Cancer Wellness Connections is a nonprofit organization that brings comfort and care directly into the infusion clinics to anyone actively receiving outpatient chemotherapy. Through various activities, from massage, reiki, manicures and exercise tips, to books, games and good conversation, our volunteers not only bring a bright spot to treatment times, but also help people in treatment connect with wellness. Cancer Wellness Connections is not part of the health systems and is in fact independently funded by the donations of people like you!
Eileen recognized how isolating cancer treatment can be for both patients and their families. Long hours in the infusion chair can be scary, if not just plain boring. From that, her vision for a program that became Cancer Wellness Connections was born. Through Eileen’s leadership and counsel, Cancer Wellness Connections has been able to enrich the lives of so many, especially people receiving outpatient infusions for cancer and chronic illnesses.
Dr. Cynthia Angel
Gynecologic Oncologist Dr. Cynthia Angel observed that the patients she saw doing the best were the ones who didn’t put their lives on hold. Through her lens as a scientist, she saw how the many advances in therapies means that many patients will live with a chronic or extended condition. Regardless of outcome, Dr. Angel’s focus is on quality of life that is not overshadowed by a diagnosis. Her principles guide Cancer Wellness Connections vision that living well with cancer is possible.
Dr. Brent DuBeshter
Practice partner with Dr. Angel, Dr. Du Beshter similarly focused on patient experience. For him, to view a cancer diagnosis through the rigid lens of being cancer free as the only positive outcome is an oversimplification. As such he whole heartedly embraced the idea of forming a program that could help his patients find a sense of wellness throughout treatment and beyond.
Founded by Eileen Grossman in 2007, Cancer Wellness Connections developed as a result of Eileen accompanying a friend to treatments. Then, it was known as Cancer Wellness Spa. Eileen brought in cards and played bridge with her friends to help them pass the time. Other patients “wanted in on the game,” Eileen said.
Eileen acknowledge how devastating the diagnosis of her own cancer was, and the uncertainty of the prognosis, but was nonetheless determined to move forward with cancer through treatment and beyond.
This is right in line with current thinking about the psychology of care for cancer patients. Gynecologic Oncologist Dr. Cynthia Angel observed that “the patients I see doing the best are the ones who keep going and don’t put their lives on hold.” She continues, “Obviously, to be cancer-free is the desired result for both patients and physicians, however, viewing a cancer diagnosis through a rigid lens of being cancer free as the only positive outcome is an oversimplification. The more we know about cancer, the many advances we see in therapies means that many patients will live with a chronic or extended condition. The challenge is to not have a life overshadowed by your disease. Living well with cancer is possible.”
That’s just what Cancer Wellness Connections now aims to help people do.
Drs. Angel and DuBeshter, whose Gynecologic Oncology practice included that treatment room, wholeheartedly embraced the idea of forming a program. In 13 years of operation, Cancer Wellness Connections has expanded into five additional locations (link to locations page), including a pediatric program, Better Day Buddies. Through our efforts as a team of dedicated, passionate volunteers and care partners, we bring comfort and care to 20,000 people in treatment annually, as well as their friends and family members who accompany them to treatment.