Regarding Cancer provides free psychosocial support and resources to cancer patients and caregivers in the Central Texas area. Our mission addresses the Institute of Medicine's key finding that social and emotional support is as important as medical care in the face of a cancer diagnosis.
According to the Texas Department of State Health Services, cancer has overtaken heart disease as the number one cause of death in the Central Texas Area and over 10,000 people will receive a cancer diagnosis this year. A cancer diagnosis can generate a thousand feelings. Fear, confusion, anxiety, distress, despair, depression, anger, hopelessness and frustration are just a few. With each diagnosis, there will come the need to understand the disease and treatments, to cope with emotions, to manage disruptions and mood disturbances, financial stress, changes in role, spiritual concerns and many other psychosocial problems that co-occur with cancer.
Regarding Cancer was founded in May 2016 by two breast cancer survivors who, after reflecting on their personal journeys through cancer treatment, were dismayed with the limited array of cancer patient support and psychosocial services in the Austin area. Specifically, they recognized an absence of peer-to-peer support and resources to cancer patients and caregivers. Together they started Regarding Cancer to decrease barriers to care and ensure that those touched by cancer have access to the support necessary to be active participants in their own care and mental well-being.
Importantly, the impact of Regarding Cancer’s services is not limited to the cancer patient, but also the survivors who volunteer with the program. Being able to take your own experience and turn it into something positive by helping someone else is invaluable.
Regarding Cancer serves anyone 18 years and older at any stage of cancer, including those facing death and support for loved ones of those who have lost their battle with cancer. All of our programs are available for people across the cancer continuum, including from the time of diagnosis, during, post-treatment and survivorship.
The Peer-to-Peer Support Program
The Peer-to-Peer Support Program matches a newly-diagnosed cancer patient (or primary caregiver) with a trained survivor of the same type of cancer. Volunteers receive an individual 3-hour training from our Program Director to prepare them to assist with the initial emotional, psychological and practical uncertainties posed by a cancer diagnosis as well as HIPAA rules and regulations. Volunteer:patient matches seek to align characteristics including tumor type, stage, gender, ethnic background, and lifestyle. This relationship is one of friendship and support and provides a shoulder to cry on, an ear to listen, and a hand to hold. It is based on shared experiences, frustrations and hope of survivorship.
Infusion Room Support Program
The Infusion Room Support Program utilizes trained volunteers to visit with patients undergoing chemotherapy in hospitals or outpatient cancer treatment centers. Currently, Regarding Cancer serves 18 clinics in the Austin area including Texas Oncology, Austin Cancer Centers, Seton Infusion Center, St. David’s South Austin Medical Center, St. David’s Round Rock Medical Center and Baylor Scott & White. Volunteers also have access and knowledge of additional resources including providing referrals to free community resources.
With over 25 years experience working in large and small scale non-profit organizations, Diana has been involved in fundraising support, event coordination, community engagement and relationship building with key donors and groups within the community. As the daughter of a cancer survivor, she is thrilled to be witnessing the impact Regarding Cancer is making every day for cancer patients and caregivers.
She received a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from The University of Texas at Austin.
Connie is a ΦβΚ graduate of Cornell College with a BA in Economics and Business. After many years in the banking industry, Connie entered the non-profit world following a diagnosis of stage 3 colon cancer. Prior to joining Regarding Cancer in 2016, she was previously Client Services Director for Cancer Connection. She and her husband have 2 daughters who are both in college on the East Coast. When not visiting them, they like taking empty-nest vacations and watching March Madness basketball.
Linda has been a caregiver to several loved ones with cancer including her mother who lost her battle to esophageal cancer in 1994. Linda implemented the one-on-one support program for Regarding Cancer in 2016 and trains all the volunteers (survivors and caregivers) to provide support through the matching program and in the infusion clinics and hospitals. Linda graduated from The University of Texas at Austin with a BA in Psychology. She has worked in health care most of her life, Labor and Delivery at Brackenridge Hospital, Pediatrics with Dr. William Caldwell, Humana Health Care and Cancer Connection. When she is not working, Linda enjoys spending time with her husband, children and friends. She also enjoys cooking, gardening, traveling and is an avid dog lover.
Anaelli has survived cancer twice. She was diagnosed in 2005 with Rhabdomyosarcoma and in 2017 she had a recurrence. In 2019, after being in remission she came in touch with our organization and started working with Regarding Cancer. Anaelli provides training for Spanish-speaking patients and caregivers plus translation services regarding diagnosis and treatment protocol. In addition, she translates critical documents to non-English speakers who need our services. Anaelli holds a Certification in Legal interpretation from The University of Texas at Austin. She loves nature and in her spare time you can find her hiking with her dog, Oreo, paddle boarding, dancing or exploring new places in the beautiful city of Austin.