Megan Corridor: Yearly, the Most cancers Neighborhood Awards, sponsored by AstraZeneca, presents a person or group with the President’s Award. This award acknowledges those that are making a significant influence within the lives of most cancers sufferers. In 2021, Margaret Stauffer obtained the President’s Award for her work because the Chief Mission Officer of the Most cancers Assist Neighborhood within the San Francisco Bay Space. As we ready for this 12 months’s awards, we reconnected with Margaret to listen to extra about what’s occurred since she obtained the award. Effectively, Margaret Stauffer, it’s such a pleasure to get an opportunity to speak to you. I can’t wait to listen to what you’ve been as much as the previous 12 months.
Margaret Stauffer: Thanks. It seems like a blur, however we’ll attempt to break it out a bit bit.
Corridor: If you clarify the Most cancers Assist Neighborhood to individuals who’ve by no means heard of it and individuals who aren’t a part of the most cancers world, how do you clarify it to them?
Stauffer: I say it’s a spot the place folks can come collectively and join with others who perceive what it’s wish to be coping with a most cancers analysis, and it’s a spot the place they’ll turn out to be knowledgeable and empowered as they’re going by way of most cancers therapy and past. It’s additionally a spot for family members to get assist for what they’re going by way of, in addition to the affected person.
Corridor: I perceive that your mom went by way of a reasonably brutal expertise when she was recognized with most cancers. Do you thoughts telling me a bit bit about that have and the way it knowledgeable your work?
Stauffer: Certain. To start with, I need to say it was a very long time in the past, so issues have modified dramatically, each by way of therapy and by way of psychosocial assist. However when she was recognized with breast most cancers, she had a radical mastectomy, and there have been no assist providers for her. She simply had the surgical procedure, and he or she was anticipated to go on together with her life.
However her life was impacted tremendously by that. She was a pianist. She needed to cope with lymphedema in her arm that made that tough. She didn’t know anyone else that had gone by way of one thing much like what she had gone by way of. So it was very isolating and lonely and difficult for her, though we, as her household, tried to do what we might. However we didn’t actually perceive both on the time what the impacts have been.
What actually drew me to the work at Most cancers Assist Neighborhood was with the ability to create a spot the place folks might get that assist, the place they may study therapy choices, the place they may really feel a way of reference to different individuals who know what it’s wish to be coping with this.
Corridor: In case your mom might have benefited from the Most cancers Assist Neighborhood, what do you assume she would’ve achieved there? How would you will have set her up with emotional and social assist?
Stauffer: Effectively, my mom didn’t like to speak about issues that have been personal or emotional. However I might actually attempt to get her arrange in a assist group, as a result of I feel she would actually have loved being with different folks and speaking about their experiences. And I might’ve additionally wished her to entry a few of our wholesome way of life courses, to check out a yoga class or a Qigong session, and to take pleasure in among the social connections that we’ve got. For instance, we’ve got a no-talent expertise present yearly, and I feel she would’ve beloved the silliness and the enjoyable and the creativity associated to that.
Corridor: However she really had expertise. She might’ve performed the piano.
Stauffer: She did have expertise. She wouldn’t have been within the no-talent class.
Corridor: Is that what has impressed you over these so a few years working within the most cancers group, that have along with your mom?
Stauffer: That’s definitely part of it, however as a wedding and household therapist working within the well being area, I’ve seen time and again the toll that bodily sickness takes on households and actually need to have an effect on that, and discover higher methods of serving to folks get by way of that have.
Corridor: You’ve stated that not addressing the emotional and social points of most cancers care is like paying for an costly automotive and never placing any fuel in it. Do you thoughts explaining that a bit bit?
Stauffer: Effectively, medical therapy is extremely essential, after all. However we additionally know that there are such a lot of different elements that contribute as to whether or not any individual does effectively going by way of most cancers therapy. The psychosocial facet is important. In the event you’re getting nice medical therapy, however you’re actually depressed, and also you don’t get to your physician’s appointment since you don’t really feel like getting away from bed, that’s not going to assist.
Corridor: You obtained the President’s Award a couple of 12 months in the past. What did it imply to you once you discovered you’d received?
Stauffer: It was very humbling, I suppose, at the start, as a result of I do know there are such a lot of folks doing nice work throughout the most cancers area. I felt very moved and touched by it. I’ve devoted 30 years of my life to this work. Having that recognition felt very particular.
Corridor: How has the award modified your life or modified the work of your group?
Stauffer: Effectively, I feel it’s helped to extend the visibility of our group. And one of many issues we wish to have the ability to do is assist anyone impacted by most cancers, who’s in our geographic space, who desires our providers. That extra publicity has been essential. And there’s additionally the fact that there was a monetary piece to the award, and that makes a big distinction in our potential to offer the providers freed from cost.
Corridor: Did the award create any new connections or show you how to community with different folks doing thrilling work within the most cancers group?
Stauffer: We’ve already been very linked with all the different most cancers providers in our space, however I feel getting that award reminded folks about our providers and what we do and perhaps put us extra entrance of thoughts.
Corridor: I perceive you’re a choose this time round. With out giving something away, what struck you in regards to the nominees this 12 months?
Stauffer: I used to be so impressed by the nominees for the 4 totally different Catalyst Award areas. It’s such an exquisite factor to see all of the totally different work that’s being achieved, each by way of therapy advances, but in addition by way of reaching individuals who’ve historically been underserved, serving to people who find themselves in additional distant areas get hooked as much as most cancers assist and providers. It’s simply very gratifying to see all of the great issues which might be being achieved to assist folks whereas they’re going by way of therapy.
Corridor: One of many distinctive issues about these awards is they convey collectively folks from all totally different components of the most cancers group. Why do you assume that’s essential?
Stauffer: Effectively, I feel there’s a synergy that occurs once you’re connecting with different folks, who’re doing both comparable work or new and totally different work to assist people who find themselves coping with most cancers. With the ability to join with different organizations, different hospital teams, different academic establishments, different non-profits that present such important assist, it’s a good way of studying from one another and supporting one another.
Corridor: As we look ahead to, probably, a future that’s much less centered on COVID, what are you trying ahead to? What provides you hope?
Stauffer: I’m trying ahead to being in the identical room with the individual that I’m chatting with. A part of the group that we create at Most cancers Assist Neighborhood is that reference to one another and with the ability to hug any individual, with the ability to supply them a field of tissues in the event that they’re having a tough time, of with the ability to snicker collectively in the identical room and really feel that camaraderie and connection much more deeply than we will really feel it once we’re on a platform like Zoom.
Corridor: Effectively, Margaret Stauffer, thanks a lot for taking the time to speak with me right now.
Stauffer: Thanks. You made it simple.
Corridor: Margaret Stauffer is the Chief Mission Officer of the Most cancers Assist Neighborhood within the San Francisco Bay Space. In 2021, she obtained the President’s Award from the Most cancers Neighborhood Awards, a part of the AstraZeneca YOUR Most cancers program. YOUR Most cancers brings collectively the group that’s working to drive significant change in most cancers care. Go to YourCancer.org to be taught extra in regards to the C2 award winners and the YOUR Most cancers program.
This podcast was produced by Scientific American Customized Media and made doable by way of the assist of the AstraZeneca YOUR Most cancers program.
For extra exceptional tales from the 2021 Winners of the Most cancers Neighborhood Awards, go to our Heroes of Cancer Care collection.
[The above text is a transcript of this podcast.]