My name is Janette and I was diagnosed with breast cancer in January 2018. To say I was in shock is an understatement. I was healthy – I ate kale and drank lots of water. My journey began at Norris Cotton Cancer Center with a great team of doctors who were all on the same page to get me healthy again and beat this awful disease. As I was sitting in my oncologist’s office, I noticed a brochure for The Hand to Heart Project. It immediately grabbed my attention as I believe we need to treat the whole person during the cancer journey. I also have a friend who mentioned that I would benefit from this amazing program. I have since had many massages from Hand to Heart during different stages of my treatment, and feel it was one of the most beneficial ways to quiet my soul and forget about my fight even if for an hour. I believe in the power of touch and I always felt better after my massage. This is an amazing service to anyone with cancer. I am so grateful for this program!
I had the good fortune to be connected with The Hand to Heart Project immediately after my diagnosis of breast cancer. At the time I was 35, and though I had had many massages before, I was surprised by how big a difference it made in my process to have the support of trained massage therapists.
Of course, those are not the circumstances I wanted, but what a relief it was to be able to get massage work free of charge while I processed the diagnosis, healed from the surgery, and dealt with the beginning of long-term treatment. The organization is flexible and its staff are kind, willing to travel quite a long way to come to my home. Out of all the wonderful things I could say about Hand to Heart folks, one I want to be sure to mention is their balance of serious, heartfelt presence in the face of suffering with an ability to bring lightness and even occasionally humor to the difficult world of having cancer.
They’ve witnessed and helped lots of folks through treatment, and that’s evident–the practitioners show up in ways that meet me where I’m at, emotionally, physically, and socially. I hope that more and more people dealing with cancer, of all ages, can learn about Hand to Heart early in their process and benefit from this service.
It feels impossible to find the right words to describe what your presence did for Renee and for me as her primary caregiver during those last weeks of her life. I know we both found tremendous peace whenever you were there. Renee was so skeptical about you to begin with since she had trust issues with men, but that lasted for about a minute once she met you. You won her trust quickly and never failed to get a wonderful response from her when she saw your face. Even as she was slipping away from us, you were helping her with your soothing, gentle administrations. I will always remember you trying to remove the knots in my shoulders while reciting Beannacht and telling me about John O’Donohue. It and you lifted me up when I thought nothing could. Thank you so much from both of us. — Suzanne, Primary Caregiver for a Hand to Heart Client
Read Suzanne and Renee’s story in: Soul of a Caregiver
“Suffering through a cancer that can’t be cured is devastating, but with the help of The Hand to Heart Project, it’s not so devastating. In fact, it’s the only service that allows me to feel that sense of help within me. I am touched in my soul as well as my outer body, and it’s in that inner soul I feel the healing touch at work – in my head and in my heart and soul. The compassionate, precise touch on my sick and weakened body, by a therapist who knows what his touch can accomplish, is just what’s needed. How I feel right after a session is too much for words. I am able to feel rejuvenated from head to toe, not to mention the good spiritual feeling I am left with. Thank God for Hand to Heart. They create a positive outlook for me when there sometimes seems none.” –Ginger Pailley, Springfield, Vermont
“The Hand to Heart Project is a special gift to cancer patients being cared for in the home. When my mother was in Hospice, the gift of soothing touch brought peace, relaxation and relief. … Massage supports the journey and the process of dying at home in comfort and peace.” — Daughter of a Hand to Heart Client
“What you people did for my wife was incredible. She was in so much pain, and she really looked forward to the massage appointments. I can’t thank you enough.” — Husband of a Hand to Heart Client