My Nonprofit Reviews
S A Wilkinson
Review for Simonton Cancer Counseling Center Charitable Trust, Malibu, CA, USA
In the Fall of 2010, my partner and I attended a Simonton Cancer Center retreat in California. Jenny had had two, six month rounds of chemo, the latter of which had ended on May 10, 2010. Just four months later, in September, we learned that the markers for her ovarian cancer were elevating.
I had heard about the Simonton Cancer Center previously, and with this news it was apparent that she needed help - help beyond attempting to kill the nasty cells with a chemical cocktail. We were both extremely distraught; in fact, we were 'wound up' as tight as a drum. And so we made the call to the Simonton Center. As it turns out, that was the best decision we could have made. Nine days later we found ourselves in Montecito, California, in the company of other patients and their caregivers, and the facilitators of the program - the most beautiful, compassionate, and knowledgeable people you could imagine.
The introductory session on the evening we arrived, set the tone for the week. As the days rolled on, we became more relaxed, more hopeful (though I want to stress that at no time is any false hope EVER offered), more positive. We learned strategies to help us deal with the stresses associated with the illness. We learned about how our emotions influence the biochemical responses within our bodies. We learned about the importance of having fun.
We shared, we laughed, we cried. And it was one of the most memorable weeks in the lives of both of us. When we returned home, we were so much calmer and relaxed. We had a different perspective of our lives and of Jenny's illness. Our friends and family noticed the change in both of us.
Jenny passed away in July of 2011. The Simonton program started a process for both of us that led us, in her final few months, to a place of peace and acceptance - a feeling that I hold to this day. Though Jenny's life did not go on too much longer, the quality of her life was greatly enhanced. My life has changed forever. And it all started in a lounge room in Montecito, California.
Attending the Simonton program is THE best thing we could ever have done. I am so grateful for having had this experience, as was Jenny.
Sharon Wilkinson, Victoria, British Columbia
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