In the United States, we can find many different cancer advocacy groups. No matter how we define them (NGOs or non-profit organizations), they all are dedicated to raising awareness about cancer and directing all their efforts to control this difficult medical condition. As the disease continues to grow in every country in the worlds, it has become a vital matter to support and be part of these advocacy groups since they have a significant role to play in bringing aids and support to patients, their families and communities around them.
Most groups dedicated to advocating for cancer are created as national societies, usually sponsored by healthcare professionals and. However, Kenny Slaught knows that in cities like Santa Barbara, California, there are some groups build and funded by individuals who simply want to make the world a better place for patients with cancer. These groups are in charge of providing multiple types of aids and information to those who suffer from this disease in different stages. They are formed by Santa Barbara leaders and volunteers who think of others in need as their number one priority.
Breast Cancer Resource Center
Founded in 1997, the Breast Cancer Resource Center (BCRC) is a not for profit organization located in Santa Barbara, funded exclusively by individual donors and grants given by private foundations. Similar in ethics to The Women’s Fund of Santa Barbara, BCRC works as a support home for women who are dealing with breast cancer problems. It helps women understand the disease and how to manage it, providing emotional support and education.
As dealing with the disease can be difficult, BCRC’s goal is to make their members’ lives a little bit more happy and comfortable. The organization offers caring counseling services and resource materials such as printed and digital media in a free lending library and programs that help patients understand what is going on with their treatment and how to cope with the changes their bodies are suffering. Women with breast cancer have a rough path to walk and BCRC strives to make that path a walkable route to wellbeing and survivorship.
The staff at the organization is rather welcoming and understanding, some staff members are cancer survivors themselves who know the severities of cancer treatment. They try to help women who have been recently diagnosed with breast cancer to deal with their emotions since they have to make important decisions on what to do with their lives. By offering a caring network of women who have survived breast cancer, BCRS helps patients have access to all the information they need and ask all the questions they want to ask in order to be able to make better and well-informed decisions hoping for tomorrow.
BCRC programs include a breast health education program that talks about early detection of cancer. Also, a buddy mentor program is offered, where women can attend Meditation, Reflexology, Reiki and Art Therapy sessions as well as a one-on-one Sexuality & Intimacy counseling service.
Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation
As a foundation dedicated to helping children with cancer, the Teddy Bear foundation does an outstanding job in Santa Barbara. Inspired by the story of Ewing Sarcoma, a three-year-old kid who was born with an uncommon form of brain cancer, and whose family did everything they could to take care of him, the Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation aims to assist families facing the difficult reality of having children with cancer.
The foundation was created in 2002, after Ewing Sarcoma’s mother shared her story with Nikki Katz –current founder of the organization. Given the fact that Ewing Sarcoma’s family had to struggle to pay for his medication and often expensive hospital stays, his mom started thinking about the dilemma of quitting her job in order to take care of her children or keeping her job in order to pay for his expensive treatment. Her worries and problems made Nikki realize that it was vital to start an organization concerned about children suffering from cancer in Santa Barbara.
The Cancer Center of Santa Barbara
This center was founded in Santa Barbara in 1949 thanks to the charitable giving of individuals, families, and foundations. Working hand in hand with the Sansum Clinic since 2012, the Cancer Center of Santa Barbara works to take care of cancer patients in the Central Coast. One of its main focuses is to count with advanced technology and resources to treat patients in the best possible way, offering patients comfortable services and a friendly environment where to be treated.
Even though the Cancer Center started thanks to the generous contributions of different organizations, it now operates as a health care facility recognized for its properly trained staff committed to enriching the life of over 150,000 patients per year with outstanding treatments and sensitive services, regardless the economic status or ability to pay of patients.