A cancer diagnosis is an invitation to a club no one wants to join. Cancer patients are catapulted down an unknown path darkened by fear, sadness, and anger. They may be navigating treatment options and insurance issues while struggling to balance work and family life with recovery and rest. The feeling of overwhelm can be paralyzing. Located in Hyannis, the Cape Wellness Collaborative is helping people face cancer across Cape Cod by harnessing the power of connection and community.
Integrative Wellness Therapies and Support for Anyone in our Community Facing Cancer
Approximately 2,100 people are diagnosed with cancer each year on Cape Cod. Many will seek integrative therapies to manage pain and nausea, reduce anxiety and increase well-being during their illness. But most of these therapies – acupuncture, massage, energy work, yoga, nutritional counseling, and more — are not covered by insurance. The Cape Wellness Collaborative is helping people face cancer by connecting them with local practitioners who provide these therapies free of charge.
Anyone undergoing or recovering from radiation and/or chemotherapy and cancer-related palliative care is eligible for services. Cape Wellness Collaborative also serves people with positive genetic testing results for inherited cancer risk who are undergoing prophylactic surgery. Clients receive a Wellness Card valued at $500. The card serves as payment among more than 90 vetted local wellness professionals who offer a range of integrative therapies such as nutrition counseling, meditation, Reiki, Pilates, routine foot care, caregiver support, and cranial sacral treatments.
“This is a great example of a circular economy,” said Abigail Field, CEO of the Cape Wellness Collaborative. Cape Wellness Collaborative is helping people face cancer while supporting the local small businesses owned by participating practitioners. In addition to providing access to therapeutic practitioners, Cape Wellness Collaborative provides delicious, nutrient-dense meals to cancer patients and their caregivers through its Wellness Eats Program. The meals are free-of-charge and are provided in addition to the $500 wellness card.
Field shared that “reluctance is often the thing that keeps people from reaching out for help. Sometimes we need to let them know that it is ok to accept our services. They are often so stunned and struggling to manage strong feelings of grief. They can feel uncomfortable asking for and receiving this type of care. We remind them that there will be many opportunities in the future to pay it forward, but right now, it is ok to need support.”
The Cape Wellness Collaborative Story
In 2012, local musician Sarah Swain was inspired to make a difference in her community after losing her mother to ovarian cancer. She created the Cape Cod Women’s Music Festival, fulfilling a decades-long dream of celebrating women in music. The festival has grown to be among the most popular annual events on the Cape and serves as a fundraiser for the Cape Wellness Collaborative, also founded by Sarah in 2014. Sarah served as Executive Director for Cape Wellness Collaborative until 2018. Since its inception, Cape Wellness Collaborative has partnered with 90 licensed and insured practitioners to help more than 1,500 people facing cancer on Cape Cod. Cape Wellness Collaborative’s Wellness Eats Program has provided over 6,100 meals to clients and caregivers.
How Can Someone Apply for Services?
Individuals interested in Cape Wellness Collaborative (CWC) Programs can apply for services on the CWC website: https://www.capewellness.org/services. Friends and families can also contact CWC to make referrals.
Does Cape Wellness Collaborative Provide Caregiver Services?
Cape Wellness Collaborative offers weekly caregiver support groups in person and via Zoom. Adult caregivers are also eligible to receive meals through the Wellness Eats Program. Their website also lists a host of healthy nutrient-rich recipes available for cancer patients, their caregivers or anyone seeking healthy nutrition.
How Can I Support Cape Wellness Collaborative?
One-time or monthly donations of any size are meaningful and welcome and can be made online here: https://capewellness.app.neoncrm.com/forms/15. Cape Wellness Collaborative will host a brand-new fundraising event in March of 2023, “The Second Chance Prom,” which promises to be a lot of fun. Details will be available on their website. And, of course, the wildly popular annual Cape Cod Music Women’s Festival is held each September. It is a joyful community event and a fantastic way to see a collection of incredible musicians.
The Remarkable Gift of Community Care
The Cape Wellness Collaborative model is unique to Cape Cod, but the organization’s leadership plans to partner with other communities to offer consultation services across the country. We frequently hear stories about families spread far and wide and a cultural shift toward isolation and away from the warm embrace of our communities. The Cape Wellness Collaborative is helping people face cancer by reinvigorating the gifts of meaningful connection and a collective identity while providing access to vital therapeutic services. It is the best medicine.