Powerful Support: How Pittsburgh’s Cancer Caring Center Is Making a Difference

By Christine Tumpson | Photograph by Michael Fornataro | From Robin Beruh, Assistant Director, Cancer Caring Center

The power of the Cancer Caring Center lies within its very foundation with a focus on empowerment and positive reinforcement for cancer patients and their families, including children. With an effervescent leader in Executive Director Rebecca Whitlinger, the center’s team of supportive professionals provide care in a warm, comfortable environment. The center’s self-described primary task is to help people discover inner resources to effectively cope with cancer. Empowering patients and families by providing free care reinforces the message that life can go on after a cancer diagnosis.


“It’s a safe place for me to go to talk about my situation with cancer, as well as receive free emotional and physical support. I also found stress reduction there with things like Reiki, massage, and by participating in the Young Adult Cancer Support program.” — Jack Ball

Jack Ball, a 46-year-old, five-year cancer survivor, in front of the Cancer Caring Center in Bloomfield, finished treatment for Stage 3 Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Jack Ball, a 46-year-old, five-year cancer survivor, in front of the Cancer Caring Center in Bloomfield, finished treatment for Stage 3 Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

The Cancer Caring Center is dedicated to providing free social and emotional support to cancer patients, their families, and friends in Western Pa. since 1988. In addition to support networks throughout Western Pa., we provide individual counseling, telephone helpline, and the Young Adult Cancer Support (YACS) program. We also offer wellness programs (hands-on therapy, reiki, art therapy, and gentle yoga), pet therapy, and counseling for children who have a family member with cancer.

“Because even when you’re done with chemotherapy and radiation, you’re never done. You’re moving on, but life moves in inches and the Cancer Caring Center helps move you along.” — Jack Ball

In the last few years, we have seen a dramatic increase in the number of patients who are uninsured or underinsured. We totally agree with Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank (GPCFB) that no one should have to choose between prescriptions and food! The Center partnered with GPCFB in 2007 to offer some basic nonperishables including liquid nutrition, i.e., Ensure. The Center is the only agency that offers a case of Ensure per patient per month.

The Center is supported by local foundations, private donations, and a handful of fundraisers each year — Steelers Style Fashion Show, Pittsburgh Rock ‘N Roll Legends Awards, Jeans, Jewels and Jazz, and our new Kennywood 5K. Cancer Caring Center, 4117 Liberty Ave., Bloomfield, 412.622.1212. cancercaring.org.

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