Community Helping Community

Community Helping Community

Veronica Tovey, the president and publisher of What’s Up? Media is one of the staunchest, most longstanding supporters of the mission and vision of Wellness House of Annapolis. And she has been from the beginning.

A former board member, Tovey’s relationship with Wellness House started at the organization’s infancy, when Dr. Kelly Sullivan, founder of Wellness House, shared with her the signature story behind the Wellness House: a little boy in an oncology waiting room asking if his mother, diagnosed with breast cancer, was going to die.

“That just broke my heart. I’m a mother, and I’m a grandmother,” Tovey said. “It broke my heart, and I wanted to do what I could to help.”

That touchpoint was the impetus for Wellness House, which serves whole families touched by cancer, not just the patient. Tovey got involved in the program right away, serving on the board and helping drive the conversation locations to find a home for Wellness House to call its own.

What started as a safe place for children to speak and learn about their parents’ diagnoses evolved into a family affair, almost by accident, shortly after Wellness House took up residence in its current location at Mas Que Farm.

At that time, the main program was an opportunity for children to come and ask questions about their parents living with cancer, with an expert helping guide the conversation. Their fathers would come to drop the children off, and many would stay while the children went upstairs. That group of fathers, whose wives were battling cancer, quickly became a support community, demonstrating the need for supporting all people touched by cancer, not just children.

“The first week the fathers just kind of hung around, and they talked a little bit more. And by the third night, they were all talking,” said Tovey, recalling what she observed as she was cleaning up after a group dinner. “It was mind-altering to me. One of the fathers said, ‘You know, I don’t know how to handle this. But I feel gypped. I feel gypped.’ And my ears perked up, wondering how he felt gypped, when it was his wife who had lost both of her breasts. And he said, ‘I don’t know how to handle it. I can’t talk to her about it.” And one of the other men said he’d had the same experience.

“They started talking about real serious kinds of things, just these men dropping off their children upstairs. And it just showed me how horrible this whole situation is. How emotional it is, how there was nobody there to help,” Tovey related.

The openness of struggling with all aspects of a cancer diagnosis was an eye-opener for Tovey, “There’s a much higher percentage of divorce in families with cancer,” she said. “The family is supposed to support the person with the cancer, and nobody pays attention to the family. Nobody pays attention to the children or the spouse, and they need it. They need help.” This spurred the conversation about the way forward for Wellness House. Now, the organization runs a robust operation full of informational, counseling, wellness and “blow off steam” types of programs dedicated to both cancer patients and all of those within their circle.

This is something Tovey has championed for a long time, dating back to that chance observation many years ago. What started as a simple conversation turned into a longstanding commitment to getting the word out through her generous donation of advertising in her award-winning publication. It’s

community partners like Veronica Tovey and What’s Up? Media that help keep Wellness House in our community as the only free resource in Anne Arundel County that provides strength and support to the entire family during the cancer journey.

Nick Martin: Literally Fighting for Cancer

Nick Martin: Literally Fighting for Cancer

Nick Martin always wanted to box. But things kept getting in the way: parents, other sports commitments, life. Then he saw a friend of his don the gloves for the first time, in support of a worthy cause.

Something clicked.

He reached out to his friend, asked some questions, and a few more phone calls followed. One thing led to another, and before long, the same organization that arranged his friend’s fight was talking to him as well.

Soon, Martin will make his boxing debut, fighting as part of Haymakers for Hope.

Haymakers for Hope is a foundation offering amateur boxers – and everyday people – the chance to compete in a sanctioned bout as part of a fundraising event for a number of cancer-related foundations. It stages fights yearly in Denver, Boston, New York, and Washington D.C.

As of Sept. 16, the D.C. event has raised nearly $400,000 across 32 fighters. Martin’s goal is to raise $25,000. Martin has designated Wellness House of Annapolis as his foundation for the bout, which takes place during the Beltway Brawl 3 event on October 13.

Married and recently welcoming his first child into the world, Martin is determined to make a difference where he is able. After learning about Haymakers for Hope from a friend who competed in one of its events in Denver, he began researching possible areas of impact. His boss immediately directed him to Wellness House of Annapolis, and when he was introduced, the fit was immediately clear to him.

“Really the one thing that drew me to you all so much was the close-knit community feel and the family feel of everybody I’ve talked to so far. Because you are so grassroots and it’s not just, you know, it’s not just. ‘Hey, you’re not family so we can’t really treat you.’ You also bring in the close friends and other people that have been emotionally affected by the treatment of whoever it may be, whether it’s just a friend or an uncle, a parent, grandparent,” he said. “That’s why I felt like it was important for me to help out where I can, because that’s the kind of community that I come from.”

Whether learning about Wellness House’s kids camps, the overall community feel, special programs, or counseling services, a holistic approach to the cancer fight from a grassroots level appealed to Martin on almost every level. He understands that the base level support may not be revolutionary in the fight, but it can impact so many people as they endure the battle.

Though Martin’s immediately family hasn’t been directly touched by cancer, the disease began hitting closer and closer to home. His wife’s family has been touched. So has that of his boss, and he said seeing cancer increasingly pop up around him played a major role in taking up the fight.

“In the last two years I’ve had some really close family friends who have dealt with it. Both families, we used to go on vacation (and) we went to church with growing up. So I’ve known them since I was a little kid, and one of their grandfathers got it in this past year and he passed away this year,” Martin said, adding that another friend’s father has also been battling cancer the last several years. “It’s been tough just hearing some of the stories and things that they’re having to go through … the process, the treatment, and then just seeing how it affects the family as a whole.

“That’s part of, again, why I was so drawn to the Wellness House because you all bring it kind of full circle with the kids and the families, and the loved ones and the friends, and giving treatment not just for those that are affected physically, but emotionally as well.”

To read more about Haymakers for Hope, click here.

To support Nick Martin’s fundraising to benefit the Wellness House of Annapolis, click here.

Bridging Generations of Care: Alexa Hoffman’s Story

Bridging Generations of Care: Alexa Hoffman’s Story

Alexa Hoffman picking peaches with wife, Steph Ross.

Alexa Hoffman’s experience with cancer was unique, like so many who go through this journey. When her mother was diagnosed with cancer for the second time, her family knew that they needed to be there for her. This time around the diagnosis was bile duct cancer.

Alexa quickly moved from Massachusetts to Maryland and her mother moved from New Jersey to Maryland. Since her sister lived in Maryland, it was the easiest way for them all to be close to one another and provide support.

What they didn’t realize right away is that their mother would miss all her friends from back home. She wanted the support of a social network and remembered the value she got from a support group in New Jersey when she was diagnosed with breast cancer 10 years earlier.

Thankfully, her journey took her to Wellness House, where we were able to care for her. Her treatment provider advocated for the support services at Wellness House, and she recognized the value in these services from her prior experience with cancer. At first, the family wanted their mother to have complete ownership of her experience with Wellness House, but they quickly realized that she wanted them to be there, too. She would regularly encourage them to attend some of the services with her and they also found value in the Caregivers Support Group.

Her mother’s favorite activity was Tea Time at Our House, which was moved to a virtual Zoom session over the course of the pandemic. “She enjoyed Tea Time so much. I did go with her once because she really wanted it, and I could not deny her much of anything. It was almost like the non-alcoholic version
of Cheers. She was able to walk in, people knew her name, you know? She was like a popular classmate,
and it just made me really happy,” said Alexa.

Alexa was so grateful to have these connections, especially after her mom passed. She received several messages from the members who had become friends and had sent her cards. Alexa felt this beautiful connection and knew she wasn’t the only one who missed her mom. “The Wellness House facilitated the
kinds of connections that would make me feel like other people got to see her without the cancer, being
all she was.” Alexa and her family cherished Tea Time so much that they chose to donate funds to help
facilitate this service and to spread joy to others diagnosed with cancer.

What Alexa did not see coming next was her own cancer diagnosis. She was diagnosed with breast cancer just shy of a month before her 39th birthday and joined Where Young Adults (YA) Meet Support Group at Wellness House, available to members who are 18-45 years old. “I have found that to be extremely valuable, not something that I feel like I have to do, but something I want to do,” said Alexa.

Alexa has also found the therapeutic art classes to be extremely helpful in easing the stress of navigating this difficult situation. “I loved the fact that we just did art on the Zoom calls and there wasn’t a ton of conversation. You explained your art at the end. The quality of my art might not have been very good, but the action was the journey, not the end state.”

Alexa further shares her gratitude for her experience with Wellness House being therapeutic for her and also for her relationship with her mother. She witnessed her mother being truly appreciated for the unique person she was and joining with others before departing from this life. “She found energy in connecting with others, especially with those who were going through something similar to her. It gave her an opportunity to be the vibrant person that she was at her core by spending time with people and not necessarily talking about cancer treatment.”

Alexa Hoffman is happily married to her wife of 5 years, Steph Ross, and currently lives in Maryland. In her career, she is a Senior Director of Global Distribution Products for Cision in the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Area. Her diagnosis came at the beginning of March 2020 and her first surgery was at the end of that month. She is now on hormone therapy and continuing her process of recovery.

Jacob’s Journey to Wellness House

Jacob’s Journey to Wellness House

Jacob Tribull, Wellness House Member & Volunteer

Why Members Make Good Volunteers 

Jacob Tribull, Wellness House member and volunteer, spoke with us regarding his involvement as a counselor in our kids’ summer camp and his own father’s experience with cancer. Jacob went to St. Mary’s High School in Annapolis. It was there he met an admissions counselor named Tina Allen who was very involved in volunteering at Wellness House of Annapolis.  

He explained his own passion for volunteering that developed after his sister was hit by a car at the age of 7 leaving her disabled. Jacob recalled his memory of growing up in a rehabilitation environment and being passionate about this type of volunteer work. Tina’s interest was piqued by Jacob’s experience with his sister and with volunteering at the Ronald McDonald House in Baltimore. She saw an instant parallel between these experiences and the work of Wellness House. 

Tina graciously offered to introduce him to the staff, and a connection was instantly made. “What was really interesting is that this was before my own family’s experience with cancer. I had volunteered for two summer camps before my dad was diagnosed with cancer,” said Jacob.  

His father started getting sick around 2018 after Jacob had been volunteering at Wellness House. Jacob describes a visit that they were on to check out a potential college. “My dad was constantly getting sick. We were on a recruiting visit, and my dad passed out and got really sick. We came home the next day after that visit, and he was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer.” 

From 2018 to the end of 2019, Jacob’s father battled many issues resulting from the cancer. During this time, Jacob expanded beyond volunteering to participate in our services as a member at the Wellness House. He learned different ways of coping with the stress from his father’s diagnosis and turning it into something positive.  

Watching the kids in camp is something that inspired him to become more resilient. “There is really a heightened level of maturity with the kids that I’ve seen at these camps compared to other camps that I’ve worked at in the summer. You can see that when the parents come to pick up the kids, the kids already have their backpacks on like they’re ready to go,” said Jacob. He noticed that the kids had no problem transitioning from their normal day-to-day activities to supporting their family members who were experiencing a cancer diagnosis. 

Wellness House offered Jacob many things as a member, but what he didn’t expect was to also learn from the kids as a volunteer camp counselor. “I was doing a lot of things for my dad. I learned how to mix his medicines, how to prepare different bandages for him, and all of the stuff that comes along with cancer. I was also able to learn to use what I use with the kids at the camp, to flip that switch. For example, when it was my senior night, and my dad had been released from the hospital, I was able to flip the switch and walk him across the field and back off the field back into the stands.” When Jacob says “flip that switch,” he is referring to having to pivot from the role of a child into the role of caretaker or supportive family member of someone diagnosed with cancer.  

He describes how juggling the responsibilities that come along with cancer is just as important as not letting them consume your life. Jacob said, “People don’t realize that you can still have a life outside of cancer, especially as a family member dealing with it.”  

In 2019 his father was finally declared cancer-free after a 13-hour long surgery, but unfortunately, this past year he was re-diagnosed following a CT scan of his liver that was performed after a car accident. The doctors found that the cancer had metastasized to his liver, so he is now back in chemotherapy.  

Jacob and his family continue to be hopeful, volunteering and relying on the services and support of Wellness House of Annapolis throughout their journey with cancer. Jacob said, “You can trust these people at this house. Everyone’s going through the same thing you’re going through, so it provides an awesome support network of people that want to help.” 
Jacob Tribull plays division 3 football at Catholic University in Washington, D.C. and is also studying biomedical engineering. He has a minor in chemistry and is currently on track to specialize in pre-med with the goal to eventually go to medical school. When he’s not playing football or studying, he’s spending time with his family, helping with errands and cooking meals.  

Controlling What You Can: Nutrition and Wellness with Tina Hinchman

Controlling What You Can: Nutrition and Wellness with Tina Hinchman

Tina Hinchman, Wellness House Volunteer and Nutritionist

Taking back as much control as you can in life is one of the key ideas that Tina Hinchman, nutritionist, and Wellness House volunteer, focuses on in her own health and wellness journey. As someone diagnosed with two health conditions herself, Tina focuses on how she can integrate healthy lifestyle changes that can mitigate or eliminate the negative aspects of these conditions. 

One diagnosis is a condition called idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura, commonly referred to as ITP, which is a rare autoimmune disorder in which a person’s blood does not clot properly because the immune system destroys the blood-clotting platelets. The other diagnosis is Hashimoto’s disease, a condition where your immune system attacks your thyroid, a small gland at the base of the neck below the Adam’s apple. The thyroid is responsible for coordinating many of your body’s functions including your metabolism.  

“I got prescribed medicine for my thyroid, started working with a hematologist for my ITP, and that’s what really triggered my research into exercise and nutrition. I got my certifications pretty quickly, in 2014 I was a certified personal trainer, 6 months later I got certified as a health coach, and about a year later, around 2015, I got my certification as a holistic integrative nutritionist,” says Tina.  

Her goal from this point forward was to help people, specifically women around her age with autoimmune disorders, to understand a diet that will optimize their well-being specifically in line with their condition. That’s when Tina encountered the Wellness House. At the time she was still working a corporate job in addition to working as a nutritionist and was looking for an opportunity to volunteer with her team. As a part of their annual volunteer initiative, they stumbled onto one of Wellness House’s cleanup events.  

“I took my whole team, and we went out and I immediately felt a connection to the place. I just felt it had such a healing presence and I asked a lot of questions about the practitioners and how they got involved. I remember thinking to myself, ‘This is a great place to volunteer when I start my business as a nutritionist full time,’” says Tina. Shortly thereafter she approached the Wellness House to offer her services for free as a nutritionist, which were graciously accepted.  

Today, Tina works with us as a volunteer, providing nutritional expertise through classes and seminars with members, as well as connecting with them on a personal level. She volunteers a few hours of her time a month to provide education to members, which she loves doing.  

Tina’s main advice to anyone looking to improve their health and wellness through nutrition is to focus on five key areas of their life. She tells us, “Your diet, exercise, sleep, stress level, and spirituality. When you think about these five key areas, that I focus on as an integrative nutritionist, it’s not just about the food, it’s also these key areas of your life that need to be balanced for optimal health.” These five areas are really in your control, and although they may feel overwhelming, there are many small steps you can take to get yourself into a balance that you can successfully manage. 

Tina Hinchman is a multifaceted health and wellness professional, health coach, integrative nutritionist, personal trainer, and kitchen maven. She is currently finishing her master’s in clinical nutrition. Her specialties are helping people stay healthy, active, and vibrant through midlife and beyond. Tina is also a mother and active member of the Annapolis community who graciously donates her time to the benefit of Wellness House of Annapolis and our members.  

The Science and the Art of Oncology

The Science and the Art of Oncology

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Dr. Benjamin Bridges, Maryland Oncology Hematology

In a recent meeting with Dr. Benjamin Bridges of Maryland Oncology Hematology (MOH), Wellness House of Annapolis learned about his passion for science. As he described his journey in oncology, he shared that he had met his wife while they studied together at the University of Tennessee College of Medicine. Dr. Bridges and his wife later moved to Maryland, where he completed his Internal Medicine Residency at University of Maryland Medical Systems.   

Dr. Bridges described his experience with cancer in his family, “When I was a first-year resident, my grandfather got lung cancer. So, I got a first-hand experience seeing the world that a cancer patient lives in,” said Dr. Bridges. This connection presented an opportunity to be involved from someone who had expertise in the science, as well as the personal side of a family member’s experience.  

He further explained, “When he got the diagnosis, I was to a certain extent involved with his care as the medical person in the family who could talk to his doctors and get the real story about what was going on. I saw how the cancer affected him and the rest of my family. This led to my next steps, during my second and third year of residency, when I rotated through the Cancer Center at University of Maryland a couple of times.”  

His impressive work continued, along with his passion, working in the field of oncology, which eventually took him to Boise, Idaho where he was Director of Early Phase Research at Mountain States Tumor Institute. He continued his career in oncological research, becoming Principal Investigator in the Pacific Cancer Research Consortium in conjunction with the National Cancer Institute, the Swedish Cancer Institute in Seattle, Washington, and the Providence Cancer Institute in Portland, Oregon. 

After completing research projects in Boise, Dr. Bridges and his wife contemplated where they could live the life that they wanted, while contributing to a robust medical community at the forefront of cancer therapies. They determined that the Maryland area would be the best option for them, and he joined the staff at Maryland Oncology Hematology.  

After joining MOH, he learned about the significant and positive impact Wellness House had on his cancer patients. He was able to see first-hand how patients were given the additional support and motivation they needed to withstand the arduous cancer treatment programs.  

He shared one of his first experiences with the Wellness House with a young patient of his, who was going through chemotherapy prior to breast cancer surgery. He found that Wellness House’s services were instrumental in her ability to get through the treatment and negative side effects. “She experienced this at a time where she also had young children. I think it really provided the additional support that my clinic could not have given to her,” Dr. Bridges explains. 

“Mainly, she participated in a lot of the guided meditation classes that you guys do, and it really allowed her to cope with the chemotherapy and the difficult things that she had to get through. I suspect if she had not had those classes available to her, it would have been much more difficult for her to get through the treatment,” said Dr. Bridges.  

Dr. Benjamin Bridges of Maryland Oncology Hematology is married and lives in Crownsville with his wife and St. Bernard. He is extremely active in MOH’s clinical research program, publishing research articles in numerous peer-reviewed journals in the areas of lung cancer, pancreatic cancer, and prostate cancer with a major clinical interest in lung cancer and gastrointestinal cancer.

A Full Spectrum of Care Without the Additional Financial Burden

A Full Spectrum of Care Without the Additional Financial Burden

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Dr. David Weng, Maryland Oncology Hematology

Wellness House recently spoke with Dr. Weng about the importance of our partnership with Maryland Oncology Hematology. “The partnership between the Wellness House and Maryland Oncology Hematology in Annapolis is really one of the highlights of our relationship with our community. The Wellness House represents a tremendous resource for the community and the patients that we serve,” says Dr. David Weng of Maryland Oncology Hematology (MOH).

The proud son of two immigrant parents, whose mother arrived in the United States from France by way of Ellis Island, Dr. David Weng lived in several states before settling in the area. He was born in Chicago, but grew up in Michigan, where he left to attend Harvard in Boston and earn his bachelor’s degree in biochemical sciences. His education continued, along with his travels, to Maryland where he earned his M.D. and Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. He went on to a fellowship at the National Institutes of Health with a focus on research in new cancer therapies.

He later joined the staff at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, where he spent 8 years as a breast cancer specialist and was involved in clinical and laboratory research. He found that he really enjoyed doing research on behalf of his patients to help them find new options for care. Dr. Weng saw how he could make an even greater impact with his patients, learning more about cancer research and gaining expertise for developing new therapies.

Around 2014 he returned to Maryland to practice oncology and joined the group of doctors, nurses, and staff that comprise MOH. When asked what he enjoys about his profession, he described his appreciation for being a member of a team of doctors committed to quality of care and having the best cancer therapies available for patients. He takes pride in taking care of each patient as a whole person with an emphasis on the impact it has on their family. As he describes, that is where Wellness House enters the picture.

Additionally, he states, “What Wellness House has that isn’t easily available in a lot of other areas is this focus on building a personal community for a patient, because that’s really disrupted by any disease condition. People feel very isolated because of all the issues that occur, impacting their physical, mental and social health, and family relationships,” says Dr. Weng.

He goes on to explain how Wellness House removes the financial barriers that sometimes exist to prevent access to community resources and explains, “The fact that patients can participate in the services of Wellness House without any financial cost is really tremendous because one of the most difficult things about any disease is the strain on the financial health of a family, including the disruption of their work, as well as the new charges and bills that come as a result of all the care that is needed. Cancer can cost individuals tens of thousands of dollars out-of-pocket, depending on insurance coverage. This leaves many families struggling to pay medical bills with little money left over to invest in palliative care and wellness services that are so important to a patient’s recovery.”

Reducing the anxiety about financial costs of the palliative care and wellness services is part of feeling comfortable using the service. Wellness House also responds to wherever the need is, providing a full spectrum of services, wherever someone is on their cancer journey.

Dr. David Weng of Maryland Oncology Hematology specializes in oncology and earned his medical and Ph.D. degrees from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He grew up in Michigan, the proud son of two immigrant parents, and became involved in oncology, initially to focus on developing new cancer therapies. He is happily married with 5 teenagers, including triplets.

Pride Month: Inclusion and Cancer Treatment

Pride Month: Inclusion and Cancer Treatment

Wellness House of Annapolis spoke with Jacqueline Shanahan of Maryland Oncology Hematology – Annapolis about inclusion and cancer treatment for Pride month. In our recent interview, we asked, “What’s the most important thing for individuals identifying as LGBTQ+ to know about seeking medical care when experiencing a cancer diagnosis?”  

Jackie explained that the answer can be complicated. She pointed out that while we have made some strides for the LGBTQ+ community, we still find that individuals that identify as LGBTQ+ sometimes find that there is discrimination and institutional bias when it comes to healthcare. As a result, these individuals might be diagnosed at a later stage of their cancer due to fear of engaging with the medical services that they require.  

On a good note, Jackie shared that both Maryland Oncology Hematology (MOH) and Wellness House of Annapolis (“Wellness House”) are welcoming environments, and both focus on delivering support to patients that is warm and helpful. Regardless of the patient’s identity, MOH and Wellness House look at the whole person and continue support through treatment and into survivorship.  

MOH focuses on educating patients about screening and other vital procedures as they travel on their journey managing their cancer diagnosis.  MOH is striving to utilize sexual orientation and gender identity data – SOGI data – to provide high-quality, patient-centered care for all their patients. The SOGI data provides a better picture of the patient’s susceptibility to certain types of cancer, as well as effective and preferred treatment options. This data informs medical institutions about appropriate care for their patients, taking into consideration all the aspects of their identity.  

The experienced team at MOH knows from first-hand experience that LGBTQ individuals are at higher risk for certain types of cancer. For example, Jackie shares, “Gay men are at a higher risk for anal and colon cancer. Screenings can certainly lead to being diagnosed at an earlier stage.” She goes on to advise, “The most important thing you can do is to talk to your physician openly and honestly. If there are any red flags at all, you should look for another provider. Your treatment relies on the relationship that you have with the physician.” 

When asked about how we can improve outcomes for LGBTQ+ patients engaged in oncology treatment, Jackie says, “It’s really just education of both the general population and medical community when it comes to collecting this data. Things are getting better, but communication is key, it’s a two-way street with the patient and their physician.”  

Jacqueline Shanahan is a Certified Oncology Nurse with Maryland Oncology Hematology. She spends every day, and many nights and weekends caring for her oncology patients. Her focus is on the patient and ensuring that they receive the care and attention that they deserve. 

United Breast Cancer Foundation

United Breast Cancer Foundation

As anyone will tell you, finding the right partner can be a challenge. This is true both personally and professionally. It is rare when one comes along that fits like a glove, though, but that is what Wellness House has found with United Brest Cancer Foundation. 

Founded in 2000 and going national in 2005, United Breast Cancer Foundation serves women, men, and families across the country who have been affected by this horrible disease. Beth Reichart is Director of Operations for United Breast Cancer Foundation and has been with the organization for over 16 years.  

“United Breast Cancer Foundation offers a variety of family and patient programs, including our breast screening program, which allows us to provide early detection services to women and men. We also offer our individual grant program, child sponsorship program, and the Audrey B. Mastroianni college scholarship, to just name a few.”

UBCF offers programs for people who are currently managing breast cancer, as well as those in remission. “Let’s say somebody’s managing metastatic breast cancer and they have kids who are at home. We have our individual grant program and the child sponsorship program that they can apply to for support.  One of the great things about UBCF is we can assist our clients through more than one program at a time.” 

UBCF’s individual grant program offers support to people who are in need of certain financial assistance.  

“Things like housing assistance, utility bills, COBRA, medical insurance coverage, and treatment expenses. We also offer help with alternative therapies and holistic treatments through our holistic care program. We also help with breast reconstructive surgery.” 

Children are an important focus for UBCF, “Children living at home who are directly impacted by breast cancer can receive support through our child sponsorship program. We help with things like school supplies, healthy food, sports registrations, even medical, dental, and counseling services. If you need it, we have done it.”

UBCF’s care does not end at high school. Their college scholarship program helps students who have suffered a loss of a parent due to breast cancer. Many of these students have gone on to receive degrees in the medical field, and in turn pay it forward, back to UBCF, once they are in practice.  

So where does Wellness House of Annapolis fit into UBCFs plans? “Aside from sharing our incredible programs with Wellness House and their community, the opportunities are really endless.  We are very excited to explore partnering with Wellness House’s excellent holistic program.” 

Beth also saw the direct link and connection with Wellness House from the start. “It has been a really synchronistic and interesting relationship that has developed with Wellness House. I went to the house and met with an amazing group of intelligent and caring women. 

“We are two amazing organizations helping folks in need, the sky is the limit.”  

About UBCF 

UBCF is committed to offering breast health and wellness services focused on cancer prevention, screening, treatment and overall wellness. UBCF’s mission is to make a positive difference in the lives of those affected by breast cancer and does so through seven life-supporting patient and family programs available to women, men and families nation-wide. UBCF never denies services to anyone regardless of age, race, gender, ethnicity, income or medical insurance coverage. Tax-deductible contributions may be made towards UBCF’s programs. UBCF accepts  Donor Advised Fund  contributions and  vehicle donations  as well. Combined Federal Campaign #77934.  

Some Days I Need the Music and Some Days I Need the Lyrics

Some Days I Need the Music and Some Days I Need the Lyrics

“Some days I need the music and some days I need the lyrics.” – Unknown

Do you have a favorite lyric? Are there words you wait for with bright, almost childlike anticipation when you listen to your favorite song? I’ve got one, it comes from a little-known Elton John song with lyrics written by the great Bernie Taupin, John’s longtime lyricist. The song is called “Blues for Baby and Me”. It’s a simple song, with a clear message, at least for me. Listening to it, I imagine waking up early on a clear, but cool, summer morning. I pack a bag, and leave everything behind…to begin again, alone, to the west.

The lyric is this:

It’s all over now, don’t you worry no more
We’re gonna go west to the sea
The Greyhound is waiting, and the radio is playing
Some blues for baby and me

And the highway looks like she never did
Lord it looks so sweet and so free
And I can’t forget that trip to the west
Singing blues for baby and me

Now, I can’t tell you why those words move me so much, but they do. When I hear them, I remember myself. I dissolve into a world of one. A world of peace and surrender that resonates within my body. In my mind I am on a bus, alone with the window open. I’m breathing fresh air from the high desert, clean and warm. The sun is setting in the sky.

I am free.

We all know that words are powerful. If you’ve ever been on the receiving end of harsh words from someone you love, you know what I mean. Words stick. Some words will even live in our minds, maybe even our hearts and souls, forever. Lyrics are simply words that are linked to another powerful form of communication: music. So… lyrics are not just words. Lyrics are poetry bound to sound, and they are changed by the unique way they intertwine with musical energy. They are designed to move you in an emotional, physical and spiritual level. Therefore, simple words on a paper, when met with the right music, can change the world. Indeed, it has. Don’t believe me? Here are a few examples of how lyrics influenced history:

Star Spangled Banner – Francis Scott Key wrote a poem after he witnessed the Maryland fort being bombarded by the British during the War of 1812. Later it was set to music and in 1931 became America’s national anthem.

We Shall Overcome – This song, with roots in the African American church, became synonymous with the civil rights movement. When Bob Seeger and other famous folksingers in the early 1960s, such as Joan Baez, sang the song at rallies, folk festivals, and concerts in the north, they helped promote the song to a national level. Since its rise to prominence, the song, and songs based on it, have been used in a variety of protests worldwide.

Feed the World / Band Aid This song has become synonymous with the plight of millions of starving African children. The song so captured people’s attention that the response to subsequent disasters has been different and millions of have benefitted because of it.

I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing / Coke Song – This jingle was so popular that it was rewritten into a full-length song and now everyone knows the difference between Coca-Cola and Pepsi. I prefer Coke, just saying.

The point is… words have power. Words, mingled with music, have magical powers. This magic can cross the boundaries of fear, loss, pain, sadness, and loneliness. Allow yourself to be moved by the magic. Open yourself up, to being moved and changed by lyrics. You can access it anytime you want and become a part of it.

Music and lyrics can change your heart, which in turn can change your mind. And when you change your mind, you change your world. As the song Imagine goes:

You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope one day you’ll join me
And the world will be as one

John Lennon, there’s a guy who knew the power of a good lyric. Now go find the magic.

Terri Fevang joined the Wellness House of Annapolis team as Program & Development Director in the summer of 2020 to support the enhancement and development of our adult, child, and family support programs. Terri is also a music composer and certified music practitioner (CMP)/therapeutic musician, and a graduate of The Music for Healing and Transition Program (MHTP), a certification program that trains musicians in the art and science of using the transformative healing power of music at the bedside of the sick and dying.