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Montefiore-Einstein Cancer Center Program Chosen as Beneficiary of EIF and Revlon Run/Walk

Psychosocial Oncology Program services at Montefiore Medical Center include mind-body support groups and yoga instruction


NEW YORK CITY, NY (April 21, 2008) -  Last July, Bronx resident Carolyn Davis was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. As she's undergone treatment, Ms. Davis has struggled with emotions so strong she knew she needed help even though her husband, children and grandchildren were close by. "There's only so much your family can understand," Ms. Davis said.

 Carol Charles has long been interested in the mind-body relationship, especially since cancer entered her life. Diagnosed six years ago with a rare form of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, Ms. Charles continues to undergo treatment. The emotional strain of living with cancer lingers, but she has found a support system to help her cope. 

Today both women are getting the help they need at weekly mind-body support group sessions at Montefiore Medical Center offered by the Psychosocial Oncology Program at the Montefiore-Einstein Cancer Center, which has been designated as a beneficiary of the 11th annual Entertainment Industry Foundation (EIF) and Revlon Run/Walk to be held May 3, 2008 in New York City. It is the only cancer program in the Bronx to receive beneficiary status from the Run/Walk.

"We are honored to be chosen as a beneficiary. The proceeds we receive from this event help to ensure that any person affected by cancer in the Bronx has access to psychological screening and care, regardless of ability to pay," said Alyson Moadel, PhD, Director, Psychosocial Oncology Program at the Montefiore-Einstein Cancer Center and Assistant Professor of Epidemiology and Population Health at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. This is the second year the Psychosocial Oncology Program has been designated as a beneficiary of the EIF and Revlon Run/Walk.

Support for patients during and after treatment
The Psychosocial Oncology Program is designed to help patients and their families cope with the emotional and psychological effects of cancer and its treatment through education, supportive counseling and stress management techniques. In addition to mind-body support groups, the program's services include a yoga-based cancer rehabilitation program, individual psychotherapy and education about cancer to residents of the Bronx and nearby communities who are affected by the disease. Services are provided at Montefiore Medical Center at no cost or on a sliding scale to patients, and are offered in English and Spanish. 

For Ms. Charles and Ms. Davis, attending weekly mind-body support groups has made a difference in how they view their disease and its impact on their lives. Ms. Charles said she believes her high stress levels have negatively affected her health, something she hoped to control better. "I wanted to learn how to cope and have a more positive attitude," she said. After six months of participation in weekly spiritual support group sessions she has noticed a personal change. "I can look at myself and see I'm not as filled with anxiety. I feel a sense of hope that this can be handled," Ms. Charles said. 

Ms. Davis said the support she's received from stress management group sessions has helped her feel a greater sense of emotional empowerment as she fights cancer. "This program has shown me to look at the positive instead of what I can't do, and it's helped me discover an inner strength I didn't know I had," she said. "Every little bit of information you take home and use. We do meditation and relaxation at the end of each session, and it helps me with my pain and breathing when I'm at home. I leave each session with a whole new frame of mind."
 
Raising funds and awareness
For the past decade, the EIF Revlon Run/Walk for Women has become an important venue for raising awareness of cancers that affect women, such as breast, ovarian and cervical cancer, while raising money to aid research, care and education for these cancers. In 2007, more than 40,000 men, women and children walked in support of this important cause, and nearly $2.7 million were distributed to the event's 16 beneficiaries.

At the 2008 Run/Walk, the Psychosocial Oncology Program will once again field a team called Sisters and Survivors and Montefiore-Einstein Cancer Center, led by Lucille Saraco, a Bronx native who is a longtime Revlon Run/Walk participant and a cancer survivor who sought the Psychosocial Oncology Program's services. It was through Ms. Saraco's efforts that the Psychosocial Oncology Program received beneficiary status.

As an event beneficiary, the Montefiore-Einstein team will provide volunteers to assist the morning of the run/walk. Individuals can take part as a volunteer, participant, and/or a sponsor. Following is information for registering for each of these categories:  To volunteer with the Sisters and Survivors and Montefiore-Einstein Cancer Center team (#2026), send an email to outreach@aecom.yu.edu. To register as a participant or to make donations to the team, visit https://www.revlonrunwalk.com/ny/secure/teamwebpage.cfm?pID=39472, or contact the Psychosocial Oncology Program office at (718) 430-2380. To learn more about the Psychosocial Oncology Program, visit: www.aecom.yu.edu/cancer/outreach.

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