Program brings healing touch to homes
by Soren Velice
Point Roberts cancer patients have a new therapy available to them, thanks to an outreach program at St. Joseph Hospitals Community Cancer Center.
The Center has offered a free massage program for about two years, but patients had to drive to Bellingham to take advantage of it. If somebody from Point Roberts is undergoing cancer treatment, its already a long haul into Bellingham, said Point Roberts massage therapist Gina Ball. If they feel they want a massage, now they dont have to go to Bellingham for it.
That changed several months ago, when the centers director, Karen Ssebanakitta, started an outreach program for Whatcom Countys outlying communities. The cancer center sent letters to all the licensed massage therapists in Whatcom County to see if theyd like to participate, Ball said. Patients just ask the receptionist at the center and tell her where theyre from, and shell set it up. They give out my card, the patient gives me a call and I set them up.
The program is available free of charge to all cancer patients with approval from their doctors; the massages are provided by massage therapists who chose to donate their time. Cancer center librarian Julie Keefover said the patients response to has been largely positive. It increases relaxation for them, she said. Its made to reduce stress for someone thats in a very stressful situation.
Anyone interested in the program can call the Community Cancer Center at 738-6701.