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Pink Hippy: holistic support for breast cancer patients and families

By Janet Stoica

Oxford -- Pink Hippy is a local non-profit volunteer group that is certainly one in a million.  Their mission statement is:  “A holistic support network for breast cancer patients, survivors, and their families.”

Pink Hippy was named for the pink color designated for breast cancer awareness and an acronym for each category of support:

Holistically minded for the whole person of body, mind, and spirit;

Invested in self – taking control of your whole self, educating and informing to make wise decisions;

Prevention being the best medicine;

Proactive treatment as in taking charge of your spirit as it is your mind and spirit after all; and Yes, I can become a whole, healthy individual.

Pink Hippy President Del Bachand affirms that the group is committed solely to the emotional and mental needs of breast cancer patients and their families. 

Cancer is ugly, ruthless, and heartless, but the Pink Hippy volunteer group is beautiful, giving, and heartwarming.  Their network of professionals reaches out to provide no-charge services to help with the emotional and mental process of dealing with breast cancer. 

Ms. Bachand says: “Having cancer is bad enough; getting services you need shouldn’t be a struggle too.  Three years ago a group of us, all breast cancer survivors, got together because of a holistic need, emotional, and mental.  We were born out of a sense of frustration.  We realized that there were plenty of donations going towards cancer research but not enough effort being placed towards other essential everyday needs of breast cancer patients and their families.”

Pink Hippy volunteers donate their services at reduced rates for the well-being of women who are in turmoil dealing with something that has turned their lives upside down.  It’s not a club and there are no membership fees.

All Pink Hippy services are free to those in need. Specific programs include restorative yoga to help reduce lymphedema, yoga for stress relief, Reiki to maintain inner harmony, and oncology massage for reducing pain and anxiety. There is also a Bosom Buddy Network where members can connect with patients on a one-to-one basis.  Additionally, there are workshops for creative writing, focus boards, painting, music, and movement. 

“All money raised pays for our yoga therapists, art teachers, and supplies.  There are no salaries, perks, or bonuses.  Every penny helps to subsidize the cost of our holistic services and to fund the programs we offer,” said Del. 

She was quick to point out that most of their funds come from individuals and they were extremely grateful to the Webster Five Cents Savings Bank, Southbridge Savings Bank, and Bay State Savings Bank for their recent generous donations.

“We offer our services at several hospitals in the area,” Del stated. “Among them are Harrington Hospital in Southbridge, St. Vincent in Worcester, Dana Farber in Milford, and St. Joseph’s Cancer Center in Nashua NH.”

She continues: “We are extremely fortunate to have such a great and extensive network of volunteers who give their much-needed and valuable time to us.  Our biggest challenge is getting the word out to people in need.”

Ms. Bachand also indicated that the group does not have a building or an office as they just don’t have the funds to afford such a convenience.  Even their mailing post office box is located in Quinebaug, Conn., as the post office there had the lowest rate for rentals.

“We are passionate about using our limited funds where it should be used – for cancer patients,” says Ms. Bachand.  She relates a story about her attendance at last year’s National Cancer Survivors Day.  She met a patient who had gone through chemotherapy treatments and had been given a straw hat to cover her head due to chemotherapy hair loss. This same patient had also participated in several Pink Hippy programs. Ms. Bachand saw her again this year.  “She gave me a big smile and hug,” she said. “It was so good to see her so healthy-looking without the hat and a beautiful hair style.  She thanked me and our Pink Hippy organization.  She was so grateful for the yoga classes and art classes and told me that these activities had taken her mind off all the pain she was going through.  It’s a million moments like this that help me realize how worthwhile Pink Hippy is.”

Pink Hippy will be offering a Sound Healing Workshop/Concert on Sunday, September 27, 2015 at 1:00 p.m. at the Best Western Royal Plaza Hotel, 181 Boston Post Road West, Marlborough MA 01752. More information on the program, musicians, and ticket sales is available at www.PinkHippy.org  General admission is $60 with a limited number of complimentary tickets available to cancer patients. Also, to honor those currently supporting a cancer patient, a reduced price ticket will be available for the caregiver or friend of a cancer patient attending the event.  Please call Marie (508) 735-9257 or Nancy (860) 935-5613.  The workshop/concert will include didgeridoo musician and sound therapist, Joseph Carringer; drumming, singing bowls, and intuitive spoken word with Joe Hayes from SoundScapers Drumming; and Celtic harp and sacred voice with Akasha Anne Belliveau.      PinkHippy.org is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.  P.O. Box 86, Quinebaug CT 06262   Del Bachand can be reached at (508) 987-3310.