Can­cer Sup­port Ser­vices needs help to help the com­mu­nity

The Taos News - - FAVOR Y CONTRA - By Chris­tine Sher­wood Taos News The Chris­tine Sher­wood is of “Fire & Ash: the Alchemy of Can­cer” and “Help Me Re­mem­ber Who I Am.”

The wheel of life turns, and the art of giv­ing and re­ceiv­ing moves through all our lives as one of our sa­cred lessons. It teaches us com­pas­sion, em­pa­thy, and if we are lucky, gen­eros­ity to ex­press the abun­dance of un­con­di­tional love that is our birthright. On one hand, when we fol­low the move­ment of giv­ing with ease and grat­i­tude, giv­ing is one of the ac­tions that makes life worth­while, and when we are the vul­ner­a­ble one in need, learn­ing to re­ceive holds within it many jew­els.

It is this beau­ti­ful dance of giv­ing and re­ceiv­ing that is wo­ven into the ever-mov­ing orb of our hu­man ex­pe­ri­ence. Do we ever stop to con­tem­plate the gift that a per­son in need of­fers us? If some­one did not take their turn at need­ing help, oth­ers would never know the full­ness of giv­ing and if, in turn, we have never needed to re­ceive, we miss the op­por­tu­nity to ex­pe­ri­ence how cher­ished we are by those who love us, some­times, even by strangers.

I had the op­por­tu­nity to learn about the art of re­ceiv­ing through a late-stage can­cer di­ag­no­sis in 2006, and the gen­eros­ity that I was privy to opened my heart to the good­ness of my fel­low hu­mans.

Like many peo­ple, I have had the great good for­tune to be able to give, mostly through my ca­reer as a mas­sage ther­a­pist. For some years, I of­fered my ser­vices to peo­ple with AIDS/HIV and can­cer, and in hospice.

I re­mem­ber sit­ting at the bed­side of a dy­ing woman 40 years of age think­ing, “If I could learn to live with the grace that this woman was dy­ing in has, my life would be pro­found.” That was al­most 30 years ago, and I have never for­got­ten her and what she brought to my life.

At the time I won­dered who was re­ceiv­ing more, her or me. In the end, it all be­came one sen­sa­tion of earthly hu­man con­nec­tion.

Presently, I am work­ing at Can­cer Sup­port Ser­vices with Susan Strong, co­or­di­na­tor, and Jean­nie Ross, di­rec­tor of com­mu­nity health outreach. Since 2011, CSS has been serv­ing area res­i­dents from early di­ag­no­sis of can­cer up to a year af­ter treat­ment.

We fund ser­vices that con­nect peo­ple with help to meet their ba­sic needs, re­duce stress and pro­mote healing. Our ser­vices con­sist of trans­porta­tion, gas cards, food and lodg­ing as­sis­tance, mas­sage and acupunc­ture, yoga and fit­ness ac­tiv­i­ties, Look Good Feel Bet­ter, (a gath­er­ing for women who have had breast can­cer for hair, makeup and scarf ideas), and a weekly sup­port group (Tues­days from 4-5:30 p.m.), as well as nav­i­ga­tion to ad­di­tional re­sources.

As the group fa­cil­i­ta­tor and as­sis­tant co­or­di­na­tor, it is an honor to gather with both the peo­ple ex­pe­ri­enc­ing can­cer and their care­givers. Here is what a few mem­bers have to say about be­ing in the group.

• “The weekly Tues­day sup­port group has been a god­send, pro­vid­ing a safe space in which to share and process the myr­iad emo­tional is­sues that have be­come a reg­u­lar part of my healing jour­ney with oth­ers who are trav­el­ing a sim­i­lar path,” said one.

• “I feel a deep trust in the wis­dom of the group, the com­pas­sion and the deep lis­ten­ing to those ex­press­ing their pain and frus­tra­tion in deal­ing with can­cer,” said an­other.

Oc­to­ber is a big month for CSS as it is our fundrais­ing and can­cer aware­ness month. Be­fore I go into the events you can be a part of, I would like to thank all the par­tic­i­pants and vol­un­teers for the great suc­cess of our yearly For The Health of it Walk that we did in Kit Car­son Park. All the pro­ceeds that we re­ceive go di­rectly to peo­ple with can­cer and their fam­i­lies. Thank you.

Oct. 18 we hold a silent auc­tion @ Bareiss Gallery. You can do­nate items to be auc­tioned off by con­tact­ing us or come and bid on do­nated items. Oct. 19 is the of­fi­cial Paint Taos Pink Day with ac­tiv­i­ties on the Taos Plaza and a zumba party, Oct. 28 will be held at Enos El­e­men­tary School gym 11 a.m.-1 p.m. A spe­cial Look Good Feel Bet­ter session will be held Oct. 25. Restau­rants, yoga stu­dios and many Taos busi­nesses are con­tribut­ing do­na­tions through­out the month, so please keep an eye out in

for more to come. I would like to close with a few more words from those we serve.

• “Can­cer Sup­port Ser­vices is truly an amaz­ing gift to our com­mu­nity.”

• “As a cre­ative per­son, my grate­ful debt to Taos Can­cer Sup­port Ser­vices can be off­set in a small way by be­ing able to do­nate some of my wares to the silent auc­tion.”

There it is: the beau­ti­ful art of giv­ing and re­ceiv­ing in ac­tion.

Con­tact us at (575) 7518927 or sstrong@taoshos­pi­tal. org, 413 Si­papu Street, Taos.


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