Erin Sommerville, mind-body oncology coach, MemorialCare Todd Cancer Institute, Long Beach Medical Center, was recognized as a “Star” for her courage, compassion, contributions and leadership in the fight to eliminate cancer at the American Cancer Society’s 2018 Long Beach Cancer League Gala 43rd Annual Gala on Saturday, June 2.

The Long Beach Cancer League is a fundraising auxiliary of the American Cancer Society that has raised more than $11 million to aide in the fight against cancer.

Following the theme of the gala, “Reach for the Stars – A World Imagined,” organizers recognized members of the community who have dedicated their careers and efforts to supporting those affected by cancer.

Erin Sommerville has been an international teacher, lecturer, consultant and coach on Mind-Body Medicine for more than 30 years. For the past eight years, she has developed and established one of the country’s first Mind-Body Cancer Coaching Programs at the MemorialCare Todd Cancer Institute. Her unique Cancer Coaching Program is based on her many years working with O. Carl Simonton, M.D., her study and teaching the integration of Ancient Wisdom and Modern Medicine, and was profoundly deepened by her own journey with a diagnosis of cancer.

“After many years of work on three continents, Erin is now in Long Beach helping cancer patients and their loved ones find their path to healing,” says Mariusz Wirga, M.D., medical director, Psychosocial Oncology Program, MemorialCare Todd Cancer Institute, Long Beach Medical Center. “I am confident about the future of our programs having an expert clinician like Erin.”

“I am privileged to do work that is truly my path of purpose and heart,” says Erin. “And one of the greatest rewards is to receive a letter from a patient that confirms this belief.”

Erin’s role as the mind-body oncology coach at the MemorialCare Todd Cancer Institute offers a unique approach to overcoming those challenges. Erin provides one-on-one guidance and tools needed for patients to feel confident, hopeful and empowered throughout their cancer journey.

Many patients benefit from the one-on-one support of Erin, including Margaret M. “When I received an ovarian cancer diagnosis from Dr. Michael Berman, he said that some of his patients ‘sail through’ the process. I responded that, ‘I want to be one of those people.’ The only problem was, I was not sure how to ‘sail through’ chemotherapy. I did know that I did not want to do it alone.”

“I wanted this experience to be something that I wouldn’t trade, and that in the long run, the benefits would outweigh whatever I went through,” says Margaret. “Working with Erin over the subsequent nine-plus months gave me the tools to successfully approach the disease, handle the chemotherapy treatments, and achieve a positive outcome. I might have gotten there without her – but I can’t imagine it.”

“In the end, this process did become something I wouldn’t trade. My life is better, my relationships are stronger, and the future is full of possibility. And I thank Erin Sommerville for helping me to achieve an even better outcome than ‘sailing through’ the process.”