Hope Connections for Cancer Support
Hope Connections for Cancer Support incorporated in 2005 and opened its doors in 2007. An independent, community-based nonprofit organization, Hope Connections’ mission is to help people with cancer and their loved ones deal with the emotional and physical impact of cancer through professionally facilitated programs of emotional support, education, wellness, and hope. All programs are provided free of charge to participants.
The American Cancer Society estimates the DC area has more than 700,000 cancer survivors (this is defined as anyone who has or has had cancer, from diagnosis to end of life) in DC, Maryland, and Virginia. The impact of a cancer diagnosis is psychologically, socially, and financially devastating not only for the person with cancer but for their family and friends. Depression and other debilitating emotional effects of cancer can prevent individuals from working, contributing to their community, and keeping their families together. Hope Connections’ programs are here for the part of a cancer journey that medicine does not treat. Hope Connections helps people affected by cancer overcome the feelings of isolation, loss of control, and loss of hope that often accompany a cancer diagnosis. For some cancer types, depression rates can run as high as 50% or more. This is not limited to people with cancer – it extends to their loved ones as well, especially their caregivers, 60% of whom report their own health suffering because of the stress of caregiving.
Our programs reduce stress and help participants regain control, reduce stress, and improve their quality of life. We offer support groups, Mind/Body programs, and educational and social events at our Bethesda and Landover facilities. Since opening in 2007, we have provided our programs – free of charge – to thousands affected by cancer in our community, regardless of their cancer diagnosis, stage of disease, age, economic status, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or where they receive their medical care. In 2020 we had over 10,000 visits for people to attend programs, and we anticipate even more by the close of 2020. Despite the disruption of COVID-19, our programs have thrived. We have held more programs than ever this year (1,750), have already had over 10,000 visits, and currently serve 3,500 active participants. This increase was possible because we have kept our programs virtual since March 2020. Since then, we have expanded our support group and mind/body class offerings and welcomed many new participants.
Our programs are free because clinical care is expensive, even for people with good insurance. A third of our participants paid between $5,000 and $30,000 in out of pocket expenses for their care in 2020. Imagine adding therapy or regular exercise classes to your expenses!