Fear, anxiety and worry are all feelings someone might experience after receiving a cancer diagnosis. The team at the MemorialCare Todd Cancer Institute at Long Beach Medical Center knows that cancer is so much more than a physical disease. The emotional and spiritual well-being of patients and their families who are faced with cancer can’t be ignored.
“Cancer treatment is driven by protocols and technology that are similar across different cancer centers,” says Mariusz Wirga, M.D., medical director, Psychosocial Oncology, MemorialCare Todd Cancer Institute, Long Beach Medical Center. “However, what determines the cancer experience for a patient and their family are the psychosocial services. The MemorialCare Todd Cancer Institute distinguishes itself from other cancer centers in the area through the comprehensive and extensive programs that address these human needs from a practical perspective, such as access to care and dealing with the daily stress of life with cancer, to existential and spiritual.”
Treating the whole patient in mind, body and spirit, is a cornerstone of the MemorialCare Todd Cancer Institute. However, it wouldn’t be possible without two decades of support from Team Spirit Long Beach Cancer 5K.
Twenty years ago, Team Spirit Long Beach was founded by a group of visionary leaders who believed that more could be done to help fight and raise awareness for breast and ovarian cancers in the local community.
After being personally touched by both diseases, Team Spirit Long Beach was formed as a small grass-roots organization. It consisted of volunteer survivors and friends, working for those fighting, and in honor of those who have lost their battle.
Over the past 20 years, Team Spirit Long Beach has grown tremendously and three years ago expanded its mission to fund support programs for patients with all types of cancer.
Through the funds raised over the last two decades, the MemorialCare Todd Cancer Institute has added a range of support services for patients and families, including a mind-body oncology coach, healing through creativity classes, writing workshops and more. A majority of these services and programs aren’t covered by insurance and wouldn’t be possible without the funds raised at Team Spirit Long Beach.
On Saturday, Sept. 28, Team Spirit Long Beach celebrated it’s 20th anniversary with more than 900 people carrying the founders’ legacy to do more for their community. Through their efforts, more than $135,000 was raised – exceeding the fundraising goal for the year.
While the 5K has passed, the fundraising continues for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Through the end of October, people can continue to support the MemorialCare Todd Cancer Institute by donating at memorialcare.org/TeamSpirit.