Conquering Cancer Ask yourself how many people you know who has or is in remission from cancer? Perhaps you personally know what it’s like to process the various stages of cancer. Now, ask yourself what happens when a woman in your life gets sick? What happens to the family dynamic? In many families, the basic functions of family life primarily revolves around the woman or she making the decisions who to delegate these chores to. The health of women is crucial to keeping a well oiled family and societal machine running smoothly. Ultimately, we can’t control cancer and who and when it strikes but we can take part in supporting women through the nurturing phases of cancer care. The Healing Co-Operative Women’s Cancer Support Center in Middletown has been supporting the lives of women with cancer and their families since 1996. Founder, Executive Director, cancer survivor, and visionary Linda Phelan created the center which serves approximately 2,000 women and their family annually at no charge to them . Yes, free. Phelan’s personal journey of conquering cancer led her to create a supportive environment for women with cancer and their families to keep their mind and body strong looking forward to the future, as a team, and not hampered by the seemingly ceaseless financial and emotional drain of cancer care. As I’ve stated in previous articles, the mind-body axis of health is crucial to people’s quality of life.
A Place of Renewal
As Rhode Island’s first and only free non profit center dedicated to supporting and celebrating the lives of women with cancer and their families, the Co-Op has quite a role to fill. Phelan’s goal is “to provide a balanced and holistic environment emphasizing the importance of the whole person as integration of body, mind and spirit. Encouraging a state of equilibrium amongst these parts of our being as well as those of the family.” Support groups and renewal retreats are meant to empower women and they have grown in demand, however, due to lack of funds, women have been waitlisted. Renewal Retreats include fly fishing, kayaking, hiking, writing and journaling, labyrinth workshops in their very own 80 foot arborous walking labyrinth, programs for children and more. The Healing Co-Op does not try to mask the fact that these women have been affected by cancer, rather the diverse programs are meant to provide a means of self-expression guided and supported by the presence of women experiencing similar fears and hopes.
Phelan also realized the jewelry and crafts made during the Women’s Cancer Retreats could be used as revenue to benefit the Co-Op which can be bought through the HopeCraft gift shop on the Co-Op premises and on their website.
Most pressing is Phelan’s recent application for a grant through the Pepsi Refresh Project which awards organizations, tens of thousands of dollars depending on their grant request. The competition is based on votes and the cut-off date is May 31. The Healing Co-Op needs your vote now. Go online and vote for them at http://refresheverything.com/healingarts
Fearless, empowered and courageous are our mothers, wives and sisters. Let’s nourish their spirit by keeping the Healing Co-Operative Women’s Cancer Support Center strong!
The Healing Co-Op 272 Mitchell's Lane Middletown, RI 02842.
Shawna E.M. Snyder graduated with a Masters degree in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine from the New England School of Acupuncture in Boston, MA, a 4-year program. Shawna is certified by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine and is licensed as a Doctor of Acupuncture by the State of Rhode Island through the department of health.
From a Place of Fear to a Place of Courage
By Shawna E.M. Snyder, D.Ac., M.A.O.M.
“Open Door” Support Groups Include
Climbing the Mountain: For women newly diagnosed with cancer.
Revisiting Cancer: For women who have had a re-occurrence of cancer.
Caregivers Circle: For the friends/families who need support.
Support and Play: For women and their young children.
Sisterhood Lounge: An online community for people affected by cancer.
Art Therapy: Self expressionistic workshops.
Movement Therapy: Restorative Yoga, Belly Dancing and Labyrinth walks.
Votes Equals Money!
As you can imagine, non-profit organizations are struggling financially during these times of economic hardship and the Co-Op is no exception as they rely 100% on private donations from the community. Over 84% of raised monies goes to the programs, retreats, room and board provided to the women and their families so that they can take refuge in this healing environment. Phelan’s steadfast determination is clear when she states “Money is the what keeps the blood flowing here at the Co-Op. Let us continue our mission in providing an environment of hope, support and love to women and their loved ones as they make the journey through and beyond cancer.”
Unique fundraising events have been Phelan’s own, “Chemo of the Brain” play performed at PPAC by the women whose stories were being shared, as well as the subsequent documentary, “Sisters of the Hood.”
Financial Support Options
HopeCraft Gift Shop: Buy jewelry or decorative art for yourself or a friend.
Directly to The Healing Co-Op: 272 Mitchell’s Lane, Middletown
As a Sponsor for an event.
Attend their next fundraising event: November 5th concert with Canadian musician John Brooks.
A clinic in Middletown, Rhode Island that offers acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine and medical Qigong.