Skip to content

ASK THE EXPERT -Eliminate Stress & Seek Inner Peace through Meditation by Vinay Chhabra

water lilyJoin the 4-week series of Guided Meditation:

Week 1:  Philosophy and Science of Meditation
Week 2:  Managing Stress
Week 3:  Coping with the Attachment
Week 4:  Living in Present

Several scientific studies have shown that mindfulness meditation can have a positive impact on a huge range of health conditions, including cancer, depression and post–traumatic disorder. Meditation has even been found to protect the mind from aging and it will make you calm, gentle, loving and give you freedom from fear.

Here are testimonials from attendees at classes held at the YMCA, Senior Concerns, Alzheimer’s Association Network Meeting and Agoura Hills Recreation Center.

“Thank You so much to Vinay and Pacific Senior Care for the meditation classes. We have 2 little boys and the meditation class was very helpful to me. It brought an awareness to me to live in the present.  I really appreciate the classes.,  Thank you again.”

“Yes My wife and I both enjoyed the presentation and the topics. I must say were right in accordance with our needs as we age.  While it was very new to me, I was having problems with my arthritis and the Yoga played a very important role in helping my condition.  I plan to continue with the Yoga and Meditation at home, however doing it in class would significantly help. Once again both my wife and I want to thank Vinay for the class.  I also want to say I sent an email to  YMCA with my appreciation for having this class a couple weeks ago.”
Jim & Evelin

“I enjoyed the classes and wished it wasn’t cut short (for me) due to pre-arrangement vacation schedules.  I missed the last two classes and hope I can retake them when you sponsor the same class again. I am practicing what I learned and will try to keep it up.  It does seem to help calm me down in stressful situations.  Thanks again and take care!”

“I did enjoy the classes found it relaxing learning how to cope with daily stressors hope he is going to give more classes.”

“I really liked Vinay’s meditation class.  I would love to take more classes with Vinay.  Please let me know when because I am a beginner and I feel he is a wonderful teacher.”
Sent from my iPhone

Classes will be held on Thursdays April 6th, 13th, 20th and 27th, 2017 from 11-00-12:30pm.  Please RSVP (805) 379-4777

Honorees Announced for Cancer Support Community Wings of Hope Gala

Cancer Support Community Valley/Ventura/Santa Barbara (CSCVVSB) will hold the WingsCSC Wings of Hope Gala Event Flyer of Hope Gala on May 5, 2017 at The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library Air Force One Pavilion, with all proceeds to benefitting the organization.

Spend an evening of humor and inspiration celebrating cancer heroes in the community. Each of the honorees has made a notable impact on the well-being of local cancer patients and their families through their connection to Cancer Support Community Valley/Ventura/Santa Barbara.

Celebration of Philanthropy honorees Tami and David Wank have helped make CSCVVSB’s cancer support programs possible through their generosity over the years. They also take an active role in the organization with David as Chair of the Board of Directors and Tami volunteering many hours of her time.
Celebration of Excellence honoree Shahryar Ashouri, MD is a well-known and much-loved physician at the Westlake Village/Thousand Oaks Hematology-Oncology Community Practice Group. His clinic ambition is to provide personalized, targeted therapy to his patients while maintaining their high quality of life. A practice that ties-in directly to the beliefs and mission of CSCVVSB. He consistently refers his patients to the organization.
Celebration of Hope honoree Steve Furnari was encouraged by hope to persevere in the face of cancer. When Steve was first diagnosed, he was told he had six months to live…that was in 1994. Today he credits Cancer Support Community, saying “it was my secret weapon”.
Celebration of Life honorees Ann Houseal and Lauri Rivetti are longtime volunteers at CSCVVSB. Both have seen loved ones affected by cancer and were drawn to Cancer Support Community as a way of giving back. Dedicated members of the Holiday Homes Tour committee, they have served as various chairs and co-chairs of the event.
The biggest fundraiser of the year for the organization; the Gala includes a cocktail reception with silent auction, entertainment, and dinner with live auction. After dinner, dance to the sounds of the Durrell Coleman Band. Proceeds from the Gala fund the children and adult support groups, educational workshops and social events. Sponsorship and advertising opportunities are available. For more information please contact:
McCall James, Director of Events (805) 379-4777 x233 or
*Views and opinions expressed by Cancer Support Community Valley/Ventura/Santa Barbara are not necessarily shared by the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Foundation.
Click here to learn about available sponsorship opportunities.

Help us Welcome Denise Coulter

Cancer Support Community VVSB would like to welcome Denise Coulter, our new Program Assistant!

Denise has been married for 17 years to a law enforcement officer and has two children, ages 9 and 14.  She enjoys scrapbooking and reading in her spare time.

Denise discovered Cancer Support Community VVSB while looking for a place to volunteer her time. She said, “It looked like such an amazing place that made a huge impact in people’s lives.  As I got to know both the staff and participants, I have developed an even greater appreciation for our unique and special community.  I am thrilled to have the opportunity to be the new Program Assistant.”

Say hello to Denise the next time you’re at CSC!

Ask the Expert – End of Life Options and Medical Aid in Dying with Erika Ruiz

On Tuesday, March 28th she will review strategies for having important conversations with your doctor, options for end of life care, and how to access California’s End of Life Option Act at the Cancer Support Community Valley/Ventura/Santa Barbara. For those who can’t make it to the workshop, Erika Ruiz was kind enough to provide the following information for our readers.

End of Life Options and Medical Aid in Dying

by Erika RuizPic Conversation at End of Life.png

We live in a death denying culture, and fear often keeps us from having meaningful conversations with our doctors and loved ones about what we want and don’t want at the end of life. It’s sometimes not easy talking about end of life issues, but it is important to have end of life planning conversations early which leads to planning for a good death and consciously thinking through your priorities and options, and the options in California now include medical aid in dying.

Have you heard of California’s End of Life Option Act? This law is California’s medical aid in dying law, similar to Oregon’s Death with Dignity Act, and it went into effect on June 9, 2016. This law gives terminally ill adults the option to get a doctor’s prescription for medication they may decide to take to end unbearable suffering, by dying peacefully in their sleep.

California is one of seven jurisdictions in the United States that now authorizes medical aid in dying. Along with California, medical aid in dying is authorized in Oregon, Washington, Montana, Vermont, Colorado and Washington D.C.

In Oregon, where the law has been in place for 20 years, many people and their medical providers were confused about the law, and heartbreakingly, were waiting too late to start the process once their suffering or pain became unbearable, and so the aid-in-dying option was not available to them despite their eligibility and despite the amount of pain and suffering they were in.

Because people lack accurate information, they wait too long to initiate end of life conversations and decision-making processes with their doctors and loved ones. We want to learn from Oregon and make sure that all Californians have access to their full range of end of life options. This is why Compassion & Choices has launched the bilingual California Access Campaign. The Access Campaign focuses on educating the public and medical professionals about all end of life options, including medical aid in dying.

Who is eligible for medical aid in dying?

To be eligible under California’s law, an individual must be:

  • An adult
  • Terminally ill
  • Given a prognosis of six months or less to live
  • Mentally capable of making their own healthcare decisions
  • A resident of California
  • Acting voluntarily
  • Making an informed decision which includes being given information about all end of life options
  • Informed that s/he may choose to obtain the aid in dying medication, but not take it
  • Capable of self-administering and ingesting the aid in dying medication

How long does the process take to request and obtain the aid in dying medication?

The process can be a lengthy one (and may not be successful) if you do not have a supportive healthcare team. The average length of time is between 15 days to three months and requires at least two doctor visits.  Therefore, it is very important for individuals who may want to access the law to talk to their doctors early.

What cause of death is listed on the death certificates of individuals who accessed medical aid in dying?

The underlying illness should be listed as the cause of death. The law specifies that a death resulting from self-administering aid in dying medication is not suicide

Does accessing medical aid in dying affect a person’s will or insurance?

No, accessing medical aid in dying does not adversely affect a person’s will or insurance. The law specifically mandates that wills, insurance, contracts and annuities are not affected if a qualified individual shortens their dying process by ingesting aid in dying medication.

Note that no one but you can make this request to your doctor(s). The request cannot be made by a designee or third party (including relatives or anyone with power of attorney), and the request cannot be made via an advance healthcare directive.

Ask your doctor and medical providers now whether they will support your end of life choices, including medical aid in dying. This will encourage your medical providers to listen to your priorities and become prepared to provide you with the treatment you may want in the future. Compassion & Choices provides assistance to physicians through our Doc2Doc Program, which offers free, confidential telephone consultation with a seasoned medical director. Please feel free to give your physician the Doc2Doc phone number: 1-800-247-7421.

More information is available at: and

Compassion & Choices
3055 Wilshire Blvd, Suite 1010
Los Angeles, CA 90010

Erika Ruiz is the Central California Outreach Manager for Compassion & Choices, a national nonprofit organization working on improving care and expanding choice at the end of life. Her interest in advocating for and educating on end of life care options stems from her experience witnessing her father suffer a difficult death in an ICU. She started volunteering with Compassion & Choices during the legislation of the End of Life Option Act and now educates Californians (in English and Spanish) on their full range of end of life care options.

Volunteer Spotlight – Becky Buck

becky-buckBecky Buck has been involved with Cancer Support Community Valley/Ventura/Santa Barbara since she was in High School. Originally starting off as a docent for Holiday Homes Tour, Becky’s commitments to CSC have only increased over the years.  She currently serves on the Board of Directors, the Holiday Homes Tour committee and as chair of the Wings of Hope Gala held on Friday, May 5, 2017, in the Air Force One Pavilion at The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library.

How did you hear about Cancer Support Community?  I first heard of CSC when I was in high school and my mother joined the Holiday Homes Tour committee.  She signed up my sisters and I to be docents on the tour. Ten years later, I joined the HHT committee and have been on it ever since.

How has cancer impacted your life?  I lost my father to lung cancer when I was just 7 years old.  It was a very difficult time for my sister, mother and I. We were living in Illinois at the time and I wish we had a cancer support group we all could have participated in together.  I feel it would have been very beneficial to us.

What do you find most rewarding about your volunteer work with CSC?   Even though I have not been a participant in CSC, I truly believe it is such an amazing organization.  To hear all the stories and witness how CSC has helped so many people, including children, makes me realize all the efforts and fundraising my family and I contribute makes it all worth it.  I have also made many new friends who share my same passion for charity involvement in our community, many who also work full-time jobs and always find a way and time to make it a part of their lifestyle.

What are you working on right now for CSC? I was very happy to be part of the Holiday Home Tour committee again in 2016, it was such a successful event.  I also joined the Board of Directors in the fall of 2016 and I am excited to be the 2017 Gala Chairperson.  I have attended the Gala for the past 10 years and look forward to working with this dynamic group to put on an amazing event, this year at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library on May 5, 2017.

Wings of Hope Gala
Friday, May 5, 2017, at 6:30 pm
The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, Air Force One Pavilion


Click Here for tickets, Sponsorship Opportunities or to advertise in the Tribute Book