Shannon Taggart learned two important things after she was diagnosed with breast cancer: Having support was empowering, and having access to information put her in control of her diagnosis.
Now, a seven-year cancer survivor, Shannon helps other patients by offering both support and information as a trained volunteer with the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Resource Center and Believe Boutique. Both services are housed inside Willamette Valley Cancer Institute’s Country Club Road clinic and are offered free of charge.
“When people start to lose their hair, it can be dramatic,” Shannon says. “Patients can come into the Believe Boutique and be fitted for a wig. They can also receive a hat, scarf or a turban. We have volunteers who will teach them how to tie the scarves and make the hats look cool.”
“What’s unique about the Believe Boutique is that it’s here, on-site, which is a bonus for our patients,” says WVCI oncology social worker Lynda Godell. “They can make appointments to be fitted for a wig or experiment with scarves after their doctor’s appointment, or before or after their treatment. This collaboration makes it very convenient for the patient.”
In addition to fittings, ACS offers a workshop once a month called Look Good, Feel Better. Trained, volunteer cosmetologists help women cope with cancer treatment side effects using skin care products and cosmetics.
“How do you make it look like you have eyebrows when you’ve lost yours due to chemotherapy? How do you make it look like you have eye lashes?” Shannon says. “They talk about skin care and all those topics because that’s important to many women. We want to look good, even when we feel horrible.”
To schedule an appointment at the Believe Boutique or to register for the Look Good…Feel Better program, call 800-227-2345.
Cancer Resource Center
The Cancer Resource Center is an area inside WVCI, specifically designed to help patients access information about their specific cancer and treatment, as well as side effects, including nausea, sleep problems and distress. Visitors will find information about community resources, as well as support services for caregivers. In addition, organizational binders, called personal health managers, are available to newly diagnosed patients to help them keep their paperwork organized.
“The Cancer Resource Center is available to anyone, no matter if they’re getting treatment at WVCI or not,” says Laura Brown with American Cancer Society. “Whether you want to talk about something that’s personal or you want to talk about something that’s informative, we have that available to you. Whether you’re a patient, a caregiver or a friend, we have information for you.”
The Cancer Resource Center is open during Willamette Valley Cancer Institute’s regular business hours and is generally staffed by a volunteer from 11 am-2 pm, Monday through Friday.
More ACS programs
In addition to the Cancer Resource Center and the Believe Boutique, the American Cancer Society offers additional programs to assist cancer patients. Information about these programs is available in the Cancer Resource Center.
- Road to Recovery: Volunteers drive cancer patients who have no other means of transportation to their treatment appointments and back home again.
- Reach to Recovery: Volunteers who are breast cancer survivors themselves meet with patients in person or over the phone to offer support and information needed to cope with their diagnosis.
- Cancer Survivors Network: Created by and for cancer survivors and their families, this online community at cancer.org is a welcoming, safe place for people to find hope and inspiration from others who have “been there.” Services include discussion boards and chat rooms.
Interested in volunteering?
The American Cancer Society’s programs are volunteer supported. If you have a willingness to help cancer patients, there are many opportunities available. Contact ACS at 800-227-2345 to learn more.