guest post written by Meg Symes of Cancer Support Community of Pasadena
“so no one needs to face cancer alone”—that’s the purpose of Cancer Support Community Pasadena (CSCP). for 26 years we’ve served people with cancer, their families and caregivers in the San Gabriel Valley, eastern San Fernando Valley, and East Los Angeles. CSCP offers more than 120 activities each month in english, spanish, and mandarin, including support groups for kids, teens and adults, facilitated by licensed mental health professionals; a bereavement group; stress reduction classes such as yoga and tai chi; arts and educational workshops; and social activities. most CSCP support groups include participants with various types of cancer, so that psychosocial concerns; e.g., how cancer affects family dynamics, finances, and relationships with friends and co-workers, receive sufficient attention in the groups (rather than a primary focus on treatments and other medical aspects of cancer). CSCP workshops often have medical issues as the topic.
CSCP assists nearly 1,000 people through these activities and another 1,100 area residents each year through community outreach and education about cancer.
all services are offered free of charge. fifty percent of new participants report significant financial distress due to their or their loved one’s cancer diagnosis. this figure increases to 80 percent within six months of enrollment.
CSCP has six staff and more than 100 volunteers. individuals, corporations and grant-making foundations are the source of funding. CSCP receives no government funds.
Margaret, a participant, describes part of CSCP’s impact:
i came to the CSC Pasadena because i had a need in my life for a place where is was socially acceptable to have cancer. where it could be discussed openly with reality and humor, and not with the fear, blame and stigma that exist in society still today. i found this place at CSC Pasadena. while the “cancer club” is not one that anyone would willingly sign up for, for those who are unwillingly recruited, CSC provides a place of social sanctuary, where people can draw strength, courage, knowledge and comfort from each other.
10% of the sale of every ‘love’ glassybaby will be donated to Cancer Support Community Pasadena.