her hair, I didn’t understand why. My social worker explained to me that the medicine in her body made my mom lose her hair, and as a young child, that made me feel better,” shares Maddy.

In December 2006, Alyssa passed away. Maddy and her younger brother continued visiting their social worker to learn how to cope with their loss and their father joined a weekly bereavement group.

“CancerCare was one of the only places where I could go to escape the sadness of my mom’s cancer and be myself – talking about my true feelings with my social worker who really understood and cared about me and my family and what we were going through.”

In honor of Alyssa, the Gold family formed the walking team “Hearts of Gold” to raise funds for CancerCare’s free support services. Maddy also serves as a volunteer at CancerCare’s New Jersey office and has raised $1,500 by selling awareness bracelets.

Maddy will share her powerful story at the CancerCare 70th Anniversary Celebration Gala on April 23. Learn how you can get involved and support this exciting event and help Maddy’s cause: http://community.cancercare.org/gala.

“My mom got so much support from CancerCare when she was sick and would be so happy that I continue to give back to help other people just like her.”