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Got Legal Questions?

Shawn Kravich, Associate Director of the Cancer Legal Resource Center, was kind enough to provide the information below. If you are dealing with cancer and need help with a legal issue, the CLRC is a fantastic resource. Thank you, Shawn and the Cancer Legal Resource Center!

shawnkravichA cancer diagnosis may carry with it a variety of potential legal issues, relating to insurance, access to care and government benefits, consumer rights, advanced planning, and employment. While we recognize that it should not take legal resources to access healthcare, understand insurance options, or preserve one’s job, it frequently does. When information is easily accessible and understandable, we believe the quality of cancer survivorship improves.

The Cancer Legal Resource Center, a joint program of the Disability Rights Legal Center and Loyola Law School Los Angeles, is a national, nonprofit organization that provides free information and resources on cancer-related legal issues to people coping with cancer.

The CLRC provides a comprehensive array of free services in English and Spanish to individuals coping with cancer-related legal issues. The CLRC hosts a toll-free, national Telephone Assistance Line (866-THE-CLRC), educational seminars, information on cancer-related public policy issues, and Cancer Rights Conferences on cancer-related legal issues. For more information about the services provided by the CLRC, please visit their website at

Shawn will provide an informational seminar on Cancer and the Law at the Cancer Support Community VVSB in Westlake Village, CA on Thursday, July 25, 2013 at 6:30pm. Please click here for details.

Shawn Kravich is Associate Director of the Cancer Legal Resource Center.  Prior to joining the CLRC in 2010, Mr. Kravich had fellowships at the National Trust for Historic Preservation in DC, and a research and writing fellowship for law faculty at the University of Chicago School of Law and Columbia Law School.  He is a member of the California, Connecticut, and New York state bars.


Tan Expectations

This post appeared on the Cancer Support Community Blog on July 10, 2013. We would like to thank author Shanna Cole and the Cancer Support Community for providing this important information.

Skin-SafetyToday the threat of skin cancer does not usually cross young peoples’ minds when they grab their towels and skip the sunscreen to lie out in the sun to get bronze skin. It is normal and very common to bring up in conversation one’s tan, and it is a compliment to hear, “Wow, you look so dark!” As a college student, I know that a nice tan is an expectation of young people during the summer months. – See more at:

The media and pop culture often glamorize tan skin, encouraging young people to attain a luminous glow. However, skin cancer is a very real danger to my generation. The most aggressive form of skin cancer is melanoma. It develops when skin cells are damaged and mutate, which causes rapid skin cell growth. It is usually pigmented (typically brown or black) and can be seen on the skin.  It is estimated that in 2013, 76,690 new cases of invasive melanoma will be diagnosed. Melanoma is also the most common form of cancer in young adults ages 25-29.

Risk factors for melanoma include ultraviolet (UV) radiation, which can come from the sun’s UV rays or indoor tanning machines – these emit UV radiation as damaging or sometimes even more than the sun’s rays. Sunburns caused by excessive sun can also lead to melanoma. For these two reasons it is crucial to stay in the shade on sunny days or if you must be in the sun, routinely use and reapply sunscreen or wear protective clothing. It is recommended that you use a “broad spectrum” (blocks UVA and UVB rays) sunscreen that is at least 15 SPF. Sunscreen should be reapplied every two hours and after sweating or swimming, even if the bottle says “waterproof” or “sweat resistant.”

Young people also need to take into account their own skin and family history of melanoma. People with fairer skin, freckles and light hair and eye color should be especially cautious – all of these are signs of increased risk for skin cancer. Melanoma is often found in moles so be aware of any moles that you have and any new ones that develop. It is a good habit to check your skin about once a month for any changes.

So although it is tempting to bathe in the sun all day unprotected, and brag about that burn that will soon “turn into a tan,” it is important to think twice about the damaging effects it has on your skin. As UV Safety Month comes up in July, be sure to protect your skin from the sun’s damaging rays and routinely do self-checks or have a dermatologist look at your moles. If you really want that summer glow, self-tanning lotions provide color without the danger. Keeping your skin safe and healthy will be worth it in the long run, while a tan will eventually fade.

To learn more about melanoma, download our Frankly Speaking About Cancer: Melanoma guide. This booklet provides insight into managing a melanoma diagnosis, making treatment decisions and coping with the emotional and practical obstacles people face after being diagnosed with the disease.

Shanna is an education intern at the Cancer Support Community and a rising junior at The George Washington University, where she is studying international affairs and political science and has a strong interest in public health.

Change for Hope: Another Phase Completed!

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Two years ago, in honor of our 20th anniversary, a number of designers in our community  joined forces to plan a “facelift” for the interior of our building, so that people coming to take part in our cancer support groups and programs would feel even more welcome. We call the long-term project Change for Hope, and we are thrilled to show you the results of the latest phase!

Change for Hope LogoAt the helm of this exciting project is Jo-Ann Capelaci, Principal Designer of Colours & Concepts in Thousand Oaks.  As Change for Hope Chairperson, Jo-Ann is overseeing an innovative collaboration of six designers embarking on a complete makeover of CSCVVSB’s facility, where thousands of people seek support and hope during their cancer journey.

We are very fortunate to own our own facility, through the incredible generosity of an anonymous donor, and have been providing our services to both participants and their caregivers in this building for more than twenty years.

The good fortune of owning our facility brings with it the on-going need for maintenance. Our building, built during the 1970’s, had not been refurbished since 1995.

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Throughout this project, we have been truly grateful for the time, labor, and expertise that this group of amazing interior designers and decorators has generously donated:

Jo-Ann Capelaci, Colours & Concepts

Eileen Gould, Lifestyles Interior Design & Construction 

Fifi Lippman, Interiors by Fifi 

Jule Lucero, Jule Lucero Design 

Sue Breitrose, Closet Factory 

Additionally, these wonderful designers are helping to facilitate the donation of much of the furniture, flooring, and carpets from the following generous vendors:

Flooring 101

J.C.’s Professional Painters, Inc.

Meathead Movers

Pacific Sales


RAM Construction

Sherwin Williams

Waste Management

Special thanks goes to the volunteers from our community and the group of volunteers from Baxter who helped us pack and unpack our building. We truly appreciate all of your hard work.

We hope you enjoy our Before and After photos, and hope you can come visit us soon and see the improvements in person!

The Tradition Continues…

A view of the Brooks Family's festive fireplace

A view of the Brooks Family’s festive fireplace

Does your home have a story to tell? Do you enjoy decking the halls for the holidays? Do you have unique traditions, heirlooms, or collections that you would like to display for a worthy cause? Does your home have one-of-a-kind interior or exterior features?

The Cancer Support Community Valley/Ventura/Santa Barbara (CSCVVSB) is now accepting nominations for homes in the Conejo Valley and Calabasas area to be featured on our 22nd Annual Holiday Homes Tour, Saturday and Sunday, December 7 and 8, 2013. Please call CSCVVSB president Suzanne Drace at (805) 371-0417 to nominate a home.

“Participating in the Holiday Homes Tour was one of the most rewarding things that we’ve ever done,” says Craig Brooks, who along with his wife Dr. Mai Brooks and their two sons, participated last year with their home in Country Club Estates. “For our family it was memorable and life-changing. It was amazing to meet so many people that the Cancer Support Community has helped.”

The Brooks Family participated in 2012.

The Brooks Family participated in 2012.

Craig assures potential homeowners not to worry about opening their home to visitors. “The organizers and docents were beyond professional in managing the visitors.  No food or drinks is allowed.  All visitors wear booties.  The owners decide what rooms and where guests can visit.  Funny story, I was drinking a glass of water and unthinkingly placed it on our pool table as I was conversing with some guests.  Another visitor, apparently a veteran Holiday Homes tourer, politely picked up the glass, frowned at me a bit and told me that I shouldn’t be doing that.  She didn’t realize I was the homeowner.  It gave me a chuckle but also reinforced to me the respect the visitors have for the homes on tour.”

The Dallas Family participated in 1995, 1999, and 2007.

The Dallas Family participated in 1995, 1999, and 2007.

The Thousand Oaks home of William and Beverly Dallas was featured in 1995, 1999, and 2007. “Having our home in the Holiday Homes Tour was a great way to help raise money for cancer patients and their families,” says Beverly Dallas. “We decorated our home for others to enjoy during a beautiful season. It still surprises me how many people go on the tour and how much they really enjoy going to the homes. They put together parties and make dates with survivors, their girlfriends or families to make a wonderful day of it.”

Craig adds that his family would gladly open their home again for the tour. “I guarantee anyone that it would be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life,” says Craig.

And if that doesn’t convince you, here is another perk, courtesy of Beverly Dallas: “You get your home decorated before the rush of the season. It takes the stress out of December!