The language of cancer is grim: chemotherapy, radiation, lumpectomy, mastectomy, bone marrow transplant.
Sandra J. Wing knows. She's been there. She's a dual cancer survivor who found therapy helped her on her cancer recovery journey and created the Sandra J. Wing Healing Therapies Foundation to aid others along their way. Her foundation has introduced a different vocabulary for cancer patients: acupuncture, acupressure, meditation, guided imagery and therapeutic massage.
In remarks to the Valley Real Estate Network earlier this month, Sandra, who has lived and worked in Pleasanton for more than 25 years, said most insurance groups do not pay for therapeutic treatments so she started the nonprofit to help remove some of the financial burden so that cancer patients can experience healing therapy comfort throughout their treatments.
Since then, 942 patients undergoing cancer treatments have taken advantage of the Tri-Valley foundation's services, which are funded through benefits she sponsors and contributions from the Pleasanton Weekly Holiday Fund.
Sandra is a U.S. Army veteran, has bachelor's and master's degrees in business management and taught undergraduate and graduate business students at the University of Phoenix. In addition to her role as CEO/president for the foundation, which is located at 440 Boulder Court in Pleasanton, she is a graduate of Leadership Pleasanton, a program of the Pleasanton Chamber of Commerce where she serves on its foundation board and also is an advisory board member to Hope Hospice.
But it's the cancer healing therapies program that commands most of her attention. From cancer diagnosis, through surgery and during the chemo treatment, she found great benefit, calmness and pain relief by accessing complementary healing therapies, including visualization and deep breathing meditation that enhanced and improved her wellness and well being.
She accessed these therapy services at UC San Francisco's Osher Center and, when successfully recovered, was determined to make these healing services available locally, including to residents at the Veterans Administration hospital in Livermore and at senior centers in the Tri-Valley area.
Sandra told the Realtors that although there are many hundreds of healing therapies and wonderful treatment options, the Sandra J. Wing Healing Therapies Foundation focuses on the five therapies that she found worked the best during her cancer treatments.
"These have been proven to be therapeutically beneficial in many scientific studies," she said. "These healing therapies can provide relief for neuropathy, anxiety, stress, aches, fatigue, nausea and pain."
One of her patients praised Sandra's work in a recent letter. The woman, who asked that only her first name Dolores be used, wrote:
"What a marvelous gift your foundation gave to me upon having pancreatic cancer! I kept pinching myself to make sure it really was true, that someone would care enough about cancer patients to provide such great healing therapies.
"Getting cancer is a terrible affliction that causes one to ask, 'Why me?' And then to feel quite distressed about it as if scarred for life. I felt that I was different from others, as if some higher power had cut me out of society and my wonderful pre-cancer life. Then someone at the hospital told me about the Sandra J. Wing Healing Therapies Foundation, which gives therapies to cancer victims. Suddenly I was lifted from being someone who was beaten down to someone who was 'selected' to heal. Thinking about it brings tears to my eyes. Even my prince of a husband, who was with me every minute through this disease, was not in my position.
"I'm not accustomed to getting regular massages, so that kind of therapy had the greatest appeal for me. Most of the credit (goes to) a wonderful medical masseuse, who provided a welcoming environment that included careful assessment of my needs, a heated table, beautiful music and amazing techniques that sometimes made me forget where I was. I will be forever grateful to her for giving me a respite from my worries about my health, relief from sore and tight muscles and a way to escape my present condition so that I could muster up the courage to fight the cancer again. She is a remarkably skilled therapist, and I will always remember what she did for me.
"I commend the Sandra J. Wing Healing Therapies Foundation for truly helping me and other cancer patients in their fight to get back to normal. Because of my cancer (I've had it twice), I have learned to fully embrace the present, to do today those things I tend to postpone, to work toward a kinder world, to more frequently express my love for family and friends and to look for the bright spots that appear daily in everyday life.
"Thank you so much for your generosity and kindness in helping me come to this point in my life."
For more information about the foundation, sign on to its website at www.healingtherapiesfoundation.org.