Welcome to the first of our new series called #MemberMondays. In an effort to create #community and learn how to refer business to one another we will be interviewing and publishing a weekly article where we will introduce you to one of our #PleasantHillChamber members and let you take a look inside their organization.
This week I had the pleasure of interviewing part of the leadership team at #CancerSupportCommunity, formally the Wellness Community, which is located on the border of Walnut Creek and Pleasant Hill at 3276 McNutt Avenue. This center is a one of a kind in all of Northern California and we are so lucky to have them right here in our community. All the services are FREE of charge and there is no limit to the amount of support one can receive, no income limitations, and no geographical limitations. The services are open to anyone who has been affected by cancer -- those who have received the diagnosis -- as well as their families, friends and caregivers.
Some of the services they provide are Support Groups and Counseling, Educational Workshops, Nutritional Education, Adaptive Exercise, Mind and Body Classes, and Creative Expression Workshops. They also provide Family and Children’s Services, Social Connections as well as Information and Referrals for Resources. The center has over 400 educational programs per year and the calendar can be viewed on their website.
I first sat down with James (Jim) Bouquin, the CEO, who shared his own personal story of how he came to be associated with CSC. When his wife received her cancer diagnosis, she was referred to the center by her medical team. Now a 17 year cancer survivor she still comes to the center to utilize the many tailored classes they have to offer. When I asked Jim what the company mission was he stated, without hesitation…” To improve the health of the patients while helping them to live longer in a fulfilling and meaningful way. The original idea was to bring together both professional and peer support to address the whole person, mind, body and spirit.“
Jim shared how they have done actual studies on how patients who use their services and seek out peer support tend to live longer, more fulfilling lives. No one can understand better what it feels like to receive that cancer diagnosis than a fellow cancer patient/survivor. All of the volunteers who assist at the center are cancer survivors. The center prides itself on the ability to blend the professional support with peer support.
Jim had no problem sharing information about the center, he was quite passionate and captivating as he shared the mission, the services and the future of CSC. He paused a bit more and really had to dig deep when I asked him more personal questions. Jim grew up in Walnut Creek and went to Las Lomas High School, he has one sibling and graduated college from Stanford University. His entire career has been in the non profit sector. The book he has recently shared the most with others is called The Five Invitations by Frank Ostaseski. Jim enjoys
fitness, managing his flower garden, playing his electric guitar, working with kids coaching baseball. He plays on a men’s team himself. Jim has one son and two daughters and loves to spend time with them when they are in town. He wishes they were closer so he could drop in from time to time. His most memorable concert was Bruce Springstein and that might have had something to do with the fact that he was seated right next to the Manhattan Transfers. Jim is a vegetarian and lives in Concord with is wife. He loves to frequent restaurants that have vegetarian, whole food options.
After sitting down with Jim I was able to walk down the hall and sit with Margaret Stauffer for a bit and find out a little bit about her. Margaret is the company’s Chief Mission Officer and is instrumental in not only putting the monthly calendar together but in making sure they have many programs and workshops to meet all the needs of the members. Margaret is also a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. She brings a gentle, compassionate presence to the center. She also has a firm, can-do work ethic that others highly respect.
Margaret joined Cancer Support Community back in 2001. She originally joined the company when it was a sister company based in San Diego. Later in 2010 it was changed to the Wellness Community and most recently to the Cancer Support Community. Currently they have 11 full time and 11 part time employees on staff. Margaret feels honored to be a part of a company that allows cancer patients and their families and caregivers to feel less isolated, to live better and longer lives. The program instructors are geared specifically for cancer patients to allow them to regain some sense of meaning and control of their lives. Margaret’s mom was diagnosed with cancer many years ago and she found at that time that there were not a lot of resources to support not only the patients but the families and caregivers as well. Here at the CSC she prides herself and the company mission to allow people to make deep connections here at the center.
Margaret was born in nearby St. Helena. She has two brothers (one passed away) and her father is 103 years old. She attributes this to good genes and a healthy lifestyle her father has always maintained. The CSC allows Margaret to keep her priorities straight and has a tremendous appreciation for what can be built by people coming together to make a difference. Margaret comes from a classical music family. She used to play the piano herself but hasn’t for many years. Margaret is also a vegetarian. Margaret loves to be outside, going for walks, near the ocean or just in a quiet place; she feels refreshed by nature. The last trip she took was to San Jose del Cabo to enjoy some sunshine and ocean breezes. Margaret has a soft spot for cats and has a few of her own. It was a pleasure to sit with her and learn a little more about the personal side to Margaret.
If you have been affected by cancer in any way please reach out to the # CancerSupport Community and become a member. If you want to contribute to this amazing center please take a look at their upcoming event # TheHopeWalk on May 18th in Walnut Creek. There are so many ways to support our CSC so they can continue to support our loved ones.
Cancer Support Community
Cancer Support Community