Throughout the month of September, we turn our attention to Childhood Cancer Awareness. Childhood cancer can leave a wake of devastation in its path as families experience immense worry, financial turmoil, and all too often, the heartbreak of losing a child. According to the American Childhood Cancer Organization, 15,780 children under 21 years of age are diagnosed with cancer every year.
In his 2012 proclamation, President Obama shared the good news that the five year survival rate for all childhood cancers has risen to 80% — a great increase from the 50% survival rate just a few decades ago. Each year important research allows for advances in detection and treatment of childhood cancers.
CANCER AND DEPRESSION
While treatments, such as chemotherapy, can take charge of healing a patient’s body, often times, the patient’s mental health and emotional well-being are adversely affected. Depression and anxiety are common for people with cancer, as well as for their family members and loved ones. Acknowledging the possibility for post-diagnosis depression in cancer patients is extremely important because patients who experience depression are at risk for failing to comply with their treatment plans, encountering reduced quality of life, and becoming isolated from family members and caregivers, all of which can affect their mortality.
Abundant research has been conducted into the science of healing spaces. For example, in this TED video, Dr. Esther Sternberg discusses the effect our surroundings – especially hospitals – can have on our mental and physical well-being. Numerous elements have the ability to affect our mood and health, such as scents, color, the inclusion (or not) of nature, types and levels of lighting, and sounds or noises. Adjusting these sensory experiences can reduce blood pressure, induce relaxation, and even lower perceived pain.
ROOMS THAT ROCK 4 CHEMO
Rooms That Rock 4 Chemo is a San Francisco-based non-profit organization dedicated to creating more of these significant healing spaces by transforming existing chemotherapy treatment rooms, which are almost always cold, stoic and uninviting, into treatment centers that truly promote all aspects of healing. Their mission is to create positive, healing, lovely and uplifting spaces that spiritually, emotionally, and physically support those dealing with challenges to their health. With a community of volunteers, designers, artists, and medical professionals, they have drastically improved chemo treatment centers – over 150 rooms — across the United States. Rooms That Rock 4 Chemo’s work is also 100% volunteer created!
Supporting the physical and mental health of youth and their families is important to us and we are delighted to include Rooms That Rock 4 Chemo as one of our newest grant recipients. On the first of November, we will be joining Rooms That Rock 4 Chemo for their inaugural fundraising gala in San Francisco, and we are excited to have the opportunity to visit some of their amazing healing spaces. We are looking forward to seeing this incredible organization in action and can’t wait to share our experience with you!
To learn more about RoomsThatRock4Chemo please visit http://roomsthatrock4chemo.org/