a haven of strength and hope for over 20 years
Until We're in the Same Room
Sheila Kelley and Elizabeth Cahn testing video conference tool RingCentral
Dear Cancer Connection Community Members

Are you tired of Zoom yet? Are you tired of seeing everyone “through the screen?” Are you missing social support while you go through cancer treatment or help someone else? 

We understand. We want to see you in person, too. And someday, when it’s safe, we will all be back together in the same room again. 

But like every other organization, Cancer Connection has spent the last months learning how to help participants access our free integrative therapies, support groups, and programs. Local people in our community have found them so helpful in dealing with cancer. 

Cancer Connection is using the phone and several different remote conference tools. Our main platform, RingCentral, makes it easy for us to call people and join them into a program. They can still participate even if they can’t use video conferencing or do not have long-distance calling.

We appreciate your patience and understanding while we all learn how to use these new technologies, and we’ll help you figure it out, too. We are providing lots of test meetings for practice and technical support for everyone using RingCentral.

Our Mindfulness program is refreshed with new facilitator Mariah Freemole's deep experience with both meditation and teaching. You or someone you know can treat themselves to a fresh start with mindfulness. Mariah said, for our story on the class, below, "Mindfulness is so good for you, we hear. Lovingkindness is a great practice. But how do you work with fear, with anxiety? Having a greater sense of connection to your inner life and the life around you and achieving some calmness will help you better cope with stress, pain, illness, and worry."

Next time, we'll tell you about Lymphedema: Everything You Wanted to Know But Were Afraid to Ask, two sessions with physical therapist Kathryn Fleming, which starts today and continues in October. Note that with most of our programs, you can still join even if a series has begun. 

Are you, or do you know anyone who is, living with cancer, or caring for someone with cancer? We know that many are feeling more isolated these days. Let us know how we can help you get connected. See our September - October Program round-up below. Please share this far and wide.

As always, for individual support or information about our integrative therapies, support groups, and programs:

• Call our Center at 413-586-1642
• Leave a phone message and available times
• A Befriender will call you back

Stay safe and keep in touch.

My best to all of you,


Elizabeth Cahn, Program Director
41 Locust St.
Northampton, MA 01060
Support That's Free, Local, Accessible:
You Can Secure Our Future Now
How will Cancer Connection provide these supportive, free, local, and accessible services through the pandemic? Despite critical fundraising activities being canceled and curtailed? With your support.

We are so grateful for your donations of funds and volunteer time, birthday fundraisers on Facebook, and gifts through Valley Gives’ Valley Heals campaign. Thank you to those of you who have written back to us with words of encouragement and taken our volunteers’ phone calls. We’re so glad to see you donating to and shopping at our Thrift Shop again.

Have you made your special gift to secure our future? You can provide access to safe and free cancer support today and make sure it’s here for your community when your family, friends, and co-workers need it.
Relaxing into Uncertainty and Change
Here's a warm welcome to Facilitator Mariah Freemole, pictured above, from all of us at Cancer Connection.
Join in community to learn or deepen meditation and other mindfulness practices! This new class with Mariah Freemole will focus on techniques to enhance resilience, cultivate compassion for ourselves and others, develop our ability to relax with uncertainty and change, and simply bring more awareness to everything we do.

Ongoing through October 28th and suitable for all "levels" of experience, no matter when you join, each class will be a great place to start. Mariah said, "No worries about coming in at any time."

Mariah, a former schoolteacher, trained in the Tibetan tradition of Shambhala at the Engaged Mindfulness Institute in Deerfield. The Institute specializes in training those who support individuals in underserved communities, and Mariah's focus is on teaching people who are facing big challenges in life.

Right now, we're hearing daily from people living with cancer about the challenges of dealing with treatment and caregiving in the tough situation we all find ourselves in. Mariah says, "This is really a lot to be dealing with. We’re all facing the unknown in a more tangible way than ever. We have become accustomed and conditioned to feeling like we have so much control over our lives."

For anybody who has meditated, experiencing the thoughts that come up can feel daunting. Mariah assures us that "meditation is not about getting rid of thoughts. It’s about developing a new relationship to them, watching the mind, not fighting against it."

Mariah will help participants "get a little more specific, labeling thoughts: oh, that’s worry, that's a memory." She quoted a meditation standard, "'Name it to tame it."

How will a class go? Mariah will start with a settling or grounding practice at the beginning, check in about what people might have noticed in that initial experience, introduce a concept like how to work with fear, physical pain, and developing our compassion practice, provide time for comments or questions, then "lightly guide" people though a meditation.

"During the silences, people work with coming back to their breath or a sensation. As people become more practiced, they'll have longer periods of silence," she said.
Mariah will address sleepiness during meditation, incorporate a bit of mindful movement, and talk about how to work with fear and anxiety. "Ultimately it’s so what we’re all dealing with right now," Mariah said. "It's exactly what meditation is designed to help us with."
Please Share with Someone You Care About:
Programs & Services Update
Ongoing: Integrative Therapies
Several of our regular integrative therapists provide support by phone. 

We focus on guided imagery and relaxation with two options: 

Calming Strategies and Relaxation Recordings, with Ann Buscemi 

Calming Strategies – Telehealth: phone sessions with Nancy Carter-Price, Peggy Schjeldahl, and Bernadette Nicholson
Ongoing: Support Groups
All Support Groups are meeting on their regular schedules using video- and audio-conferencing tools. Groups include:

  • Living with Advanced Cancer
  • All Cancers (for people diagnosed with any type of cancer) - Northampton and Amherst groups 
  • Living with Breast Cancer
  • Living with Metastatic Breast Cancer
  • Caregivers & Families
  • Men Living with Cancer
  • Ovarian & Gynecological
  • Self-Care Skills and Support
September - October Programs
For specific meeting dates and more information about the first four programs listed, call our Center at 413-586-1642 and leave a phone message and available times. A Befriender will call you back. Or click here to email our program staff.

“Test meetings” for programs will help participants successfully use RingCentral. When you sign up for a program, you will be given information on how to access a test meeting. Tech support is also generally available one half-hour prior to programs offered through RingCentral. Please plan to log in to all meetings at least 5 minutes early. 

Rest to Heal with Jaimee Roncone

DATES: September 14 - October 26 
DAY AND TIME: Mondays, 2 - 3 PM (via Zoom) 

Spirit of the Written Word with Pam Roberts

DATES: September 15 - October 27 
DAY AND TIME: Tuesdays, 2 - 4 PM (via RingCentral) 

Music & Movement with Robin Diamond 

DATES: Ongoing
DAY AND TIME: Thursdays, 11 AM - 12 PM (via Zoom) 

Mindfulness Program with Mariah Freemole 

DATES: September 16 - October 28 
DAY AND TIME: Wednesdays, 9:30 - 10:30 AM (via RingCentral) 

Lymphedema: Everything You Wanted to Know But Were Afraid to Ask, with Kathryn Fleming 

Two sessions with different information 

Session 1 Thursday, September 17 
Session 2 Thursday, October 8
TIME: 1 - 2:15 PM (via Ring Central) 

Death Café with Sarah Malzone

DATE AND TIME: Thursday, September 24, 6 - 7:15 PM (via RingCentral) 
To Access Any of Our Programs and Services


Call our Center
Please leave a phone message with your available times
A Befriender will call you back

Details about our support groups, integrative therapies, programs, and befriending

41 Locust Street, Northampton, MA 01060
Cancer Connection Thrift Shop
Thrift Shop Donations Update

September and October donations will be accepted on 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.