Sue Beata has never been a person who likes to join clubs, but connecting with the participants at Waterford Place Cancer Resource Center has made a difference in her life.
“It was a relief to go to Waterford Place, to feel comfortable and to learn that cancer is not a death sentence,” she says.
Sue first learned about Waterford Place six years ago when she received a letter asking for a donation. She had been diagnosed with lymphoma and was recovering from surgery at the time. She didn’t know what Waterford Place was, so she called.
Waterford Place — which provides services and support at no charge to anyone affected by cancer — had recently opened its doors, and the receptionist told her that donations were welcome, but they were really looking for people to participate in the program.
‘A good place to be’
“I was scared to death,” Sue says of her first visit, but she relaxed almost immediately upon arrival. “It’s a comfortable place and so beautiful,” she says. She took a yoga class for beginners.
“I saw people of all shapes and sizes and different diagnoses,” she recalls. “I thought, ‘If they are all here, it must be a good place to be.’ Then, I made all these friends.”
Sue expected participants at Waterford Place to be sad and depressed but, instead, she found they were very uplifting.
“It amazed me,” she says. “All these people were going through cancer treatment, and still they were really happy people. I needed to know that you can continue to have a good life, even if you have cancer.”
At Waterford Place, Sue participated in massage, reiki and sound therapy. She took tai chi and craft classes and helped to start Craft and Chat, an informal gathering where participants chat and drink tea or coffee while working on crafting projects. She joined the Giving Back Society, participating in activities that make a difference in the cancer community. The positive feedback about how her contributions help others makes her feel good.
With the building closed due to the pandemic, Sue participates virtually.
For anyone affected by cancer
Waterford Place provides programs for anyone affected by cancer, including caregivers, and Sue’s husband originally joined the caregivers support group. After his own recent cancer diagnosis, he expanded his participation to include tai chi, massage, reiki and yoga classes. When he learned that an upcoming surgery would be more complicated than he thought, he told his wife, “I’m going to be OK. I’ve got all these Waterford people praying for me.”
“I feel like Waterford Place is a special, special family,” Sue says. She has made lifelong friends there. Sadly, a couple of her Waterford Place friends have passed.
“That’s really rough,” she says, “but what they have given us is so much more than the sorrow we have when they pass.”
With her cancer type, Sue is in and out of remission. She has been through some rough treatments but says it has been made easier because of the participants, volunteers and people who work at Waterford Place.
Left on her own, Sue thinks she would have been depressed. She doesn’t think she would have fought as hard as she did without the support of her Waterford Place friends.
“I honestly don’t know if I would have made it six years,” she says. “I believe Waterford Place can make a vast difference in whether you survive or not, especially for people who get into a hole of ‘Why me?’ If I’m looking to be uplifted, this is the place to go. Waterford Place means the world to me. It’s a wonderful place. I don’t know where I’d be without it.”