AZ non-profit supports cancer patients through their journey

Not much puts a smile on Becky Rumley's face like crafting does.

"Crafting is a really big part of my mom and a really big part of her happiness, so getting this for her to come somewhere where a lot of other people are crafting and getting to have access to resources is really awesome," Maggie Rumley said. "The community is just amazing."

Becky was diagnosed with stage IV cervical cancer last year. After her second chemo treatment, she was introduced to Cancer Support Community Arizona (CSCA). Rumley and her daughter, Maggie, have become regulars at the art classes.

"When things were really tough, it was like, OK, this is it. This is the only thing out of treatments and doctor's appointments and every other thing, that was like, let's take a break and do something fun. This is one thing we can look forward to," Maggie said.

"We actually have a lot of evidence-based research to support the fact that being creative is helpful, in terms of reducing stress, building resiliency, certainly the camaraderie and fellowship everyone has here. It's not a support group, technically, but people enjoy one another," Joy Kockerbeck said.

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Kockerbeck is the expressive arts director for the non-profit. She teaches everything from painting to clay to cancer patients.

The classes serve as more than a creative outlet. For patients like Theresa Gervit, it's a way to heal.

"If I say I'm unwell for whatever reasons, then what else can I be. I can be kind. I can be engaging with other people. I can be creative," she said. "What else can you do when part of you is not well. And so, coming here keeps me centered on living that way."

CSCA is celebrating its 25th year. CEO Julie Dunnigan says the non-profit helps anyone impacted by cancer deal with their journey by providing emotional and social support services at no cost to cancer fighters, survivors, family at any diagnosis throughout their journey.

cancer support community az

Cancer Support Community Arizona, a Valley non-profit, is offering a creative way to fight the disease.

CSCA offers over 100 programs, helping as many as 2,000 people each year.

"Mind over matter, but also being in community is important because then you are receiving tips and tricks and education," said Dunnigan. 

Becky and her daughter have molded several pieces.  They've yet to paint and glaze them, but knowing they can come back gives them more than something to look forward to.

"It just gives us hope, too, to know other people have gone through similar things and have found joy, found community outside of it," said Maggie.

Cancer Support Community Arizona