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Jesus Carmen Ramos, a vibrant young woman, is battling stomach/colorectal cancer and wanted to thank her mother Natividad, a breast cancer survivor herself, for her 24 hour care since her diagnosis. Natividad quit her job and travels weekly with her daughter from their home in Virginia to Mercy Hospital in Baltimore for her treatments. CaringOn surprised Natividad with a gift of a mother-daughter spa day at a luxury spa near their home in Virginia and a chance to celebrate Jesus Carmen Ramos’s recent positive health news. Their relationship is filled with love and devotion and is the perfect reason to thank caregivers for their healing care. They are pictured here together with their nurse, Kelly Hill, at Mercy Hospital.

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“Lauren and I had a wonderful visit to MGM this past Friday. I was surprised and humbled by Lauren’s nomination. As you know very early on in our marriage we had our vows put to the test with her breast cancer diagnosis; I would be there for her through anything.

“I don’t often expect the attention or thanks or appreciation for navigating the cancer journey, as I witnessed Lauren’s battle with cancer firsthand. She has come so far in her survivorship from where we were two years ago. It’s wonderful to no longer plan our lives around doctors apts and treatments, but around work, family and friends. We take for granted ‘normalcy’ and how sweet it can be.

“We were shocked upon check in – our suite was absolutely breathtaking! If we didn’t have the dinner and show reservations, we may never have left the room! We had a wonderful meal at Voltaggio, followed by many laughs at the George Lopez show.

“Thank you for allowing us to partake in a special getaway for our wedding anniversary. Please let us know how we can give back. We appreciate Caring On for the hard work and time spent to allow survivors to enjoy times of respite in the face of cancer.”

Sincerely,
Fitzhugh Malloy

Pictures from Their Evening
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CaringOn was so grateful to present a gift to Sadra and Derrick Thomas who have tirelessly supported their son Mattheu during his treatments for cancer. Derrick is a beloved technology teacher at the Boys Latin School where his son attends high school. Teachers and students from Boys Latin School nominated him and his wife for this gift.

The Thomases will be enjoying a much needed weekend getaway at the Chesapeake Hyatt on the water to relax, refresh, and renew.

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Lauren Malloy, a social worker and nurse navigator at Johns Hopkins thoracic oncology unit, is a breast cancer patient as well. She gave a CaringOn gift to her husband Fitz. They are a young married couple. Lauren had this to say:

“I am nominating my husband Fitz. We were married for six months before receiving the devastating news that I had breast cancer. The hardest struggle now is living cancer free while waiting to see if we can start a family due to the effects of chemo. Fitz has been a rock throughout my diagnosis, treatment, surgery, and survivorship. He is an amazing partner and God’s greatest gift in my life!”

Fitz is going to enjoy a gift of an overnight stay at MGM Grand National Harbor and tickets to his favorite comedian’s show there. We are so happy to help Lauren thank Fitz for all his care.

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Photo courtesy of Lynne Shallcross/KHN | article

“For today, there are no doctor’s visits. No long afternoons with nothing to do. No struggles over bathing.

“At the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., a group of older adults — some in wheelchairs, some with Alzheimer’s — sit with their caregivers in a semicircle around a haunting portrait of a woman in white.

“‘Take a deep breath,’ says Lorena Bradford, head of accessible programs at the National Gallery. She’s standing before ‘The Repentant Magdalen’ by Georges de La Tour.

“‘Now, let your eyes wander all over the painting,’ Bradford says. ‘Take it all in. What do you think is going on?'”

“‘I think she looks sad,’ says Marie Fanning, of Alexandria, Va., who has Alzheimer’s.

“‘Yes. Yes, she looks sad,’ Bradford agrees.

“‘This is such a gift,’ Bill Fanning, Marie’s 77-year-old husband and caregiver, says of the outing.

“Across the country, community groups, hospitals, government agencies and nonprofits are starting to do more to support at least some of the estimated 42 million friends and family members who are the primary caregivers of adults and children who have disabilities, are recovering from surgeries and illnesses or are coping with Alzheimer’s and other chronic diseases.”

To read the full article on NPR click here.

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While conversations rarely penetrate the bell jar of my self-containment, inventive forms of caregiving do.

“After the drama of diagnosis passes and the preliminary offers of assistance dissipate, a few hardy souls hang in with cancer patients for the long haul. If we are lucky, they tender surprisingly creative acts and gifts.

“Imaginative caregiving is welcome because of the debilitation of prolonged treatment but also because of the barrage of clichéd responses patients receive from chance acquaintances. There I am, minding my own business in the drugstore, when someone pops up: “My aunt had your kind of cancer and died in two months.” “You don’t look sick!” “Did you eat red meat?” “The good Lord never gives us more than we can bear.” Those of us with chronic disease learn to block out this type of noise.

“In the process of sidelining inane comments, though, we may exacerbate the loneliness of the long-distance cancer patient, for dealing with the disease can be an isolating business. Colleagues in social situations can be tongue-tied about my condition, afraid of saying the wrong thing or respectful of my privacy. At a reception, I retreat into myself because of an unspeakable physical problem: a rash, a swelling, a hidden bag, enervating but boring fatigue, invisible neuropathies or joint pain. I feel further quarantined by an overwhelming consciousness of impending mortality that healthy men and women often cannot comprehend or desperately want to flee.”

To read the full article on The New York Times click here.

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Bring in the attached flyer, present it to your server, and California Pizza Kitchen will donate 20% of your check to CaringOn. Purchases include dine-in, takeout, catering, and all beverages.

The event will be on April 11th, 2018, from 11AM-10PM and is valid at the following location: 118 Shawan Road, Hunt Valley, MD 21030. This location is next to the Regal Movie Theater and can be reached at 410-785-3336.

Click here to download the flyer. Make sure to print and bring it with you!

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UPDATE: The Marine Corps Marathon raised $4,641 from 49 donors who supported Debbie in memory of Judy and CaringOn.  Debbie finished the Marathon and had this to say:

“…the marathon at 50 years old—-quite different than the invincible 25 year old when I first did the marine corps—had so much more meaning.  The marine corps marathon is filled with patriotism and was so incredible to be a part of it especially at these crazy times the country is going through. In addition to the patriotism I ran for something so personal–remembering and thinking of my sweet special childhood friend , Judy, every step of the way. I  know  how hard she fought and am so proud to say  I could be a part of strengthening the amazing selfless organization she created. Thank you so much to all who supported me—people who know me and people who do not. We all did this together.

ORIGINAL STORY:In honor of our late founder, Judy Davanzo, Debbie Golden-Katzman is running in the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington D.C., October 22, 2017. Her goal is to raise a lump sum to donate to CaringOn and, in her words, honor “the wonderful work they are doing in supporting everyone affected by terminal illness.”

Debbie Golden-Katzman’s Story:

“In April 2016, I lost a very dear childhood friend (as many of you did too), Judy Davanzo. I met Judy in second grade. Judy left a husband and two young children. She was an amazing woman in so many ways and a person one could not help but adore immediately.

“Although Judy was given a more exact “life timeline” as she told me, she still thought so much of others. She told me how everyone always wants to help the sick person, but seeing what her husband, Drew, was doing and going through for her, she wanted to see a caregiver of a terminally ill person get some attention as well. She was determined to start an organization while she was still alive that would do just that—do something for the caregiver. Because of her hard work a wonderful organization was created….CaringOn.

“I would like to help this special organization as a tribute to my dear friend. Now at 50 years old, I am going home to DC to run the Marine Corps Marathon (which was my very first marathon at 25 years old). It will be the first time I “start from scratch” training and my goal is to get to the finish line in memory of Judy. I am asking you if you would consider making a donation in Judy’s honor, no matter what denomination. All donations will go to CaringOn. It seems like there are far too many people in the situation Drew Davanzo was in and I know Judy would be so happy to know if more caregivers like Drew could receive a special gift.

“I also MORE than welcome people to run with me during the marathon—as well as lots of spectators!!! I will wear a big pink bow in my ponytail so you can find me. This will be my most challenging run, but keeping the cause in mind and remembering how Judy handled her challenges will be a great motivation.

“Thanks so much in advance. I so appreciate it. This really means so much to me.”

Consider honoring Judy’s memory by donating to Debbie’s fund in support of CaringOn.

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“It works in all kinds of crises — medical, legal, even existential. It’s the ‘Ring Theory’ of kvetching. The first rule is comfort in, dump out.

“When Susan had breast cancer, we heard a lot of lame remarks, but our favorite came from one of Susan’s colleagues. She wanted, she needed, to visit Susan after the surgery, but Susan didn’t feel like having visitors, and she said so. Her colleague’s response? ‘This isn’t just about you.’

“‘It’s not?” Susan wondered. ‘My breast cancer is not about me? It’s about you?’

“The same theme came up again when our friend Katie had a brain aneurysm. She was in intensive care for a long time and finally got out and into a step-down unit. She was no longer covered with tubes and lines and monitors, but she was still in rough shape. A friend came and saw her and then stepped into the hall with Katie’s husband, Pat. ‘I wasn’t prepared for this,’ she told him. ‘I don’t know if I can handle it.'”

In all reality the woman who spoke to Katie’s husband loves her friend dearly, but seeing Katie in her current state “moved her so deeply.” It wasn’t the right thing to say or do and the same applies to Susan’s colleague’s remark.

In an effort to teach people how to avoid saying or acting in the wrong way during crisis, Susan developed a simple technique. This “works for all kinds of crises: medical, legal, financial, romantic, even existential. She calls it the Ring Theory.”

“Draw a circle. This is the center ring. In it, put the name of the person at the center of the current trauma. For Katie’s aneurysm, that’s Katie. Now draw a larger circle around the first one. In that ring put the name of the person next closest to the trauma. In the case of Katie’s aneurysm, that was Katie’s husband, Pat. Repeat the process as many times as you need to. In each larger ring put the next closest people. Parents and children before more distant relatives. Intimate friends in smaller rings, less intimate friends in larger ones. When you are done you have a Kvetching Order. One of Susan’s patients found it useful to tape it to her refrigerator.”

To learn more about the Ring Theory, click here to read the full article.

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Join us for our Volunteer Training Workshop! Learn the tools you need to be part of our rewarding Caregiver Gift Giving Process and give a gift to someone who cares.

Where:
Home of Susan Ferrer
6 Valley Ridge Court
Timonium, Maryland 21093

When:
Tuesday evening, May 2, 2017 from 7 – 8:30 pm

RSVP by April 27, 2017:
Susan@caringon.org or 410-913-1760

About CaringOn
CaringOn was founded by Judy Goldberg Davanzo and Lee Kappelman to give caregivers an opportunity to “recharge, refresh, and renew” and take a break from their caregiving responsibilities. Patients now have a way to express their gratitude to their caregivers by gifting them with time to themselves. CaringOn is able to provide the necessary support and services needed so the caregiver has peace of mind while they enjoy their gift, step away and take care of themselves. This time/respite provides the Caregiver with time to refresh, renew, recharge and come back rejuvenated and with a new energy.

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