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.
CancerCare celebrates 75 Years of Help and Hope! This is part I of our “If it matters to you, it matters to us” blog series that aims to exemplify CancerCare’s commitment to serve people with cancer and to celebrate a legacy of comprehensive care for people living with cancer.
Last year, Marjorie’s whole world fell apart when her mother was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Shortly after that, her sister-in-law was also unexpectedly diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. After losing both relatives, Marjorie sought out grief counseling, which is where she first heard of CancerCare. She called the Hopeline, and was connected with Kathy Nugent, LCSW, an oncology social worker in CancerCare’s New Jersey office. Through her individual counseling, Marjorie was able to process the grief she was feeling, as well as talk through the mental and physical toll of caregiving.
When Stephanie’s best friend was diagnosed with breast cancer, CancerCare’s counseling services provided both women with support. Now, Stephanie is giving back at CancerCare’s Fairfield Walk/Run for Hope.
Dixie shares: “One of the many beneficial things I learned from my time at CancerCare was the importance of self-care. Early on, I identified an important self-care activity as riding my bicycle. My Dad and I often rode together, and it was something that, long into his own treatment, served as a crucial self-care activity for him. It felt like I’d landed on the perfect fit when I discovered CancerCare was a represented charity for the TD 5 Boro Bike Tour, and I was honored to have the opportunity to raise money for an organization that had done so much for me.”
Joyce came to CancerCare after experiencing the loss of her husband to cancer. She shares,“The support [CancerCare] provided saved my life, and I hope to be able to spread awareness so that others may be impacted in the same way that I have.” Putting her gratitude into action, Joyce has become a passionate advocate for CancerCare, and is now being honored at CancerCare’s 2016 Festival of Hope Gala.
I found myself leaving sessions hopeful and revitalized, emotions I hadn’t felt in a long time. I was able to be a better caregiver for my Dad because I was finally taking care of myself - a gift from CancerCare that I will be forever grateful for.
As 2016 draws near, we’d like to take a moment to reflect on all we’ve accomplished in the past year. Here’s a look back at just a few of the highlights from 2015.
Of course, the truest highlights have been the exchanges between our social workers and clients, the bonds formed between members of our support groups and the words of thanks we receive from those who feel they have been helped. All of us at CancerCare look forward to continuing to provide help and hope to anyone affected by cancer, and working to ensure that no one has to face cancer alone.
Has your pet helped you or a loved one cope with a cancer diagnosis? We want to honor your furry (or scaly!) friend with our #CritterCaregivers photo contest.
To celebrate National Family Caregivers Month, we invite you to share photos of you and your pet using the hashtag #CritterCaregivers, along with stories about how your critter caregiver has helped you or your loved ones cope with cancer.