By Michelle Cohen
A cancer diagnosis is no walk in the park – but many people think they can handle the diagnosis, treatment and aftermath on their own. But research says otherwise – it has been proven that to have the most success in combating cancer, we need to be strong physically, mentally and emotionally.
To learn more about what helps make people strong so they can face cancer with confidence, join the Women's Division of the Jewish Federation and the Cancer Support Community of the Greater Lehigh Valley for an interactive Lunch & Learn on April 27 at 12 p.m. at the JCC of the Lehigh Valley.
The lunch and learn, entitled “Facing Cancer with Confidence,” will feature Jen Sinclair, program director of the Cancer Support Community of the Greater Lehigh Valley. The organization, designed to “provide support, education and hope to anyone affected by cancer,” offers many free services to the community, including “a variety of programs, support groups, education programs and stress reduction,” Sinclair said.
Unlike previous lunch and learns, this event will include several activities that participants will be able to choose from. From gentle exercises and healthy eating tips to different modes of creative expression, the mini workshops will enable participants to make positive changes in their lives, whether or not they have cancer.
At the first station, which will be focused on nutrition, a dietitian will share information and prepare a simple recipe from “The Cancer Fighting Kitchen” by Rebecca Katz that focuses on utilizing foods with natural immune-boosting capabilities. For those affected by cancer, these foods can have a variety of positive effects: “[these foods] help with fatigue and side effects, and helps to arm them with what they need to fight against the disease and boost their immune system,” Sinclair said.
The second station will review the benefits of yoga, meditation and light stretching, focusing on “empowering” exercises like learning how to “use the warrior pose, hold good posture, open your heart and face the day,” Sinclair said. “[The instructor] is going to tie in not only the fighting side, but also the be-kinder-to-yourself side. Sometimes we have a tough exterior because we have to, because we’re facing challenges, but having a tough exterior while also being gentle, kind and compassionate to yourself aids healing.”
Finally, participants at the third station will do a brief yoga session followed by meditation and coloring a mandala with the help of an art therapist. Coloring the mandala with “an artistic representation of colors, themes and thoughts that came up for them in the meditation” can help people process their thoughts and feel “peaceful and inspired,” Sinclair said. This exercise can be beneficial for people with chronic pain, among other illnesses.
Through these three stations, one theme runs clear: “Our goal for the day is to help revitalize and refresh and have fun as people are doing something good for their immune system, body and mind,” Sinclair said.
Lisa Fraenkel, Lunch & Learn chair, added, “It seems that everyone has been touched by cancer in some way. Some have been affected themselves or have seen friends or family affected. Please join us for this important, informative program to learn strategies in coping with this disease.”
Program is $12, including lunch, and is open to men and women. To register, call 610-821-5500 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.