Fall Programs Begin: Death Café
& Volunteers Make an Impact
Dear Cancer Connection Community Members

Another month has begun. Happy September! Together, we are still keeping ourselves and one another safe by wearing a mask, social distancing, and washing our hands frequently. And together we are respecting and supporting those who unselfishly serve, heal, and provide for us and thousands of residents daily. “Thank you!”

Are you asking, “What do you mean by the subject line, ‘A time to talk about death - Fall programs?" COVID-19 is requiring us to face more illnesses and deaths in our cities, states, country, and the world than we may have seen before.

Those living with cancer face mortality daily. They feel diverse emotions – many unexpressed or misunderstood. We responded to their need by offering a safe space in the Death Café program. A Death Café offers "time to talk about death” privately, confidentially, and safely. Read more below.

Elizabeth Cahn, Program Services Director, and participant services staff are planning our fall programs. Beginning this month, we’ll feature new options and perennial favorites in this newsletter, on our website, and in our social media.

Volunteers are making an impact

Our dedicated volunteers can’t help in person as they have always done due to the pandemic. Yet, when asked to volunteer remotely for our special campaign to ensure Cancer Connection makes it through 2020, they enthusiastically replied, “yes.”

What are volunteers doing now, during this time of uncertainty for the future of Cancer Connection? As part of our fundraising campaign, 30 volunteers are calling some of our community members who have previously given to Cancer Connection. They are speaking with them about making a special gift to Campaign 2020: Secure Our Future Now. If you receive a call from them over the next few weeks, you’ll know why!

Each volunteer attended a remote training led by our Executive Director Beverly Herbert. Our volunteer callers will bring their compassion, enthusiasm, and love for Cancer Connection to every call. 

Cancer Connection is grateful for every volunteer who supports our center in any way they can – phone calls, mailings, event help, phone bank volunteers, and so much more. They are securing needed services and programs for our community.

Please continue to be safe.

With much love and respect,

Chantal and Beverly
Chantal DuPuis - Event and Volunteer Coordinator
The Reverend Beverly L. Herbert, M.Div., C.F.R.E., Executive Director
41 Locust St.
Northampton, MA 01060
A Chance to Talk Openly: The Death Café
Cancer Connection is offering another Death Café this fall: a gathering to discuss death in a thoughtful, open, non-religious atmosphere.

The goal of the Death Café movement is to "increase awareness of death with a view to helping people make the most of their (finite) lives," according to founder Jon Underwood, who died of cancer in 2017. Death Café is based on the work of Bernard Crettaz. Lizzy Miles, the first person to offer Death Café in the US, said, "...A worldwide, volunteer-based phenomenon, Death Café encourages people to share food, drink, and small-group conversation about death and dying in a comfortable setting free of agenda or ideology." (deathcafe.com)

Since the conversation will happen via video conferencing, we can't serve cake, the traditional refreshment. But we can still offer precious time set aside to talk, led by our caring and experienced facilitator, Sarah Malzone.

Sarah, a longtime Cancer Connection Befriender, said, "I started wanting to talk about death when I was given a cancer diagnosis. I realized, oh, I could die. I had never really thought about dying before in a real way. A lot of people are thinking about it but don't really want to talk about it."

The people we are close to, Sarah said, often don't want to talk about death, even if we do. 

"Going to a Death Café, you can meet other people and talk about it. It doesn't have to be a scary conversation," she said. “The diversity of experiences was something that I got out of the conversations. It's a place for people to share all kinds of ideas, there's no right or wrong about it."
Save the date: Thursday, September 24, 6-7:15pm, via RingCentral.
Call 413-586-1642 to register for this online program.
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41 Locust Street, Northampton, MA

For continued updates about our services, please visit our website:
Cancer Connection Thrift Shop is Open
Thrift Shop Donations Update

September and October donations will be accepted on Sept. 2nd-5th, Sept. 16th-19th, Sept 30th-Oct. 3rd, Oct. 14-17th and Oct 28th-31st DURING THE HOURS OF 10AM-3PM.

Please understand that we are doing our best to accommodate all donors during these dates and times. We may close to donations on Saturday if the storage area gets full.