Dear Friends and Members of Cancer Connection’s Community,
“Life is a hard battle anyway. If we laugh and sing a little as we fight the good fight of freedom, it makes it all go easier. I will not allow my life's light to be determined by the darkness around me.” A resident of Northampton, Massachusetts, in the 1800s.
Cancer Connection, an organization in Northampton, Massachusetts, that has provided strength and hope for those facing cancer for more than 20 years, is crying. Citizens of our country have annihilated another American soul. To add to the millions of souls that have watered the grounds of our country.
Like many of you, we are crying and can’t stop. We’re shedding tears publicly and privately. We are angry and frustrated. We are in anguish. We are praying and meditating, consoling each another, taking action, and demanding change. Enough is enough.
We remain horrified by the murder of Mr. George Floyd by police officers in Minnesota, by the murder of Mr. Ahmaud Arbery by vigilantes in Georgia, and by the murder of Ms. Breonna Taylor in Kentucky by other police officers.
The Board and staff of Cancer Connection mourn for their families and are sending them our warmest condolences in our shared grief. We pray for their continued strength, hope, and healing, and stand with them.
We stand with the protesters and demand immediate reform to the justice system, followed by action to eliminate our country’s systemic racism and discrimination. We fully commit to the opening statements of our country’s Declaration of Independence, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men (and women) are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
As we move from anguish to action to implement change together, may we remember these words from the Northampton resident,
“I am above eighty years old; it is about time for me to be going. I have been forty years a slave and forty years free and would be here forty years more to have equal rights for all.”
WE ARE HERE. WE CARE.
At Cancer Connection we are talking about these issues, and we want you to know that it’s okay to talk to us about them, too.
If you have worries or concerns, please contact us at 413-586-1642 or email me at
If you have suggestions, we want to hear those, too.
Are you thinking, “Why is Cancer Connection talking to me about this issue? Their job is providing services for those facing cancer and shouldn’t they stay there?”
Great question. And the answer is “no.”
Cancer Connection’s mission is to provide hope and strength for those with cancer, including their family members and caregivers. We stand with them during their diagnosis and along their life’s journey.
We’ve been standing with them during this pandemic as you have read in previous issues because persons facing cancer are vulnerable to this current virus. Sheltering in place or undergoing necessary surgeries. With family, friends, caregivers, and even alone. We are standing with them.
And Cancer Connection’s staff and Board are standing with them now as they too confront these devastating current events while trying to focus on their physical healing.
We are standing with them and with you to ensure residents have access to our programs, services, therapies, and peer support. We are trying to reach those who need our services, but do not know we are here.
Cancer Connection is here for them. We care.
DO YOU KNOW?
Tremendous disparities exist in cancer, as in other areas of life.
African Americans are more likely to be diagnosed with colorectal cancer and multiple myeloma than other groups. They have higher death rates overall from most types of cancer. African American men are twice as likely to die of prostate cancer.
Although fewer African American women are diagnosed with breast cancer, more die from it. They are more likely be diagnosed with aggressive triple negative breast cancer, and not everyone has access to the improved treatments that are starting to be available. But still, all lives do matter.
Difficulties in accessing health insurance, health care, and racism in the medical system compound these problems. A friend of mine (an MIT graduate, an engineer, and very social) requested a test for prostate cancer. His father died from it and he was of the age where a test was necessary. His doctor refused telling him he was too young and he was not showing any symptoms. My friend knew he deserved quality healthcare and - to be taken seriously - and retained another doctor. He was diagnosed with prostate cancer and surgery was planned.Today he will outlive his father.