The ribbon cutting for Hope Connection’s second site, located in Prince George’s County.
When cancer strikes, where does the patient and family turn for support? The jungle of available information, the unending search for the best doctors, treatment and strategy, the fear of making the wrong treatment decisions — all are just a small part of the anxiety cancer patients must face; not to mention that they are also ill and, in many cases, fighting for their lives.
A dozen years ago, Paula Rothenberg, who lost her father to cancer in 2004, and Bernie and Bonnie Kogod, whose 18 year-old daughter died from cancer a few years before, co-founded Hope Connections for Cancer Support — a Bethesda-based nonprofit where patients and caregivers are provided with the opportunity to exchange insights, feelings and challenges. They also gain confidence and strength to fight their cancer. Hope Connections established a nurturing environment which provides group support, education, wellness and — most importantly — hope. Its belief is that “nobody should suffer with cancer alone.” Since its opening in 2007, the organization has had more than 75,000 visits to its facilities by cancer patients, caregivers and families to participate in their free programs.
Hope Connections for Cancer Support is located at the Beaumont House, 9650 Rockville Pike, Bethesda, in a 1920’s stone mansion surrounded by gardens of seasonal flowers and trees. They recently launched a second site in Prince George’s County at 8401 Corporate Drive, Suite 100 in Landover.
On March 16, Hope Connections for Cancer Support will celebrate “10 Years of Hope” at its Celebration of Hope Gala. This evening will honor Rothenberg, Hope Connections’ co-founder/president and CEO with the Celebration of Hope Award; SC Herman & Associates of Washington D.C. with the Partnership Award; and May Benatar of Silver Spring and Afie Lattimer of Potomac with the Volunteer Award. Benatar and Lattimer are being honored for donating their talents for more than five years as leaders of “Guided Meditation” and “Inner Peace and Healing” workshops.
Lattimer is a certified Reiki master and spiritual teacher. She holds a degree in health science education with a specialization in community health, teaching and counseling. She has been clairsentient, claircognizant, clairvoyant and clairaudient since childhood, she says.
“I channel the energy of unconditional love from the divine in my workshops and healing sessions. I use my intuitive gifts and healing to empower patients to reach inner peace and freedom from fear. As a result, they are released from the disempowering feelings of hopelessness and anger to be reborn in the ancient, loving hands of the divine,” she said.
Lattimer says that she has gained more than she has given by leading the
To contact Hope Connections for Cancer Support, call 301-634-7500 or visit www.hopeconnectio....
groups. “I’ve learned to listen to my emotions, to be honest with myself and to stay present with joyful thoughts. It is truly a blessing to be leading these workshops. I try to bring peace and a totally different attitude and projection. When I tell the group members to be empowered by their cancer, I give them the ability to take charge of their feelings and their recovery. I’ve also learned that the mind is a very malleable tool to work with and I’ve learned to navigate my emotions, thoughts and desires through my body — it is my vehicle to feel, touch and sense. We take life way too seriously and forget how to nurture ourselves and others — and that miracles are a real thing,” she said.
Through first-hand knowledge of seeing the unmet needs of her father and their family while dealing with his illness, Rothenberg helped to establish a comforting place for patients with all types of cancer. Hope Connections helps reduce the feelings of isolation, provides professionally facilitated support groups, educational workshops and mind/body programs.
“We currently offer 40 support group sessions, 50 mind/body classes and four educational workshops every month and we want everyone to know that our programs are free,” Rothenberg said. “We would like to get the word out to everyone. People come through the door like a deer in headlights because they are overwhelmed and fearing for their mortality. We help to ratchet down the stress and give them good, solid information. We also provide a place where they can share their worries, and very often, another participant can help them with direct knowledge. We also have some of the top doctors in our community give seminars on their specialty areas; the information participants gain from these programs is empowering.”
To contact Hope Connections for Cancer Support, call 301-634-7500 or visit www.hopeconnectionsforcancer.org.