Taking Care Cancer is a community supported survivorship program for cancer survivors, their family members and caregivers.
We seek to support the individual and the family members affected by cancer in a holistic fashion. Our mission is not one of “healing” or “fixing”, although our events are indeed very healing, but rather of support and community solidarity. Taking Care Cancer believes in the healing power of community for both those folks journeying through cancer and for those who volunteer their time and care.
We are an organization that focuses on integrative, evidence based care: we welcome experts from the allopathic fields as well as the naturopathic disciplines. We walk cancer survivors, their caregivers and family members through guided meditation, acupuncture and massage therapy during vibrational, live sound therapy, feature a guest speaker who discusses aspects of survivorship, and sit together for a community meal comprised of cancer fighting ingredients.
Our basis of care is the mother’s standard of care, or to care for each other as a mother would care for her child. We are dedicated and passionate about helping others, and are the holders of a safe and respectful space where healing and peace may happen.
How was Taking Care Cancer started?
Taking Care Cancer was born in the massage space of Hamid Shibata Bennett. Hamid, a 21-year cancer survivor, had been active in the survivorship community for many years and had put together an exploratory program to discover the possibilities of combining massage therapy and sound therapy in 2011.
Daniel G Miller, a long time restaurant veteran, was visiting Hamid for massage therapy and had just started a supper club pairing local chefs with naturopathic doctors to investigate the importance of food as medicine. A spark was kindled that day.
Daniel assembled a team of naturopathic doctors, chefs, health coaches and therapists and he and Hamid began to formulate community supported cancer care.
The very first Taking Care Portland occurred in collaboration with the National College of Natural Medicine on June 2nd, 2012. These two explorers could immediately sense the effect that this integrative approach held for cancer survivors and began to grow the program.
In the 3 years that Taking Care Portland has been in operation, the organization has become a long-term survivorship program for 133 participants, collected 2487 hours of volunteer time, and 552 hours of participant time. When the math is applied, 4.5 hours of volunteer care is invested in every hour of participant experience. It takes an average of 244 volunteer hours to present this model of community supported cancer survivorship.
Daniel incorporated the organization in January 2013, assembled an amazing board of directors, and Taking Care Cancer was off the ground. Taking Care Cancer acquired it’s 501 (c3) nonprofit status in July of 2014 and is in the able hands of a very talented and dedicated board of directors. Hamid is currently the President of the board, and Daniel is currently the Executive Director and Secretary to the board. Taking Care Cancer is growing as an organization and is seeking to share its model with other communities in order to harvest the power of community support.
Why Donation Based Care matters?
Between 2006 and 2010 16,127 people in Multnomah County journeyed through cancer: 9,806 survivors emerged from that journey. Cancer is a growing epidemic, and the current model of cancer care does not consider the health of the survivor post remission. With a projected population growth of 30.1% by 2050, Multnomah County could be home to 97,402 cancer survivors below the self-sufficiency standard.
Taking Care Cancer creates a space where community can support and help survivors rebuild. Because of technological innovations and new medicines, more people are surviving cancer, and the need for survivorship programs is growing.
The power of the Taking Care model lies within the volunteer base. We are only as strong as the people who show up to take care of their fellow Portlanders. Indeed, many participants report that one of the most significant components of the Taking Care model is the time they are able to spend telling their story to the volunteers. Just being heard is empowering.Ways to Support TCC