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Supporting people living with cancer since 1993


Dear members friends and supporters
Greetings from all of us at Life Force
 
The Return of Spring.
 
As the seasons keep turning and winter fades, we see that change is inevitable.
 
Perhaps with the return of Spring bringing renewal to the land, we too can experience a renewed sense of energy and joy as we release old unwanted energies and look to new beginnings. We can take time to focus on the beauty of the world around us and give thanks for blessings received.
The miracle of spring reminds us that faith love and hope can prevail and be with us on our journey through difficult and challenging times.
It reminds us to nurture and care for ourselves. Like little bees we can go from flower to flower and gather what we need to sustain us and bring sweetness into our lives.
All in the Same Boat  
 
It’s important to acknowledge and express painful emotions as well as joyful ones. Connecting with others on a similar path and sharing our stories with them can bring great healing on many levels.
I sometimes think of a support group as a boat, with each person having an oar and all paddling together – “all in the same boat”. Everyone contributes something to the group by sharing their stories and listening to each other, in this way together keeping the boat afloat and moving forward. We can be such gifts to each other.
 
Join a Life Force group for comfort, friendship and support. Call: Jane 0412 643 751
 
Our thanks to all our wonderful supporters who keep our Life Force boat afloat with your generous donations.
If you can, please make a donation, so we can continue to provide our valuable supportive care services to those in need in Sydney and across NSW. 


 
Our Healing Garden
(from our meditation teacher Caro Jonas)

Life Force Cancer Foundation - Term 3 Meditation Series - ‘The Language of Flowers’ - Week 10
The theme of this final week is ‘the celebration of the world of beauty that surrounds us - and the corresponding beauty that lies within us’.
We leave our safe pink house and go into our garden. We sit on our bench. The sun is shining and the air is crisp. We look around us. We see and reflect on those flowers which we have examined during the last several weeks - the roses, the sunflowers, the sweet-peas, the gerberas, the orchids, the fuchsias and all the others. We see the fluttering of birds - we feel the soft sunlight touching our face - we look upwards to take in the dazzlingly blue sky. We appreciate the delicate, quivering cross-blend of light and shade. We find joy in the heady scent of the blossoms. We feel the soft warm breeze on our cheeks. We exalt that all these ‘things of beauty’ are reflected in ‘ourselves’. We celebrate the presence of such beauty - ‘outside’ us and, correspondingly, ‘within’ us. We have been strengthened and healed by this journey. We celebrate our remarkable ‘flower healing journey’.
 
See Term 4 support group dates here...
On the Road Again
 
Our Regional Outreach team, Jilly, Mariette Mudita Maclurcan and Karen Borchard hit the road again to take our supportive care program to another group of cancer survivors in country NSW. This time, we ran a day retreat for ten wonderful women in Tamworth. The women were referred by the health care team at the North West Cancer Centre, Tamworth Base Hospital, and local NSW Cancer Council staff.
What a fabulous and inspiring day it was as together we explored ways to help navigate the huge challenges of the cancer experience.
Once again, we witnessed how amazingly transformative these shared experiences are. The women were able to get in touch with their feelings and find within themselves a rich source of wisdom and strength as they regained their sense of self and a renewed confidence. It’s a great privilege to meet so many wonderful people on our travels through the regions. They are our inspiration as we continue our outreach work.

Relaxing after a chair yoga and meditation session conducted by Mariette,
September retreat Tamworth
Complementary Therapies and Quality of Life

By Mariette Mudita Maclurcan - MindBodyMedicine4Cancer  

Mariette, one of our long-time Life Force therapists, who undertook research into the benefits of a yoga program designed specifically for cancer patients as part of her Master of Science thesis back in 2003, wrote:
Cancer patients and those around them are faced with multiple challenges throughout and following medical treatment.
In Australia and other countries, evidence-based research has shown that psychological distress can be a common outcome during and post cancer treatment for many different types and stages of cancer.
Studies have also indicated the positive effects of a range of psychological interventions in reducing this distress and improving the quality of life in cancer patients. A variety of psychological and exercise interventions have been provided to help decrease cancer-related distress. These included: individual counselling, group therapy, and stress management techniques such as relaxation, meditation and visualisation.
Mudita hypothesised that given a holistic yoga program combines all of the above elements in one session, so it could be beneficial as a coping strategy to counteract the psychological distress experienced by those who have experienced cancer. As it had also been demonstrated that gentle to moderate exercise can have positive effects on a cancer patient’s physical, functional, psychological and emotional wellbeing, Mudita believed that the yogic postures would have a similar effect, while the other practices would provide the emotional and mental benefits assisting psychological wellbeing.
Previous studies had shown that yoga interventions for people with cancer contributed to healthier psychological outcomes.  For example, Speca et al (2000), Carson et al (2001), Shapiro (2002) reported increased levels of self-esteem, self-understanding and awareness for those who took part in a yoga for cancer program. 
Mudita undertook the first small sample pilot study in Australia to look at the effects of Yoga Intervention for women with Stage 1-111 Breast cancer. The women took part in a 12-week weekly holistic program, which included therapeutic restorative postures, breathing, meditation, relaxation and visualisation practices.
The practices chosen were therapeutic in nature as they addressed the physical, emotional and mental issues as outlined by patients and Australian research.  The postures or movements were adapted to the body issues associated with treatment regimens. Some of the postures also involved working the vagal nerve, which is associated with activating the Parasympathetic Nervous System producing a calm relaxation response in the body.
The term yoga means balance and harmony and helps restore physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. It is an empowering self-care tool, which can be used anywhere: at home, in hospital or in a class setting. Known benefits include:
  • Gently strengthens and conditions the body
  • Reduces stress, emotional distress, anxiety
  • Reduces anger and tension
  • Improves energy levels, counteracts fatigue and improves low mood
  • Counteracts overactive and worrisome thought patterns
  • Overcomes sleeping difficulties and enhances sleep quality
Since this early study of Mudita’s, meditation, relaxation and yoga programs have become recognised both nationally and internationally, as part of an integrated system of care for people with cancer in which both the physical and psychosocial needs of the patient are addressed.
Community Support
Sponsorship from Joblink Plus

 
We are so very grateful for recent community support for our NSW Regional Project in the form of an initial substantial donation plus a three-year sponsorship from Joblink Plus. This is fantastic!  It will enable us to continue to provide our valuable retreats and workshops in rural regional and remote areas of the state where access to psychosocial support is so limited.
We are committed to continuing to offer our regional programs free of charge to participants in disadvantaged areas, “Closing the Gap” in cancer care in line with the NSW Cancer Plan 2022-2027.
We are thrilled that Joblink Plus has chosen to partner with us in providing tangible and meaningful outcomes for people affected by cancer in regional communities.
 
SO, THANK YOU! THANK YOU!  JOBLINK PLUS!!  

 
Joblink Plus supports communities through direct contributions, social enterprise, and grass roots volunteering. We partner with a diverse range of organisations with shared values, including local sporting teams, arts events, health initiatives as well as various youth and Indigenous programs.
Across four regions of New South Wales - New England North West, Central West, Hunter, Far West Orana. 
Beach2Beach
A small but enthusiastic Life Force team participated in this year’s inaugural Beach2Beach Fun Run on the Northern Beaches to raise funds for our support groups. A big thank you to all those in the community who generously supported our runners. With your generous donations we were able to raise nearly $5000!
Life Force Memories Day
 
In October each year we celebrate Life Force Memories Day.
A time to remember all those who have been part of the Life Force Family over the years, all those who have died, who have gone before us and have enriched our lives through their presence.
In our 27th Anniversary Year as a charitable institution, we honour them all, and thank them for the gifts they have given us.
We stay in connection with those who have gone. Though their lives seem to have been lost, we always remember them and so they continue to be part of our ongoing story.  They will always be with us inspiring us to continue.
 
We honour all who have lost their lives to cancer, and send our loving thoughts and wishes to those who love them.  Please join us on Facebook on October 19 to celebrate the lives of all who showed us the way and all those in our community living with cancer today, cancer survivors and those who love and care for them.  Light a candle in memory of someone whose life you would like to celebrate.  Send messages of love and hope to all who are going through the experience of cancer today.
 
Remember to save the date: October 19 – Life Force Memories Day
 
Life Force is here to offer loving care and support to people of all genders and all cancer types at all stages of the cancer journey.
 
You can call our counselling team
Jane: 0412 643 751

 
Love and thanks to all our friends and supporters and warm wishes from all the Life Force Team.
 Jilly
  
 Newsletter production, Lucy Carroll, Life Force Angel.
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ABN: 61 068 056 682     •     DGR: 428809     •   CFN: 15707

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