And the Food Was Amazing! Thank You Cancer Community Center

Fran Seeley, Diane Atwood and Lisa Hachey I had such a great time last night!  Here I am with Fran Seeley and Lisa Hachey at the Cancer Community Center in South Portland. Every year the Center honors its many volunteers and we were all on the guest list for the 2013 Recognition Reception.

Some of you may know that my first career was as a radiation therapist at Maine Medical Center. I started out treating cancer patients with radiation therapy and later became a dosimetrist, the person who works with the radiation physicist and helps plot out the treatment plans.

It’s ok to ask how could I possibly do that kind of work or wasn’t it incredibly depressing all the time. I’ve gotten those questions a lot. I did the work because I was drawn to it, and yes, sometimes I was deeply sad and sometimes I was really angry. What overwhelmed me the most though, and stays with me to this day, were the spirit and the courage and the gratitude I encountered in patient after patient after patient. It’s why I often write about cancer and why I happily volunteer my time on the Center’s marketing/PR committee.

Michele Johns and Dr. Dave Langdon

Another picture from the reception — Michele Johns, the Center’s tireless executive director, with Dr. Dave Langdon, a radiologist at Mercy Hospital.

Dave and Dr. Chris Kuhn, another Mercy radiologist, are both cancer survivors. They dreamed up a highly successful bicycle fundraiser for the Center several years ago that they named Not Dead Yet. You have to have a sense of humor. By the way, got to give credit where it’s due. Dave took the picture of Fran and Lisa and me. Thank you Dave!

The Cancer Community Center offers an incredible amount of resources for people with cancer and their loved ones. Thanks to donations, fundraisers, grants, and volunteers, all the programs are free. From support groups to social groups to fitness and cooking classes, massage therapy, meditation, educational programs … the list goes on and on. Here, check out the May calendar.

Kathy Tosney

Kathy Tosney does facial rejuvenations every other Wednesday morning at the Center — she offered to do one on me. At first I thought she meant I looked like I needed a facelift, but it’s using Reiki and head reflexology on a person’s head, face, neck and shoulders to deeply relax the entire body. I am so going to take her up on it and will tell you all about it.

Lucky Kathy won one of the door prizes tonight. A gorgeous orchid.


I didn’t get any pictures of all the amazing food we were served because I was too busy eating it. Two helpings. Shrimp and little skewers of tomato, basil and mozzarella, pâté, artichoke dip, veggies, wraps, little crab cakes, meringues and Italian cookies.  So good.

Each volunteer received a May basket as a small token of appreciation. Bloom where you are planted, said the placard. Spirit, courage and gratitude. Thank you for a joyful evening!

Thank you from Cancer Community Center

Diane Atwood

About Diane Atwood

For more than 20 years, Diane was the health reporter on WCSH 6. Before that, a radiation therapist at Maine Medical Center and after, Manager of Marketing/PR at Mercy Hospital. She now hosts and produces the Catching Health podcast and writes the award-winning blog Catching Health with Diane Atwood.