Charity Spotlight: Cancer Connection, a Place to Find Community

CancerConnectionCharity“Providing services that should be a human right for free.” We received this note along with the recommendation that Cancer Connection of Northampton, MA become a Brown Paper Tickets’ monthly charity recipient.

The message intrigued us.

It is essential that folks battling illness, as well as their friends, family, and caregivers find strength from community. Cancer Connection provides that community. Cynthia Tarail, of the organization’s Community Relations department shared this personal account from John, a person who received help from Cancer Connection:

“Two years ago, my wife was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer. She was nursing our two-year-old at the time. The next day, my doctor told me there was a strong likelihood I had cancer, too. As I was driving home from the doctor in a daze, it suddenly hit me that I didn’t have a lick of life insurance, no savings, and that my children could likely to be orphaned in the next decade. I felt a cold rush that I had not felt since junior high — the feeling you get when you have really, really screwed up. I have never in my life felt a more horrifying sense of failure and dread…

I was in this state when I walked into Cancer Connection. A lovely and wise woman there gave me a cup of tea and sat down and talked to me. There are no words to describe the feeling of love and support you get when are at your absolute lowest, and somebody takes in you in, literally off the street, with open arms. I think it is like the firefighter who comes and rescues you from a burning house. I can honestly never forget the experience of what she did for me.” ~ John, 2016

Honoring Each Person’s Journey

Tarail explains, “when John walked into Cancer Connection’s homey living room on that cold, late winter day, he talked with someone who gave him her undivided attention, who listened closely and unconditionally with care, acceptance, and respect. That’s what John needed that day. He didn’t have to have an intake procedure. He didn’t have to prove he was eligible for anything in particular. In that first conversation, John talked a little about his family, his responsibilities, his emotions. And he learned that there’s a whole host of programs–all offered free–at Cancer Connection.

Soon after this visit, John joined a support group for caregivers, choosing what was right for him and his family.  Cancer Connection honors each person’s journey through life. People’s lives do not start with a diagnosis of cancer, and their lives don’t stop with a diagnosis of cancer.

What if we addressed people’s lives, and what happens when cancer intervenes, rather than starting with the diagnosis and how the medical system will deal with it? Many people with cancer experience a loss of control over their lives and their futures. Thanks to financial support from individuals and businesses, Cancer Connection can provide one-to-one guidance, mindfulness practice, support groups, acupuncture, creative and physical outlets — options that enable cancer patients and their loved ones to feel understood and empowered. They can become active participants in their own care.

They are treated like individuals while knowing that they are not alone. And they let us know that they feel supported as they find their way. Giving to Cancer Connection means that our community can find survivorship care close to home.”

Cancer Connection has created a network of free services for both physical and emotional healing for anyone living with a cancer diagnosis, their families and care takers. They offer classes and services in a variety of areas.

Cancer Connection Resources

• Creativity & Healing
• Exercise & Physical Activity
• Mindfulness and Self Care
• Survivorship
• Acupuncture
• Calming Strategies & Relaxation
• CranioSacral Therapy
• Massage Therapy
• Reiki Nights (Monthly Schedule)
• Reflexology
• “I Wish I had Asked…” Storytelling

You can support Cancer Connection by shopping at their thrift shop, volunteering, or making a direct donation.

Cancer Connection is funded through grants, donations and an internally operated thrift store. Every month, Brown Paper Tickets selects one charity from a large group of online submissions. This program stood out to us because of its community structure and unique services.

We’d love to hear about charities that could use support. Suggest a nonprofit or charity.

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