By Tim E. Renzelmann
SCCCF is the brainchild of Dr. H. Marshall Matthews. Shortly after Dr. Matthews invited me to join his staff in March of 2000, he charged me with helping him turn his vision into a reality. We gathered a group of concerned community members to comprise our original Board of Directors, many of whom remain on our Board today. We drew up Articles of Incorporation and By-Laws. SCCCF was designated by the IRS as a 501(c)(3) charitable organization in November of 2001 and we began accepting donations before approving our first “gesture” in June of 2002.
SCCCF can assist area cancer patients/survivors with many cancer- and treatment-related expenses that are not covered by insurance (medications, transportation, durable medical goods, wigs and much more). Additionally, we can assist with daily living expenses (rent, utilities, insurance premiums) to assist those on a limited income or experiencing financial hardship.
With the intention of being able to help as many cancer patients and survivors in our community as possible, we have guideline limits as to how much any individual can receive from the Fund over a designated period of time. These guideline limits have fluctuated based on current funding available (100% of SCCCF funding comes from donations) and the number of requests that are received.
To date, SCCCF has approved more than $1.5 million in financial “gestures” to help area cancer patients and survivors cope with the financial challenges of a cancer diagnosis. But that’s not all we do.
As a cancer survivor myself and a lifelong fitness enthusiast, I experienced first-hand the many benefits that an active lifestyle can offer cancer patients and survivors as they are undergoing treatment and as they recover from the often debilitating and deconditioning effects of cancer treatment.
Although my belief that exercise is medicine (especially when it comes to cancer) is based on personal experience, observation, and reason... there is abundant scientific evidence to support this conclusion. The American College of Sports Medicine might be a good place to start if you’re interested in some science-based evidence: https://www.exerciseismedicine.org/
So, in late 2009, I approached our board with the suggestion that we begin offering FREE active/healthy living opportunities for cancer patients and survivors and in February of 2010 we began our “Survive, Thrive & Be Fit” program with our first “Gentle Yoga for Cancer Survivors” session! I am thrilled to report that several attendees from that very first session, more than eleven years ago, continue to attend today!
Survive, Thrive & Be Fit offers cancer patients and survivors opportunities to come together and support one another while engaging in a variety of fun and healthy activities.
We offer some more traditional activities, such as Gentle Yoga for Cancer Survivors and Steps to Survivorship walk/runs. A look at some of our more recent opportunities demonstrates some less traditional options as, which I think is fitting for this unique group of survivor-athletes! Activities such as Hiking Along the Cancer Journey (day hikes and overnight backpack outings), Navigating Along the Cancer Journey (orienteering), and Great Heights with Delightful Kites (kite flying). We just started our 7th season of our Indoor Row Group (IRG). And, with winter approaching, watch for Survivors on Snowshoes outings!
And then, of course, we have what has become probably our most popular (and rather exclusive) activity – Survive, Thrive & Be Fit / Survivorship Through the Lens (outdoor digital photography) at the Christopher Farm & Gardens!!! I’ll let these photos speak for themselves: www.scccf.org/contests.
If you or someone you know is a cancer patient/survivor who is either in need of financial assistance or looking for a supportive (as well as unique and fun) group of cancer patients, survivors, and co-survivors to help navigate the cancer journey, please consider joining us!
Interesting story! One evening, when we had a Gentle Yoga for Cancer Survivors session taking place in the MOA/SCBS 2nd Floor Conference Room and an Indoor Row Group session in the 2nd Floor Common Area, someone walked by and asked, “How can I join this club?” One of the rowers quickly replied, “First you have to survive cancer!”
Stunned, he stopped with a curious expression on his face. After we explained ST&BF, he admitted he was no longer interested in joining... but wished us well! 😊