Megan Corridor: Yearly, the Most cancers Group Awards, sponsored by AstraZeneca, presents a person or group with the President’s Award. This award acknowledges those that are making a significant impression 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 Group 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 looks like a blur, however we’ll attempt to break it out a bit bit.
Corridor: Once you clarify the Most cancers Assist Group 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 prognosis, and it’s a spot the place they’ll develop into 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 help 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 fairly 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 begin with, I need to say it was a very long time in the past, so issues have modified dramatically, each when it comes to therapy and when it comes to psychosocial help. However when she was recognized with breast most cancers, she had a radical mastectomy, and there have been no help providers for her. She simply had the surgical procedure, and he or she was anticipated to go on along 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 just like what she had gone by way of. So it was very isolating and lonely and difficult for her, despite the fact that we, as her household, tried to do what we may. 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 Group was with the ability to create a spot the place folks may get that help, the place they might study therapy choices, the place they might 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 may have benefited from the Most cancers Assist Group, what do you assume she would’ve carried out there? How would you’ve set her up with emotional and social help?
Stauffer: Effectively, my mom didn’t like to speak about issues that have been non-public or emotional. However I might actually attempt to get her arrange in a help 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 get pleasure from a few of the social connections that we now have. For instance, we now have a no-talent expertise present yearly, and I feel she would’ve liked the silliness and the enjoyable and the creativity associated to that.
Corridor: However she really had expertise. She may’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 neighborhood, that have along with your mom?
Stauffer: That’s actually part of it, however as a wedding and household therapist working within the well being enviornment, I’ve seen over and over 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 mentioned that not addressing the emotional and social elements of most cancers care is like paying for an costly automotive and never placing any gasoline in it. Do you thoughts explaining that a bit bit?
Stauffer: Effectively, medical therapy is extremely necessary, in fact. However we additionally know that there are such a lot of different elements that contribute as to if or not any person does properly going by way of most cancers therapy. The psychosocial facet is vital. When 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 came upon you’d gained?
Stauffer: It was very humbling, I suppose, before everything, 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 would like to have the ability to do is assist anyone impacted by most cancers, who’s in our geographic space, who desires our providers. That further publicity has been essential. And there’s additionally the truth that there was a monetary piece to the award, and that makes a big distinction in our capability to offer the providers freed from cost.
Corridor: Did the award create any new connections or make it easier to community with different folks doing thrilling work within the most cancers neighborhood?
Stauffer: We’ve already been very linked with the entire different most cancers providers in our space, however I feel getting that award reminded folks about our providers and what we do and possibly put us extra entrance of thoughts.
Corridor: I perceive you’re a decide 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 completely different Catalyst Award areas. It’s such a beautiful factor to see all of the completely different work that’s being carried out, each when it comes to therapy advances, but in addition when it comes to reaching individuals who’ve historically been underserved, serving to people who find themselves in additional distant areas get hooked as much as most cancers help and providers. It’s simply very gratifying to see all of the fantastic issues which can be being carried out to help folks whereas they’re going by way of therapy.
Corridor: One of many distinctive issues about these awards is they carry collectively folks from all completely different elements of the most cancers neighborhood. Why do you assume that’s necessary?
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 completely different work to assist people who find themselves coping with most cancers. Having the ability to join with different organizations, different hospital teams, different instructional establishments, different non-profits that present such vital help, it’s an effective 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 person who I’m chatting with. A part of the neighborhood that we create at Most cancers Assist Group is that reference to one another and with the ability to hug any person, 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 chortle collectively in the identical room and really feel that camaraderie and connection much more deeply than we will really feel it after we’re on a platform like Zoom.
Corridor: Effectively, Margaret Stauffer, thanks a lot for taking the time to speak with me as we speak.
Stauffer: Thanks. You made it straightforward.
Corridor: Margaret Stauffer is the Chief Mission Officer of the Most cancers Assist Group within the San Francisco Bay Space. In 2021, she obtained the President’s Award from the Most cancers Group Awards, a part of the AstraZeneca YOUR Most cancers program. YOUR Most cancers brings collectively the neighborhood that’s working to drive significant change in most cancers care. Go to YourCancer.org to study 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 help of the AstraZeneca YOUR Most cancers program.
For extra exceptional tales from the 2021 Winners of the Most cancers Group Awards, go to our Heroes of Cancer Care collection.
[The above text is a transcript of this podcast.]