At The Gathering Place we believe that there isn’t just one way to support an individual during the cancer journey. We offer support groups, counseling, art therapy and many other services including the periodic opportunity to read an enlightening book and discuss it with others on the cancer journey.
On Friday, March 22nd a group of our participants discussed Breakfast with Buddha by Roland Merullo. The discussion was led by program staff members, Betsy Kohn and Eileen Coan. Our participants received the added bonus of being able to talk with the author, Roland Merullo, who participated via conference call from his home in Massachusetts.
Breakfast with Buddha is a work of fiction about a man who unwittingly finds what he’s missing in the most unexpected place. Mr. Merullo shared that he drew on life experiences to create the story. While talking with participants in the book discussion group he shared about spiritual practices, plot development (he lets the characters of the story determine the direction and lead him on a journey) and traveling with his children. Our participants were able to share with him how much this book meant to them.
Several of our participants found that the book was life-changing as it helped them to gain spiritual awareness, as well as recognize that they can find humor, even when faced with the challenges life brings (being diagnosed with cancer, caring for someone diagnosed with cancer, or having a loved one die from cancer). Just as the two main characters in the book, Otto and the Buddha (Rimpoche), learn about each other as they travel the United States, our participants expressed the cancer experience has taken them to unexpected places which they are learning to navigate with a greater sense of peace and comfort.
The next discussion takes place in June and the book is One Good Deed: 365 Days of Trying to Be Just a Little Bit Better. Perhaps you’ll join Betsy and Eileen as they focus on the positive effects of reaching outside of ourselves even in the face of a cancer diagnosis. They will invite the author, Erin McHugh, to join the discussion. Keep your fingers crossed.
Click here to register for the Beachwood book discussion – Friday, June 14th, 1:00-2:00pm
Click here to register for the Westlake book discussion – Thursday, June 27th, 1:00-2:00pm
Eileen Coan, MA, MLS, Medical Librarian
After a decade in the nonprofit mental health field, Eileen obtained a degree in Library Science to address the need for relevant, credible information for people in crisis. She started the first consumer health cancer library in Cleveland at Fairview Hospital’s Moll Center and has been with The Gathering Place since it opened in 2000. Eileen works to overcome the stereotypes of librarians! She also teaches guided imagery, journaling, and craft activities at The Gathering Place and has a special interest in bioethics. Contact Eileen at email@example.com
Betsy Kohn, MS, PC, Director of Volunteers/Program Staff Member
Betsy brings to The Gathering Place many years of experience in coordination and supervisory roles. She came to The Gathering Place to use her organizational skills and positive, supportive communication to assist volunteers in finding their place as part of our community. Betsy is also a member of the clinical program staff and facilitates support groups and workshops, as well as provides individual counseling. Contact Betsy at firstname.lastname@example.org