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MEMBER SPOTLIGHT- Grace Marchand Baskin

Coffee with Yolie: A mother-in-law’s perspective on her daughter-in-law, Yolanda (Yolie) Baskin, who made her recent journey….to Heaven.
by Grace Marchand BaskinYolie

I didn’t know what I could do for her to make her well, again….there was nothing that I could have done that would have made any difference…..nothing, and I’m sad over that. I couldn’t save her one little smidgen.

I even told her parents I would if I could, even if it meant losing my own life, as I’ve lived a good one, and as old as I now am (just turned 70 years young) why oh why could I not have been able to transfer some of those years over to her? She needed them more than I did, and it would be wonderful to be able to help her do the same, as all she wanted was to see her children grow,  but …..all I could do were some things, I think I do best: have a great cup of coffee, and write, so I did.  Each morning began with me making a pot of coffee to perk, and when ready, I’d call her wherever she was, home or hospital, and say, “Okay, I’m having coffee now”, and she’d reply, “I am, too, mom, with a biscotti.” (She loved biscotti so much I dubbed her Yolie Biscotti)……and then,

I started writing her letters after her brain surgery, and each time she had to go back to UCLA, and then in the care center, then at home…..etc., sketching colorful pictures on the envelopes, and stationary, filling lines with sweet or funny phrases and memories……telling her how much I have always appreciated her taking such great care of my son…….how she always made his dreams, hers, how good her parents were to him – he has great in-laws…..just some of the stuff that I wanted her to know while she was alive and well, and for that matter, I’ve told her these things many times over the years they were married, just so nothing ever, was left unsaid.  We had a comfortable relationship, and again, the fact that she was so “there” for my son, all of the time, no matter what – I knew that if things were reversed she would be in his court front and center: there’s nothing more I can say, except – he will never find another like her. I fill my cup of coffee in the morning, look over at the Sacred Heart of Jesus picture that mom gave me, then at Yolie’s picture, and say, “Here’s to you”, and I’m going to keep saying it because there it is….coffee with Yolie, now, and always. Love, Mom B. xo


Help us welcome new staff member

McCall James joins the Cancer Support Community Valley/Ventura/Santa Barbara as the new Director of Events.McCall James.jpg

McCall graduated from the University of Arizona with Business degree from Eller College of Management. McCall formerly operated as a project manager consulting in the banking and financial industries for multiple national companies. She’s also an avid volunteer, personally co-hosting multiple successful fundraising events associated with the LA Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association.

After moving back to her hometown of Westlake Village with her husband, Michael, McCall is ready to grow her roots in the nonprofit world.

“I’m thrilled to be joining the CSC family. I am passionate about bringing people together and providing support to those affected by cancer, all of which my role as event planner and position within this dynamic organization will directly accomplish,” said McCall. “I look forward channeling my energies as we seek new sponsors and heighten awareness about all of the wonderful resources we offer to participants and their families. I will be diving right in as we host our annual Wings of Hope Gala on Friday, May 5 at 6:30pm at The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Foundation with over 400 expected in attendance; it will be an exceptional evening.”

Please help us welcome McCall James to the Cancer Support Community.

“Dear Cancer, It’s Me” High School Essay Competition Update

We received 40 essays written by students from over 23 high schools from the San Dan StepanoskyFernando Valley to Santa Barbara who have experienced cancer themselves, or who have a loved one or friend with cancer. Now 30 judges, selected from the community, are reading these heartfelt, poignant essays. One judge remarked, “each essay was so incredibly brave, sad and hopeful.” The finalists and their families will gather at an awards ceremony on Sunday, May 21, where the winners will be announced. Dr. Dan Stepenosky, Superintendent of Las Virgenes Unified School District, will graciously join us as our keynote speaker. Thank you to the generosity of our sponsors, Premier America Credit Union and Union Bank, for making this incredibly important program possible.
Sponsored by:

Volunteer Spotlight – Liz Fahy

Liz Fahy has been involved with CSC for six months as a volunteer on the front desk.Liz

How did you hear about Cancer Support Community?   I became aware of CSC in October 2016 when I was seeking voluntary work, particularly in the area of cancer. I noticed the CSC while driving past one day and immediately pulled into the parking lot. I was greeted very enthusiastically and arranged a visit with a view to becoming a volunteer. I was also advised to join one of the support groups which meets weekly at CSC. This group has provided a huge amount of comfort and, perhaps surprisingly, there is a lot of laughter!

How has cancer impacted your life?   I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2014, less than two years after moving from London, to start a new life in California. It was a confusing time. Not only had no member of my family ever been diagnosed with cancer but, in terms of medical care, I was in very unfamiliar territory. I wish that I had known about CSC then. The cancer returned in early 2016 and I finished my second round of chemotherapy last July. At that point I felt very strongly that I wanted to help, in any way possible, other people with this disease.

What do you find most rewarding about your volunteer work with CSC?   From the moment that I walk into CSC, I am overwhelmed by the warmth, dedication, compassion and positivity of everyone involved. One of the most rewarding moments so far involved a distress phone call when I was very new to CSC. I think/hope that I dealt with this compassionately.

What are you working on right now for CSC?   In addition to my work on the front desk, I have volunteered to help with any tasks required in the week preceding the Gala. I will also be involved in preparations for the auction and in setting it up at the Reagan Library on May 5.

Please say “hello” next time you see Liz at the front desk.

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