An Hour for Oneself, An Hour for Healing: No-Cost Massage & Reiki Therapy Expanded at the Cancer Resource Center


Healing, Expertise. Comfort. People come to the Carson Tahoe Cancer Center for many reasons. While world-class cancer treatment is at the top of the list, what they receive at the Center is so much more: access to education, support groups, and resources of all kinds, including no-cost complementary therapies, all of which greatly enhance the healing capacity of any treatment plan. Thanks to a grant from the Safeway Foundation, the Cancer Resource Center is expanding their reach, helping more patients than ever before.

While expert massage therapists have been donating therapy hours since the opening of the Center in 2006, the funds from the Safeway grant will support over 200 additional hours of massage therapy this year. Additionally, Reiki will be added to the offerings of the center, all at no cost to the patient.

Reiki is a healing technique based on the principle that the therapist can work with the energy of the patient to promote healing. “Our new Reiki therapist is so excited to bring this opportunity here because Reiki helped her so much when she was a cancer patient. What I love the most is that it gives the patient one hour for themselves. One hour that they can forget about their cancer. It’s a great gift!” said Terra Maddox, Oncology Patient Navigator at the Carson Tahoe Cancer Resource Center.

Many people undergoing cancer treatment find that complementary therapies reduce nausea, pain, fatigue, anxiety, and even depression. In many cases, they report a range of positive outcomes which include better range of movement, improved sleep, greater ability to cope, and enhanced quality of life.

“The benefits I have seen in treating patients with cancer at the resource center are tremendous,” explains Robin Graber, a massage therapist who has been donating her services at the Cancer Resource Center since doors opened 13 years ago. “Massage therapy helps reduce the side effects caused by the cancer itself and/or the treatments for the cancer, improving quality of life and wellbeing. It reduces stress, makes them feel whole again, helps them relax, helps them share feelings and be heard in an informal setting. The cancer makes them feel like their body is an ‘enemy’. The massage helps them regain a sense of positivity and generally feel nurtured, without being poked and prodded. They come out of the room after their massage with a smile on their face, and a sense of gratitude and hope. It’s lovely.”

While this expansion of the complementary therapy program is an exciting new venture for the Carson Tahoe Cancer Center, it is just one of many life-transforming programs that have been made possible by the generous support of the Safeway Foundation. The Safeway Foundation supports many causes nationally and locally. They believe in carefully directing their contributions to organizations who, like themselves, seek to improve the quality of life in the communities they serve and to ensure that those funds stay local. They have identified Carson Tahoe Health as an organization that embodies this mission. Over the past ten years, the Safeway Foundation has awarded the Carson Tahoe Health Foundation grants totaling $171,000.Their support has saved lives in several ways, from underwriting safe, restful, no-cost patient stays at the Merriner Cottages to increasing access to clinical trials and complementary treatments for patients who may have no other options.

“Perhaps the most important thing we do at the Carson Tahoe Cancer Center is remove barriers to care,” explains Jared Carter, Director of the Cancer Center, “Our navigation team uses our financial resources to provide things that may otherwise prevent someone from receiving treatment; things like gas cards, taxi vouchers, cottage stays, co-pay assistance, child care expenses, car repairs, food assistance, utility bill assistance, etc. These seemingly small things can make the difference between someone receiving medical advice/treatment or not.”

Thank you Safeway Foundation for making these healing treatments available to so many during a time when they need it most!

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