Living/Dying Project 1987-1990, 1993
Our grants helped the Living/Dying Project get started in offering conscious, compassionate care for those with life-challenging illnesses as well as transpersonal counseling on a one-to-one basis. During our funding period, numerous volunteers were trained in the principle of compassionate care for the dying. Also the Center Without Walls was established where volunteers would go to the homes of people who were dying, giving spiritual support and comfort.
Commonweal Conference: New Directions in Cancer Care 1987-1998
The Commonweal Conferences explored holistic, multi-dimensional aspects of cancer care, emphasizing mind/body approaches to treating cancer. Presenters included medical educators and innovators, researchers, and holistic practitioners. While providing a forum for discussing the psycho-spiritual dimensions for treating illness, these conferences also attracted leading innovators in the health field from around the globe.
Center for Attitudinal Healing in Tiburon 1987-1992
We funded the Center for 2 different cycles. The first three years was for a cancer support group. The second, under Director Cheryl Daniels-Shohan of Family Services, helped hundreds of families who had a loved one facing cancer. Trained volunteers and staff made home and hospital visits to cancer patients and their families as well as providing telephone support. Founded on compassion and understanding, this program showed how connecting the family in a life-threatening environment promoted healing for everyone affected.
Moving Towards Life 1989-1991, 1995
As a cancer self-help program, its basis was a process using psychokinetic visualization. This included movement, images, and creative self-expression for those facing cancer. A highly innovative program of the Tamalpa Institute, Moving Towards Life made a lasting impact on many of its participants.
Zen Center Hospice 1990-1992
Our funding was used to provide in-house care for indigent cancer patients "who fall through the cracks of the health care system." It also provided community training - an outreach to family members as well as health practitioners providing cancer care. We also funded an innovative workshop, "Cultivating Compassion: a mindful approach to caring for those with chronic and life-threatening illness." Its intent was for participants to learn how to apply the Buddhist practice of mindfulness and compassion when dealing with those in life and death struggles.
Wellspring Center for Life Enhancement 1991-1993
This grant helped fund the design of a pilot project for ethnically diverse groups facing cancer. It provided outreach to churches and synagogues and the training of lay volunteers in listening skills as well as the use of psycho-spiritual approaches for healing. It was a model of life enhancement through stress reduction, attitudinal healing, and self-empowerment.
HOPE Center for Life Enhancement 1991-1993
This grant helped establish the first community-based cancer support center in Rhode Island. Using a psychosocial approach, HOPE emphasized the importance of community in healing. It promoted wellness and improving the quality of life of each participant with cancer through various relaxation techniques.
Voices of Healing 1995-1998
The core of Maureen Redl's program was Storytelling and Story Circles where people met at several locations to share their personal experiences of the healing process, giving hope, inspiration, and emotional sustenance to those who attended. We also helped fund a video project called Voices of Healing featuring the dramatic healing stories of five men and women whose lives had been profoundly changed by their experience with cancer. While still unfinished in its full-length version, a 13-minute piece was released highlighting three stories of self-renewal.
The Mother Bear Video Project 1998
This grant funded the video project Like a Mother Bear as well as the production of a study guide to accompany the video. Conceived by Lynn Feinerman, a prize-winning documentary filmmaker and Helen Stoltzfus, a founding member of the Traveling Jewish Theater, the video - based on Helen's play of the same title - describes her transformational journey through serious illness and her life-changing encounter with a medicine animal, a female grizzly bear, who becomes her chief ally and guardian.
Breast Cancer Oral History Action Project 1996-1999
These grants funded two interrelated projects by Beth Sauerhaft. The first involved low-income, low-literacy women telling their stories around cancer. In addition to the healing benefits (personal meaning, enhanced self-esteem, etc.) of giving an oral history centered on cancer, many of these women were moved to educate and mobilize their respective communities as well as to speak out against political oppression and environmental injustice. The second project was an 8x12 mural painted in vibrant colors with vivid imagery that depicted these women's stories as well as some of their faces. Entitled "Who Holds the Mirror," the traveling mural found enthusiastic audiences in several locations in five states. Accompanying the mural was a multilingual study guide, also funded by the LSF, which included oral histories of participating women.
World of Wisdom Symposium 1999-2000
For 2 years, we helped fund this symposium, as well as one year of video documentation, designed especially to offer support to those facing cancer. The basic intent was to help people, especially those facing cancer, return to their spiritual center through a direct (and cross-cultural) experience emphasizing indigenous healing traditions and experiential workshops. Art and ritual, allowing for group participation, were the focus of the symposia and included such creative activities as music, dance, drumming, and the making of ceremonial prayer flags. Presenters included artists, scientists, healers, and spiritual teachers from different wisdom tradtitions.
Comprehensive Cancer Care: Integrating Complementary and Alternative Therapies 1998-2000
At this nationally recognized conference launched by Dr. James Gordon and the Center for Mind-Body Medicine, the LSF funded numerous presenters as well as scholarships for minority and low-income participants. These yearly conferences brought together those who were doing the most promising research on complementary and alternative therapies for cancer together with the leaders in mainstream cancer care and oncology research. Clinicians, patients, researchers, policy makers, family members and citizen advocates attended. Several Friends of the Lloyd Symington Foundation, including Anna Halprin, Maureen Redl, and Dale Borglum, presented as well.
Holistic Approaches to Cancer Care 1998-2000
This was a pilot project in health education which featured a series of more than 30 workshops over 3 years as well as seminars on Holistic and Alternative Modalities. Offered to people from low-income communities dealing with cancer, these workshops covered a broad spectrum of holistic themes, ranging from Qi Gong and acupuncture to poetry and whole foods nutrition. For ethnically diverse groups of New York City, these workshops provided practical, high-quality information on holistic health and healing as well as hands-on tools that could be used throughout their lives. The intent was for people to become full participants in their healing process.
Ting-Sha Institute 1998-1999
The purpose of our grant was to fund the healing work of Virginia Veach, director of Ting-Sha Institute, a nonprofit educational corporation, which joins art, medicine, and spiritual practice in order to bring greater harmony into the lives of individuals and the institutions of society. Specifically, we funded Virginia to give a number of weeklong retreats to provide group and individual support for cancer patients as well as to provide individual and family therapy during the year. Her work encourages personal exploration through creative writing, spontaneous play, watercolors, and in-depth group sharing.
Healing Adventures 1999-2001
The LSF underwrote the Earth Celebrations' workshops of Healing Adventures for 3 years. From making wreaths to fragrant soaps to collecting herbs, these workshops were designed for cancer patients who were not strong enough for the outdoor adventures. The emphasis was on making simple household products from nontoxic, plant-based substances. Participants had the opportunity to use natural products, share activities with fellow cancer patients, take time out from the anxiety and stress of living with a serious illness, and feel some control over their circumstances when much of life seems out of control. In essence, these workshops aimed to celebrate the healing power of nature.
Charlotte Maxwell Complementary Clinic 1999-2000
Our grant helped to fund volunteer training as well as to establish a new program, the In-Home Hospice Support team - basically a kind of holistic hospice for low-income women with end-stage cancer. Trained volunteers offered their clients acupuncture, Swedish massage, and cranio-sacral therapy while also providing basic domestic services such as housecleaning, shopping, and running errands.
Vermont Healing Tools Project 2000
The Vermont Healing Tools Project, launched in 1991 with the help of seed money from the LSF, received a one-year, follow up grant to support and enhance basic programs. The VHTP included healthcare professionals, cancer survivors, clergy, and psychotherapists who provided care and support at little or no cost to people with cancer - and other critical illnesses - their caregivers, and their loved ones. As the only organization offering cancer support groups for the whole of southeastern Vermont, it supplied a vital and indispensable service at an exceptionally low cost to a mostly poor and rural constituency.
Pediatric Art Therapy Program 2000-2002
We funded Jan Leuschke as a pediatric art therapist under the auspices of the Child Life Services of Children's Hospital of Austin. Almost all the children Jan worked with in the pediatric oncology unit had cancer. Through art, these kids could express their thoughts and feelings amidst the fears and trauma of life-threatening illnesses. They suffered less anxiety and isolation, and communication between family members, frequently strained, improved. Also Jan helped to facilitate two types of group activities for teenagers with cancer - the Hungry Bunch which featured recreational outings such as bowling and roller skating and also a program at Camp Rocky Ridge. In this retreat, teens could do creative activities with their hands such as making masks, butterfly box shrines, and beautiful objects of colored glass.
Integrative Therapies Program 2000-2002
Our grant provided Reiki services for the pediatric oncology patients and their families; it also funded staff training in Reiki techniques at the Babies and Children's Hospital at New York Presbyterian - one of the first programs of its kind in the country. Several hundred kids and family members received Reiki therapy. These treatments made a significant difference in the lives of numerous children and their families. In particular, mothers expressed profound gratitude for the benefits of the program, and the staff experienced an easing of the demands on them as caretakers.
Bosom Buddies of Hawaii 2001-2003
The LSF funded Bosom Buddies of Hawaii for three years to train volunteers in the fundamentals of Healing Touch as well as to provide Healing Touch treatments for over a hundred women at all stages of breast cancer. Treatments occurred once a week for a full year. All clients were matched with volunteers trained in Healing Touch, some of whom worked with three or four clients at a time. As letters of gratitude showed, the program positively and profoundly affected the lives of the women it reached - and on every level from physical to spiritual.
Dances with Wood: Adventure Learning Program 2001, 2003-2004
Our grant funded creative arts for children and adolescents with cancer. As a pilot program, it touched dozens of children. Initially, we supported a program for children undergoing radiation and chemotherapy at the Yale-New Haven Children's Hospital. These kids faced the most frightening and severe forms of cancer. While in the Infusion Therapy Room, they would do simple woodworking projects which consistently eased their suffering and calmed their anxiety. Subsequently, we funded Woody to serve kids in the bone marrow transplant unit where he guided them in building model sailing ships. Woody also coached parents in the proper use of worksheets so that the kids could work on their projects any time. The workbook of simple woodworking projects was designed by Woody Wilkins to be easily replicated in other hospital environments.
Creating Sacred Space 2001-2002, 2004
We funded Michele Rivers to provide workshops for people with cancer and assist them in the creation of individual altars - a sacred space - that they could enjoy at home, for example, as intimate places for prayer and meditation. The space created promoted comfort, insight, and love as well as being a stimulating, personal refuge for people facing cancer. Part of our grant went toward a 15 page instructional booklet to guide people in the design and creation of a sacred space. Michele held workshops at her home as well as at Laguna Honda, a residential hospital in San Francisco. Her program at Laguna Honda enjoyed great success not only with the patients but also with the staff who were amazed at the level of participation by and the effect upon even the most disabled patients.
Book Projects on Brazilian Spiritism 2002-2003
The LSF helped fund the writing, printing, and distribution of two books by Emma Bragdon. Spiritual Alliances: Discovering the Roots of Health at Casa de Dom Inacio describes the basic principles and practices of Spiritist centers in Brazil. The book focuses on the work of Joao de Deus, the celebrated medium and healer, at Casa de Dom Inacio, the most influential spiritist center in Brazil. The second book, Kardec's Spiritism: A Home for Healing and Spiritual Evolution, concerns the Grupo Noel spiritist center in Sao Paolo, Brazil. Starting from the basis of spiritism as a highly influential spiritual philosophy in Brazil, the book aims to inspire health centers from other places in the world to offer free or low-cost services that feature spiritual healing as a central component in the treatment of cancer as well as other diseases.
Art for Recovery - Firefly Project 2003-2005
For each of three years, the LSF helped fund the writing, staging, performing, and videotaping of a docudrama based on monthly letters exchanged over the course of a school year by intergenerational "pen pals." The project matched scores of teenage students from several Marin County schools with adults of all ages diagnosed with life-threatening illnesses - virtually all with cancer. The docudrama was the culmination of the project with students and patients meeting face-to-face and participating together. Each year the performances profoundly moved both audiences and participants. Post-performance evaluations of attendees showed that, for many, awareness was heightened, anger dissolved, isolation eased, and hope renewed.
Poetic Medicine 2003-2005
Our grants helped John Fox lead workshops and follow-up programs in poetry therapy. Scheduled primarily at cancer centers throughout the country, these workshops used poetry to affect the lives of hundreds of caregivers and clients. Creating a kind, low-key, and nonjudgmental setting, John made participants feel safe to express a full spectrum of feelings. They felt permission to be authentically themselves without fear of censorship, and they felt grateful for the deep human connections experienced as part of a caring community - a welcome contrast to the isolation which so often accompanies cancer. We also helped fund a research protocol that attempts to measure the impact of poetic therapy on patient well-being.
Mandala Cancer Project 2003-2005
The LSF funded Judith Cornell, internationally known author and pioneer in mandala therapy, for 3 years to facilitate several workshops that provide a comprehensive set of tools which train the mind in overcoming negative thought patterns, culminating with each individual drawing her own personal Mandala. As a symbol of wholeness and psycho-spiritual integration, personal mandalas served as an opening to self-transformation for many. These workshops also utilized meditation, creative journaling, music and movement leading up to the design and execution of individual mandalas that often produced profound psychological and spiritual shifts. Evaluations by participants showed three primary benefits: a sense of self-discovery or rediscovery; reduction of stress and anxiety; personal empowerment.
Grace in Practice focused on several full-day presentations of music and healing at wellness oncology centers around the country. Primarily reaching cancer patients, their families, and cancer caregivers, the presentations included the playing of original healing music, guided meditations, and practices in being fully present to each moment. Care for the Journey offered nationally replicable resources and programs that educate, sustain, and renew healthcare professionals who face life and death on a daily basis. Both programs focused on opening the hearts of participants and supporting dialogues around death and dying - especially for healthcare professionals.
The International Association for the Study of Dreams 2005
Through weekly and monthly group meetings at several Wellness Community locations, IASD used our grant money to explore, facilitate, and expand the healing impact of dreams on those confronting cancer. Also, IASD put on several workshops specifically on nightmares and how to work with them. As a pilot project, IASD developed a dream work program - that can be replicated in any cancer support community - as well as writing a manual for use by participants and facilitators.
Health, Humor and Hospitals 2005
This grant supported the distribution of uplifting humor to individuals with cancer and to the centers that care for them. The grant includes taping a live performance of When Ivy Push Comes to Shove; editing the performance to become a professional product; duplicating and printing DVD/VHS copies; mailing these to individuals and medical centers.
LifeSpark Cancer Resources (formerly Healing Buddies Program) 2005-2007
The Healing Buddies Program matched volunteer Reiki and Healing Touch providers with cancer patients, who will receive weekly sessions for up to a year. The strategy is to offer the program at medical facilities and oncology offices to enhance the complementary relationship between medical treatments and the Healing Buddies Program.
Institute for the Advancement of Complementary Therapies (I*ACT) 2005-2007
The grant funded the Reiki program at St. Vincent's Comprehensive Cancer Center in New York City where one staff nurse and one nurse practitioner have been trained in Reiki. The beneficiaries of this program will be primarily cancer patients and their families. An introductory Reiki session will be offered to staff members to educate them and to build staff support for the program.
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