Giving help, hope to cancer victims

Tuesday October 11, 2011

Jean Emberlin says she just likes knowing help is available.

Emberlin, 58, of Sheffield, received a scholarship from the Women's Cancer Wellness Fund for complementary treatments she credits with helping to restore her self-confidence after she was diagnosed with endometrial cancer in May.

"Just to know that there are funds out there ... that's a big boost," said Emberlin, who used the scholarship to receive treatment from Native American healer Mikka Barkman in Great Barrington.

Sunday morning at The Pastures in Southfield, the Women's Cancer Wellness Fund will hold its second annual fundraiser walk to provide scholarships for women with cancer for complementary and alternative treatments.

October is breast cancer awareness month, and Sunday's walk is among several events aimed at broadening wellness options for women battling cancer who may not otherwise be able to afford supplemental treatments and programs.

Bridget Ford Hughes, founder of the Women's Cancer Wellness Fund and The Pastures, said complementary treatments such as nutritional counseling and acupuncture aided her during her own breast cancer treatments in 2006, and she wanted others to have the same access.

"Since here we are in the Berkshires, we don't have a major hospital, or the oncology offices don't offer that," she said. "I really saw the gap ... mostly [for] women who could not afford it."

Administered through the Berkshire Taconic Foundation, Hughes' fund operates with the Denise Kaley Fund, which provides financial assistance to women with cancer for daily needs such as housekeeping and transportation.

Also on Sunday morning, at the Lee Premium Outlets, the American Cancer Society's "Making Strides Against Breast Cancer" will raise money for breast cancer research and for local support programs like "Look Good ... Feel Better," which teaches free beauty tips to women undergoing cancer treatment.

Over the past two years, the American Cancer Society's breast cancer walk has raised $77,000, and organizers hope to exceed $50,000 Sunday, with more than 200 participants expected.

"It's such a common cancer, and women are so passionate about it," said walk manager Tracii Heath.

For more information ...

Other programs at little or no cost in the county include:

North Adams Regional Hospital is hosting a free Q-and-A session about early detection of breast cancer from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Oct. 18 at the VNA & Hospice of Northern Berkshire Community Room. Register by calling (413) 664-5142.

Berkshire Medical Center's Women's Imaging Center is in the middle of a six-week, post-breast cancer wellness program that includes gentle yoga, nutrition instruction and stress reduction.

BMC hosts its breast cancer support group in the main lobby on the second and fourth Mondays of the month from noon to 1 p.m. Contact Kathy Hart at (413) 395-7965.

"Look Good ... Feel Better" will take place this month at BMC from 4 to 6 p.m. on Oct. 17 and at Fairview Hospital from 5 to 7 p.m. on Oct. 26. Call (413) 493-2118 for information.

Cancer fundraisers

The Women's Cancer Wellness Fund Walk: Sunday, The Pastures, 1100 Clayton Mill River Road, Southfield, 9 a.m. Registration $25 per person; four-mile walk begins at 10 am. Info: (413) 229-9035.

American Cancer Society's "Making Strides Against Breast Cancer": Sunday, Lee Premium Outlets. Registration at 7 a.m., special reception for breast cancer survivors at 8 a.m., walk begins at 9 a.m. Info: (413) 734-6000.


If you'd like to leave a comment (or a tip or a question) about this story with the editors, please email us. We also welcome letters to the editor for publication; you can do that by filling out our letters form and submitting it to the newsroom.

Powered by Creative Circle Media Solutions