Cancer Support Services needs help to help the community
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.