The CHD Cancer House of Hope is committed to providing free access to services and therapies that bring comfort, care, strength, resilience, and hope to patients with cancer and their loved ones. For the past twenty years, we’ve extended a healing hand to those experiencing the often painful effects of cancer treatment. In spite of our longevity in the community, and our accessibility in our current location on Route 20 in West Springfield, I am often surprised by how many people are unaware of the wonderful work we do here. I have found myself saying, “to know us is to love us,” because the people who have come through our doors during the last few months have said things like, “I drive by every day and had no idea how much is available here.”
As I conduct tours of the House for friends in the community, I show people where our Reiki masters and our certified oncology massage therapist provide their services. I walk them through the meditation garden to the Yoga studio where we also have begun hosting a lecture series featuring oncologists from the Sister Caritas Cancer Center. I show them the sitting area on the first floor, with the tranquil, soothing fish tank donated by Dave’s Soda and Pet City, and the bright, airy living room upstairs where we offer support groups and a relaxation group. And then, I bring them to the Wig and Accessory boutique, which over the past several months has undergone a transformation from a room full of wigs to a place where those who have lost their hair due to treatment can leave feeling special with a professionally fitted wig following a one-hour beauty consultation. Finally, I explain one of our greatest comforts, our wonderful volunteers, many of whom have experienced cancer in their own lives, who are here to listen, to offer support, or to lend a soft shoulder to the walk-ins whom we welcome. Many people are surprised by the fact that we provide all of these services free-of-charge.
Slowly but surely, we are building awareness. Ongoing education and outreach activities have strengthened our community partnerships and increased our referral sources. As a result, during the last quarter of 2016, we experienced an 11% increase in overall program participation. In addition to the transformation of the Wig Boutique and the re-introduction of the lecture series, we also have established a new breast cancer support group, added an additional day each week for certified oncology massage therapy, and we have begun the process of exploring additional programming based on the wants and needs of those who seek our services.
None of this would be possible without the generous support of our donors, grant providers, and sponsors. We are 100% dependent on these funding sources as we do not receive any state or federal money and we do not charge for the services we offer. In November, we had a very successful fundraiser, our annual Luminaria event, at the Storrowton Village Green. Our annual golf tournament in May is fast approaching, and we hope to build on a successful outing last year with an even stronger showing this year. These events along with other smaller ones throughout the year, fundraising campaigns, and the thoughtfulness of regular contributors allow us to keep the doors of hope open for those who need us. As one of the many programs and services provided by CHD, we are here to address the needs of our community. If you have been affected by cancer and need our support, or if you would just like to learn more, please contact me – I’d love to show you around.