Helping Patients and Their Caregivers
Cancer changed everything my freshman year. First my mom was diagnosed with colon cancer. Then a few months later my dad was diagnosed with bone cancer. Every weekend I drove home to help take care of my parents.My mom's treatment had the best possible outcome, and she now is an 11-year survivor. But my dad just got worse and worse. He passed away just 90 days after his diagnosis.
I know what cancer does to families. I also know that the right treatment saves lives. That's why I was so excited to become a volunteer at the American Cancer Society Hope Lodge in Nashville.
Patients and their caregivers must often travel away from their homes to get the best possible treatment for their cancer, and the American Cancer Society gives them a free place to stay at Hope Lodge. Every Tuesday, I drive patients at Hope Lodge to treatment. I've logged more than 500 miles.
By profession, I'm a massage therapist. So I also give caregivers staying at Hope Lodge massages. I love the fact that I get to pamper them. It's nice to let them have 5 to 10 minutes to relax and not think about it. When I first approach them, they're shocked and say, "It's for me?!"
I know what they are going through. It's a wonderful feeling when I see caregivers whose shoulders are so stressed and tense go back to normal after I work on them. I get them ready to help their loved one fight cancer another day.
By volunteering at the American Cancer Society Hope Lodge, I'm finishing the fight for my mom and dad.
The American Cancer Society's network of 31 Hope Lodges across the US offers cancer patients and their caregivers a free, temporary place to stay when their best hope for effective treatment is in a city far from their home.