“If you want to lift yourself up, lift up someone else.” – Booker T. Washington
Supporting patients and caregivers facing cancer takes a community. As a nonprofit committed to using our resources responsibly, we are proud to collaborate with medical professionals and nonprofits across the nation. The Lung Cancer Research Foundation (LCRF) is one of those partnerships.
Five years ago, we first teamed up with Free to Breathe (now LCRF). Since then, we’ve presented at LCRF conferences, supported their community fundraisers and shared more than a few volunteers in common. We recently hosted our first-ever joint volunteer training.
Thanks to dedicated researchers developing life-saving treatments, lung cancer treatments are changing rapidly. In addition to their primary mission of funding research, LCRF helps patients – and the medical professionals who care for them – keep up with the latest breakthroughs, providing information and support.
“It’s difficult to keep up with the progression of research and treatments,” said Cristina Chin, LCRF’s Senior Manager of Patient Education and Outreach. “Patients who call our support line are overwhelmed and terrified. They’re getting information about their diagnosis and treatment from their doctors and social workers. But there’s a unique connection in talking to someone who understands their personal perspective – someone who has sat in the same chair. Peer supporters provide answers people can’t get on the internet. That’s where our alliance with Cancer Hope Network is particularly meaningful.”
“We are pleased to collaborate with organizations doing significant work in the oncology community,” said Executive Director Cynthia Gutierrez Bernstein. “Our longtime partnership with the Lung Cancer Research Foundation has made both organizations stronger – and is vital in providing comprehensive support and information to patients and caregivers facing cancer. We are grateful for their efforts and proud of our work together.”
The class of eight survivors gathered over two days, learning more about the myriad resources LCRF offers to lung cancer patients and being trained in active listening, boundary setting and peer mentoring by our Programs Team.
The volunteers have faced a variety of diagnoses and metastases. They’ve undergone a vast array of treatments – learning about their biomarkers, receiving radiation and chemotherapy, undergoing craniotomies and CyberKnife surgeries. Several have participated in clinical trials and one is currently taking the second drug known to cross the blood-brain barrier.
Although the pandemic has impacted immunocompromised cancer patients in particularly devastating ways, these survivors are finding ways to survive – and thrive – in these challenging times. They’re making full use of grocery deliveries, enjoying socially-distanced outdoor activities like hiking, biking and running.
They’re using technology to stay in touch with family across the country “my granddaughter is my happy place,” moving bridge games, book clubs and meditation classes online. One has a newly-full apartment as their children return to the post-retirement nest.
Through it all, their individual and collective commitment to helping others shines through. “Volunteering has really kept me energized and focused on gratitude. Gratitude has made me very resilient.”
We are grateful to each of them for their willingness to share and are pleased to welcome these volunteers into the CHN family.
Call 877.467.3638 (877-HOPENET) or click HERE to request a match with a survivor or caregiver Support Volunteer who understands.