Do you know anyone who has cancer? Do you know what to say or do? We know — and we are bringing that skill set to the workplace.

Typically, we all work hard, provide for our families, plan for the future of our children and look forward to retirement someday. However, with one phone call from your doctor, all of that is put on hold, an unplanned journey begins, priorities and perspectives change — and it can all be overwhelming.

Compassion for Cancer Caregivers trains volunteers to step up and step in to provide hope through compassion for coworkers and their families who are battling cancer. Trained volunteers create a network of support among the friends, families, coworkers and church family of the patient and the caregiver. This support network periodically provides small acts of kindness. It could be as simple as delivering a meal, walking the dog, trimming the hedge, driving them to an appointment or just listening to what they are experiencing. This can make a world of difference to the caregiver and the patient.

We know. We, too, have walked the road as both a cancer patient and a caregiver.

Participants learn about the “wall of silence” and how to work through it, about the “elephant in the room” and the worst thing to do about it, about what is helpful to say and do, about the unspoken fears and concerns (both theirs and ours), about the impact of cancer on families with focus on the cancer caregiver and about setting boundaries. Participants will leave each class with something they can do immediately in support of the patient or caregiver.

In addition to training, Compassion for Cancer Caregivers provides compassion kits through the American Cancer Society’s Hope Lodge and the cancer centers at Pali Momi, Kapi‘olani and Queen’s Medical Centers. The kit includes a green zippered tote, a plush fleece blanket, an adult coloring book, coloring pencils and a sharpener, earbuds, a few colorful notebook journals, a note of hope and gratitude, and a brochure. You may visit our website to learn more.

Many forms of kindness and compassion make a tremendous difference in turning a difficult journey into a voyage of faith and hope.

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