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.
It isn’t unusual for people with cancer to find that the intense care and show of concern from friends and family begins to gradually dwindle away after their initial diagnosis. They may begin to feel their support systems slowly fading away as treatment progresses. It’s vitally important to remember that cancer treatment and recovery is often long and arduous, which is why it’s so important to provide cancer support throughout the entire duration of your loved one’s treatment.
Some people become caregivers gradually – their loved ones develop symptoms slowly, or may need several tests before the cancer is diagnosed. Others become a caregiver more suddenly. Either way, a cancer diagnosis often brings an unexpected change in one’s life. As a result, caregivers seldom have the chance to get their own lives in order prior to becoming a caregiver.
“It’s frightening to hear someone talk about cancer, and we automatically think about ourselves. But try to keep your own feelings in check and focus on the person who has been diagnosed. You don’t have to fix this situation or say something profound, just being there is huge.”
CancerCare oncology social worker Sarah Kelly, LCSW, comments on the frequently asked question of what to say to someone who has been diagnosed with cancer, and what kind of comments to avoid.