Patricia “Niti” Martin, BA Health Psychology, E-RYT500 Certified Yoga Teacher in Kripalu Yoga, Interactive Yoga Therapy, and Let your Yoga Dance, can trace her roots with the House back to 2000. “I was first invited to take the position of Stress Reduction Counselor,” she recalls. “In 2001, I was asked to create the first yoga program for the House. I named it the Healing Art of Yoga for Ongoing Cancer Recovery, and I’ve taught the program every week. That makes it the longest-lived program of its kind on a continuing basis, anywhere.”
Such an enduring program is a landmark for the House, and Niti reveals a quiet sense of pride in having provided a comforting service to so many for so long. But what does Niti enjoy most about her time at Cancer House of Hope? “The word is community,” she says. “The community of participants in the program and staff, all of the wellness-oriented positive approaches to health and healing support integrative health. We are empowering people to support each other’s health, as well as their own.”
Niti says one thing that makes the Cancer House of Hope such a significant community resource is the impact its programs and services have on the people who come here. “People come once, and they keep coming back,” she explains. “One of the first people who participated in my yoga program here in 2001 ago never stopped coming to the House through many life changes. She became a close friend of mine. She participated in yoga, nutrition, and bereavement classes and received reiki treatments. This woman was involved both in giving and receiving, which is a key to this organization. She served on our board and brought many people to the House who would not otherwise have known about it. She built a personal, long-term relationship in community health, which is empowering because people here are serving each other by participating in a mutually supportive environment. She has been very supportive in terms of annual contributions to the House and other donations, and we don’t take that for granted.”
When someone has been working intensively with a medical treatment for cancer and then released, what’s next? They may not know how to deal with effects of the treatment, which can be severe. How do they progress? Cancer House of Hope creates an environment of comfort that is not otherwise available for many people. It is supportive and always non-threatening. Often it’s also fun. Our multi-level approach to personal support of those impacted by cancer is a great comfort to many.
Cancer House of Hope, 1999 Westfield Street, West Springfield, MA 01089, 413-733-1858, chd.org/chh