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Circulo De Vida Cancer Support and Resource Center

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Cancer, Counseling, Health, Mental Health

Mission: Circulo de Vida's mission is to walk alongside Latinos living with cancer and their families as they find their way through the fear, confusion, and uncertainty of a cancer diagnosis. We aim to reduce the devastating effects of a cancer diagnosis by helping Latinos identify coping skills that will support their ability to meet the challenge of a frightening disease.

Results: We've worked very hard over the past four years to keep our doors open. As many non-profits, Circulo has been affected by the poor state of the economy. But we are hanging in and everyone referred to us has received the services they need to make it through a diagnosis of cancer.

Programs: Support Groups for Women, Men & Children Home & Hospital Visits, In-hospital support Individual Counseling Las Angelitas Peer Mentoring In Hospital Support Spanish Lang. Look Good/Feel Better Program Educational classes Resources and Information Program Internships Program Development Facilitator Training Outreach

Community Stories

27 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Circulo de Vida is an incredible organization that has helped so many women, men, and families in our community deal with the challenges of cancer diagnosis, treatment, and survivorship. I have spoken with innumerable women over the years who have recounted how Carmen Ortiz, the Executive Director, and support group members have assisted with information and resources at just the right time. The program is linked with the breast cancer clinic in the public hospital so women learn of Circulo’s services at the point of diagnosis. Carmen and her wonderful staff and volunteers assure that there is a friendly face in clinic to let newly diagnosed Latinas know that they are not alone. Importantly, Circulo offers a range of services for women and their families so that those uncomfortable with support groups can receive one-on-one peer support and in-home visits, while those looking for more social and community support can attend weekly support and educational meetings. The support model developed by Carmen Ortiz at Circulo de Vida has been replicated in other community based organizations across the city, largely because of Carmen’s generosity and commitment to addressing the needs of families dealing with cancer from all communities and backgrounds. Carmen has shared her training materials with other programs, and consulted with those under development. Her work, and that of Circulo, is changing lives and improving our community in essential ways.

Board Member

Rating: 5

Circulo de Vida, and especially, Carmen Ortiz, the organization's Executive Director, has her angel wings awaiting her. I was referred to Carmen when my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer over 20 years ago. My mom was reluctant to participate in any Spanish-language support groups - she did not want to share her innermost thoughts and fears with a group of strangers. By the time the 3rd session came around, my mom could not wait to attend her group sessions! It was the warm, Latina-oriented sessions in her language of comfort that kept her coming back. Thanks to Carmen, the ladies enjoyed excursions to Reno and Yosemite and other celebrations together. My mom's photo, along with others who have perished from this devastating disease, is on their altar. It is because of these joyous memories of Circulo de Vida and the culturally sensitive and respectful care that they give that compelled me to join their board first as a board member and now as the Board President. We host an annual fundraising walk at Stow Lake in Golden Gate Park. A day to remember those who have entered into the spirit world and those who continue to battle against it. We are blessed to have such a wonderful organization in our midst to provide the emotional support that is so badly needed in our communidad. Que viva Circulo de Vida!! Gracias, Circulo de Vida!!

Donor

Rating: 5

I was first introduced to Circulo De Vida in 2007 when my Mom was diagnosed with cancer as a source of support and resources. I soon learned that there is a large Latino community that was being served and aided by this small (but growing) center. I never realized so many Spanish speaking individuals and families would not know what services were out there for them if it wasn't for Circulo De Vida. In 2009, my Mother passed away from this heartbreaking illness but I have vowed to help support Circulo De Vida so that they could continue the excellent work they do for victims and families of this illness. They have truely made outstanding contributions for peoples affected by cancer. Keep up the superb work!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have known Circulo de Vida for almost 10 years. It's an extraordinary organization! They provide emotional support, education on cancer issues, and resources to Latino cancer patients and their families both in English and Spanish. They also provide counseling for children, in-home care, in-hospital care and end-of-life care. Circulo de Vida has created a network with other organizations in order to work together to ease the burden of cancer in the Bay Area Latino population.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

A cancer diagnosis is devasting on a family. Imagine receiving that diagnosis and not fully understanding because you do not speak the language and you feel you have no where to turn.
Circulo de Vida gives people a place to turn for real information and support. They are an essential service for the SF community. Thank you to all the volunteers who work to maintain this center!

Anna48

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Circulo de Vida has touched the lives of many Latinos experiencing the anguish of cancer. They provide cancer support services to the most needy and at no charge. They rely sole on the generosity of others. Please consider making a donation and encoring your social networks to contribute. They provide counseling for children, men, women, in-home care, in-hospital care and end-of-life care.

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Circulo de Vida (CDV) is an invaluable asset to Latino families in the San Francisco Bay Area who have been affected by cancer. They are the most comprehensive psychosocial health service provider for Latinos with cancer and their families. They have helped numerous Latinos navigate their way through the diagnostic, treatment and survivorship phases of cancer. They have a wonderful center that is open to all and extremely welcoming. Spanish-speaking Latinos are diagnosed at later stages, with worse cancers and have worse quality-of-life and more distress than Whites and CDV is doing much to address these disparities. They never charge a fee for their services and really need your support in any way or amount that you are able to provide.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have known of Circulo de Vida for at least 5 years. It is a great resource to Latina women and men with cancer and their families. They provide emotional support, information, and resources. Carmen and her 'angelitas' (little angels - peer support counselors) are dedicated to helping people affected by cancer. They do not charge for their services - so their doors are open to everyone. It's a great organization!

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Over the years as someone who works in behavioral cancer research I have had the opportunity in the context of patient interviews to hear first hand how Circulo de Vida transforms the lives of cancer patients and their families. By creating a supportive community, accompanying patients from a cancer diagnosis through whatever path the disease takes, patients feel strengthened. Being part of an organization that provides comprehensive social services, they feel seen and heard, they feel their dignity restored and no longer feel defined nor limited by a disease. I’ve seen patients thrive before and after reaching remission under the support of Circulo de Vida and I’ve known people who have departed due to cancer. In all these cases the time patients spent as part of this community brought happiness at a difficult time, peace in the midst of despair, and the certitude that they will not be forgotten.
Claudia Guerra

Frances10

General Member of the Public

Rating: 4

After having worked with many non-profit organizations in the SF Bay Area who address the issue of cancer for Spanish-speaking women, this one stands out! Circulo de Vida Cancer Support and Resource Center is located in the heart of the community, has bilingual staff that is culturally competent on the issue of cancer and understands the important role of familia.

They provide clients with accurate, up-to-date and thorough information and support.

Lorretta

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Circulo de Vida is a haven of support and information for Latina women and their families facing cancer. The staff are professional and compassionate, no one is turned away.
Dr. Carmen Ortiz is the unflagging energy who keeps everything moving.

This organization was the first to provide counseling and medical stewardship to the Latino community and is being emulated by local community groups. Dr. Ortiz acts as a consultant to answer questions and provide direction for new and ongoing groups.

Having visited the clinic, I can tell you the sense of warmth, support and professionalism makes you feel relieved, relaxed and welcomed the moment you walk in.

This is a service that truly holds the patient as the most important part of the equation. It deserves monetary support to be able to expand these most needed services.


Previous Stories

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have known Carmen Ortiz for 30 years and was with her when she went through her battle with breast cancer. She was, as always, brave and focused, finding out all she could about her particular type of cancer. At that time resources were scarce and physicians were not accustomed to having a patient ask questions and demand answers. Carmen did both. When she heard about the limited resources for Spanish speaking Latinas, she went into action. Carmen used her own breast cancer experience to help and guide non-English speaking Latinas find their way through the maze of treatment options and a complex and bewildering medical system. She is truly an amazing person.

Roger28

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am the grandson on my beloved grandmother who provides a huge helping hand to Circulo De Vida, every chance i get i try to volunteer and help out for the breast cancer cause. Every time i have volunteered i had a great time met beautifully spirited cancer patients, survivors and other volunteers. The energy that Circulo De Vida provides for these women is unmatched, it gives diagnosed, recovering and even women who do not have breast cancer a place to go and feel accepted and be able to talk to other women about their experiences. Circulo de Vida provides information for women who are not completely aware of breast cancer or how to detect it. They are very much so involved in the community and want every woman in the area to know about their bodies. Overall the organization is a very helpful one, its brings light to those who live in darkness and i hope that this organization stays around for many more decades.

Donor

Rating: 5

Circulo de Vida is a one of a kind nonprofit serving a vital sector of our Bay Area Community with compassion. By supporting Latina cancer survivors, their children and families in a culturally sensitive and appropriate way, CDV has led the charge for this kind of service for over 20 years. Our Latino community faces considerable challenges when diagnosed, but Executive Director Carmen Ortiz walks with them throughout process and then stays with them by providing a circle of supportive peers going through similar experiences. The CDV community is a wonder to behold: they give back to each other over and over again.

Zoila

Client Served

Rating: 5

When my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer many years ago, she felt alone and scared even though she had the support of family and friends she still felt alone and confused. During one of her many treatments she was talking to a women who was with Circulo de Vida so my mom and the lady kept close contact and the lady came out to visit my mom at her home and she shared her battle she had with breast cancer, my mom was able to understand that she was not the only one going through the tough time she was able to cope and understand her cancer.

My family and I thank Carmen Ortiz and Circulo de Vida for all the support they provided for my and our family. I love you guys!!!

I am proud to say that my mom Maria Rubio can share her story with others and is able to help and provide the support they need to get through their tough times.

Keep up the great work!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I enjoyed volunteering at circulo de vida as I know that I am helping my community and at the same time honoring my abuelita who was a recipient of Circulo de Vida's spanish language cancer support services.

Elizabeth116

Board Member

Rating: 5

I recently joined the Board of Circulo de Vida and was drawn by their presence in the Community and to know that the staff really share their time to work with their patients and are truly dedicated to their well being. I was impressed with Venecia who is our teen counselor who is compassionate and is incredible with the children considering their illness and their families. To be working with staff that care and do their best to bring funding for our cancer patients is very important to us all

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

CDV has been a longstanding community partner of San Francisco General Hospitals' Comprehensive Breast Care Program. Under Carmen Ortiz's superb leadership, our interdisciplinary breast clinic has been able to expand seamless breast cancer patient navigation and emotional support services for our Latina patients with a more personalized and culturally relevant approach. After receiving a diagnosis of breast cancer, CDV bridges the gap for a patient in need of a closer connection to their own community resources with both group and 1:1 based emotional and practical support. This peer-based model has been highly successful and we are so fortunate to work in partnership with Carmen and her team in ensuring that breast cancer survivorship needs are being met at multiple levels.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I had the greatest pleasure of interning with Circulo de Vida for my graduate school practicum, and could not feel more fortunate to have had that experience. From Carmen, the clinical staff, the volunteers, and the incredible, inspiring clients (past and present), I feel forever blessed CDV came into my life. I will forever be impacted from my experience working there, and will carry a special place for this organization in my heart always. There is something so special and unique about CDV, especially given how scarce resources are in a city that should be filled with them. CDV fills that void with their enormous heart. Thank you for the experience and the shared moments with everyone a part of CDV!

Board Member

Rating: 5

Circulo de Vida is quite an exceptional and welcoming haven for those directly or indirectly affected by cancer. I've had the privilege to see first hand the immense positive impact our services have on the SF Bay Area community. Seeing the volunteers, community members and Circulo members coming together every year to fundraise and advocate for our cause, is a clear sign that we are living up to our mission "...to walk alongside Latinos living with cancer and their families as they find their way through the fear, confusion, and uncertainty of a cancer diagnosis. We aim to reduce the devastating effects of a cancer diagnosis by helping Latinos identify coping skills that will support their ability to meet the challenge of a frightening disease."

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Circulo de Vida is a place where survivors and people with cancer come for upliftment and encouragement. They become empowered by others who are experiencing the same turmoil and have the courage to face this dreaded disease.
Circulo de Vida is a safe place where Latinos with cancer feel heard and their emotions and feelings validated. THANK YOU CIRCULO DE VIDA!

Client Served

Rating: 5

I am a cancer suvivor and for the past 12 years I have had the help of Circulo de Vida, I don't know how my life could have been without the support of other survivors as well as the wonderful staff, I received a lot information to continue with hope and knowledge regarding this terrible illness. Thenk you Circulo for the great support.