Every ethnic and racial group in the country is affected by cancer. While some may say cancer does not discriminate, certain demographic groups bear a disproportionate burden as it relates to incidence, prevalence, mortality, survivorship, outcomes, and other cancer-related measures. These disparities are often due to social, environmental, and economic disadvantages. For those who identify as Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC), there are clear health disparities.
CancerCare for Kids' offers year-round, free support services for children impacted by cancer: those living with cancer, have a loved one with cancer or have experienced the loss of a loved one to cancer. In 2020, CancerCare for Kids offered a variety of holiday programs including the Winter Warmth Program, the Winter Wonderland Gift Program and the Holiday Gift Card Program.
As the year comes to a close, we reflect on all that 2020 has brought us. CancerCare stayed true to its mission to provide help and hope to anyone affected by cancer, finding new ways and new opportunities to serve our community despite the pandemic. We are proud to share these highlights from the past twelve months:
For people affected by cancer, the holiday season can be a complicated time of year. Oncology social worker Leeann Medina-Martinez, LMSW, offers her insight on staying connected and creating new traditions during a year unlike any other.
Being a caregiver can be a full time job, and caregivers often put their own needs or feelings aside while providing physical and emotional care for their loved one. In times of stress, it can be helpful to remember that taking care of yourself is an important part of being a caregiver. In recognition of National Family Caregiver Awareness Month, Alyson Erardy, an oncology social worker and moderator of our young adult caregiver online support group, explores the Caregiver’s Bill of Rights and how it can help caregivers while supporting a loved one in need.
Carolyn Messner, DSW, OSW-C, FAPOS, FAOSW, LCSW-R, CancerCare’s Director of Education and Training, remembers the first CancerCare Connect Education Workshop as if it was yesterday. “It was a snowy day in March thirty years ago, and we held a telephone workshop on doctor-patient communication called, ‘Doctor, Can We Talk?’ About 30 people signed up, and it was an amazing experience,” she recalls. “I could feel it was the start of something special.”
Last month, CancerCare debuted a brand-new digital fundraising campaign called Do Something for CancerCare. In place of our traditional walk/run events, our Events team designed a do-it-yourself campaign that made it possible for anyone to join in and support us—including friends of CancerCarelocated across the country!
CancerCare’s Back-to-School Program Continues to Support Families Affected by Cancer During COVID-19
For the fifth year in a row, the CancerCare for Kids Back-to-School Program provided new backpacks full of school supplies to 150 children and teens in the tristate area. These free back-to-school packages include items such as a backpack, notebooks, folders, pencil cases, markers, crayons and/or colored pencils and additional age-appropriate supplies.
CancerCare’s Healing Hearts Family Bereavement Camp is an annual highlight for our clients, their families and our staff. As the spring progressed, it became clear that gathering at Memorytown USA in Mount Pocono, PA, would not be possible due to the risk of COVID-19. Undeterred, we kept in touch with our campers over the summer and held a virtual activity earlier this month to help them connect with other families and honor their loved ones.
CancerCare®’s Pet Assistance and Wellness (PAW) Program Continues to Help Cat and Dog Owners Affected by Cancer
CancerCare, the leading national nonprofit organization providing free, professional support services to anyone affected by cancer, is continuing to support pet owners affected by cancer with the CancerCare Pet Assistance & Wellness (PAW) Program.