Pink October


October has long been National Cancer Awareness Month, but today President Trump issued a proclamation, making it officially National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

As we observe National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, our Nation joins in solidarity with those who are currently battling breast cancer and we remember those we have lost to the disease.  Too many Americans endure the pain and heartbreak of losing a family member or friend to breast cancer.  Memories of our loved ones, and their courage in the face of suffering, drive us to find a cure.” So reads the first paragraph of the President’s proclamation, and this is true for all people battling this disease in its many manifestations.

Here in Taos, Holy Cross Hospital and its staff and team of volunteers, do an amazing job of raising both awareness and funds to support the myriad services they provide to Cancer Patients in our community.

Some of the services provided by this program are: Assistance with transportation, food and lodging, Acupuncture, Feldenkrais, Massage, Yoga and Qigong. Fitness and health coaching, Healthcare navigation, Personal care, house cleaning and help with errands/shopping. Food vouchers are also available, along with gas cards for trips to out-of-town Medical  Facilities.

There is also access to the wonderful Look Good Feel Better Program in partnership with the American Cancer Society, which provides so much in the way of cosmetic aids for women undergoing Chemotherapy and Radiation. There is a whole lot of truth to the old Italian saying, La Bella Figura. Put your best face forward, and soon you will feel fine!

Last week I met Ira Vandever (Holy Cross Hospital’s Public Information Officer), at KOKO for coffee and a chat. Ira brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to this Program (I’ll be doing a feature on him soon), and I was pleased to have the opportunity to ask him a few questions. Although he grew up here, he spent several years abroad studying and working in Germany, in his field of Marketing and P.R. before returning to the States.

These Cancer Support Services provide so much to so many,  I wondered how  the organization supported and sustained this program?

“This program is the only program that is not supported by a grant.” Ira explained, “So they raise funds and we take care of some of the overhead (Rent, Utilities, Supplies, Director Salary).”

“We also support by inkind MKTG and Advertising.” He told me.

The organization is gearing up for its big annual push, and there is a whole lot on the agenda this October, beginning with the Plantfeast dinner on October 7, the Silent Auction  October 13 at the Bareiss Gallery, Pink Day  October 20, when the Plaza will have pink balloons,  the Adobe Bar at Taos Inn doing the Cranberry Gimlet, a PINK DRINK that will donate $1 for each drink sold, plus the Trading Post will donate $10 of all non alcohol sold from 4-9 on October 20! 

I’ll have more on the blog all month about these events (and more), as well as the people who are involved in putting them together!

Cancer seems to be a modern-day plague – it’s really quite epidemic – I don’t know anyone who has not been touched by it in one way or another. I have had my own personal journey with this malady as well. I asked Ira (who is Dine, having grown up in a very traditional way in the Chaco Canyon area), if he had any thoughts on this, and what made  him decide to work in this area of health care administration?

“Not only all what you just mentioned, but there are so many questions still surrounding Cancer. ” He responded thoughtfully. “We have to collect data and study all factors, a holistic approach, to find the true cure.”

“But,” he continued, ” I am a farmer, I am a medicine man apprentice for the Dine’ People – so I naturally gravitate to our food, how we exercise and how we practice our spirituality to help cope, or live with chronic illnesses/diseases.”

We can all learn so much and benefit from these wise and ancient traditions.

“I am not directly involved with the Cancer Support Services,” he said, ” but we all have had someone taken too early or affected by this monster. Whatever we can do to help give support, we should. So, that is why I am involved.”

I could not have said it better myself.

This week’s agenda is as follows:

(All Month. Adobe Bar at Taos Inn is doing a special pink drink, and $1 per drink sold will be donated.)

October 5 8:30-10 Vinyasa yoga class at Taos Yoga Therapy. $15 Janice Crouse 208 Paseo del Pueblo S # 103 613-0519

October 6 5:30 pm Body Combat Taos Spa and Tennis Free to members, $12 for non-members 758-1980

October 7. 1 pm Pilates with Hillary $10 for all, non-members welcome. High Altitude Health and Fitness 751-1242

October 8 11-12:30 “The Healing Power of Chant” yoga asana and chanting. Taos

Yoga Therapy $15 Monique Parker 208 Paseo del Pueblo S # 103 613-0519

October 8 10 am Body Pump Taos Spa and Tennis Free to members, $12 for non-members 758-1980


For much more information on Holy Cross Hospital’s Cancer Support Services, please visit their site linked below this post, and please get involved. Lives depend on it!

Paint Taos Pink

Holy Cross Cancer Support Services

Photos taken on my iphone