Bringing no-cost complementary care, including massage therapy, to cancer patients and survivors is the mission of The Victory Center, a nonprofit organization located in Toledo, Ohio.
This year, the center received a $35,000 grant from the Lovell Foundation to help support these services.
“Integrative health is one of our priority areas,” said Ann Lovell, president and board chair for the David and Lura Lovell Foundation. “The Lovell Foundation was involved in the initial fundraising for The Victory Center. We have been a partner since then to support the center’s mission of providing cancer survivors a full spectrum of integrative approaches during their treatment and recovery.”
For both cancer patients and survivors, The Victory Center offers a wide array of emotional and mental support services, as well as exercise classes, education and enrichment groups. Those who are in cancer treatment can come to the center for free complementary care that ranges from oncology massage, reflexology and reiki to Healing Touch, therapeutic facials and sound therapy.
“Our individual complementary services help cancer patients cope and feel better during one of the most physically challenging times of their lives,” said Penny McCloskey, program director at The Victory Center. “Participants often comment how helpful it is to remember what feeling good feels like.”
According to McCloskey, these services benefit cancer patients by boosting quality of life, as well as reducing common symptoms and side effects of cancer treatment, such as fatigue, anxiety and pain. She said the massage therapists who work for The Victory Center are required to have oncology certification.
“Our goal is to help cancer patients tolerate their treatment and be as successful in their journey as possible,” McCloskey said. “When you are undergoing cancer treatment, you are often struggling with how you feel day to day, and if you come in for a service at The Victory Center, it may give you the boost you need to face the next week of treatment.”
Staff at The Victory Center report that the facility provided more than 8,600 services to cancer patients and survivors last year alone. McCloskey said most of the cancer patients who receive free complementary care at The Victory Center would probably not have the opportunity to do so otherwise.
“The participants here include many who are financially hit by the cancer journey. In fact, 90 percent are uninsured or underinsured and would not have the resources to pursue complementary therapies if not for The Victory Center,” McCloskey said. The cost of medical care alone would make getting these much-needed services an impossibility for most, she said.
“Cancer patients are very aware of the financial impact their journey has had on the family ,and would not choose to get the help they need if it meant the burden of another bill,” McCloskey added. “It is important for all cancer patients to have barrier-free access to these services and to have therapists who understand the needs of oncology patients.”
About the Author
Brandi Schlossberg is an avid bodywork client and full-time journalist based in Reno, Nevada. She has written on many topics for MASSAGE Magazine, including “New Training Matches Sports Massage Therapists with NFL Prospects.”