weSPARK Cancer Support Center
July 27, 2009
To whom it may concern:
After being discharged from the hospital in late August 2008 I was very luck to be introduced to the weSpark Cancer Support Center in Sherman Oaks CA.
In the middle of August 2008 I was informed by my doctors that I had Phase IV non small cell lung cancer that had metastasized into bone cancer. I was devastated by the news because there were no previous signs of the disease. I was told by my Oncologist that if I was lucky I could live 5 years and that was the fact of the matter. He emphasized that I would have difficult choices to make in the process and that I couldn’t be guaranteed anymore than a relatively decent quality of life depending on how I reacted to the prescribed treatments of chemo therapy and radiation treatments.
While I was in the hospital I was tested from top to bottom and they had prescribed titanium rods be inserted into both my femurs to reinforce what was described to me as hips, pelvis, sacrum, spine and knees that had been eaten by the cancer so extensively that the cortex or hard outer surface of the bones was gone. I was told I was fortunate that my legs hadn’t just collapsed and that the simple action of jumping off of a street curb could have shattered my hips and pelvis. This would have spread the cancer throughout my body in the shattered pieces as well as rendering me a virtual cripple.
I began chemo therapy and radiation treatments simultaneously. I underwent 24 radiation treatments in a row and was given chemo every 21 days for 6 sessions, every 28 days I was given a bone repair drug called Zometa. The side effects from all of this left me nauseous, weak and disoriented. I was constantly angry at my situation and felt I had been dealt a bad hand in life.
If it was not for the help and support of my wife and her urging me to attend weSpark and get involved with a support group I would probably not have made the recovery I have made and am currently enjoying. weSpark put me in a group of like patients in various stages of recovery and treatments and I soon learned I was not alone. The group is structured and led by a qualified counselor who lets us in the group speak freely about our feelings, cares and concerns. I have been greatly relieved at being able to not only receive help and direction from the other people in the group but to also give help and direction to those around me. All in all it’s a situation I cannot afford to miss on a weekly basis and when my schedule does conflict, I do miss the interaction and positive results of attending.
The weSpark Cancer Support Center also has afforded me the opportunity to be involved in many other activities all free of cost and or obligation such as, Guided Imagery, Tai Chi, Reiki Healing, Yoga on several different levels depending on your specific level of ability, Acupuncture, Guest Speakers, Crafts and Hobbies.
I cannot say enough about the courteous staff of professionals and volunteers at the center who make your ability to attend these functions seamless and simple in an otherwise confusing world of Doctors appointments, treatments, and days following treatments with side effects. In order to be able to change an appointment or function to another day without complaint or fuss helps make the experience easy.
There are no other groups available to me that can completely fill my needs like the staff and organization of weSpark.
Thank you for letting me participate in this search for great non-profits, weSpark will always get my vote.
I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...
All the faces of those attending weSpark functions. I cannot recall anybody leaving a function at weSpark for the worse.
Ways to make it better...
If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...
Continue on the curent path for sucess.
What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...
The interaction with like patients in a non clinical environment. It's like sitting in your own living room while you are at weSpark.
The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...
Kind, responsive, attentive to our needs, honest in their evaluations of our situations without being callous or insensitive.
If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...
Globalize it's model and change the world we know in regards to how we see and deal with this horrible disease. The medical community isn't ready to recognize a lot of what is going on out there as ways to treat cancer or it's symptoms. weSpark does.
Ways to make it better...
WeSpark had access to the funds to help them grow and offer more to the clients who attend. As usual it's the amount of money any organization has that ultimately defines their operations. The people at weSpark who run the day to day functions are great.
In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...
Again, FUND RAISING!!
One thing I'd also say is that...
I've said it all.
When was your last experience with this nonprofit?
Client Served & Attend functions.