As many are wrapping presents, decorating the tree and dreaming of the New Year, a whole different kind of celebrating is going on in Byron Ca. A nonprofit program called Kaleidoscope is preparing gift baskets to give to cancer patients to lift their spirits in what could perhaps be a last holiday.
The program was created by Jan Page after she herself was diagnosed with cancer. She wanted to bring hope and help connect people who could support one another.
As soft music plays in the background a prayer of blessings is spoken and heard, a prayer that the baskets will give both comfort and joy to those receiving them as well as those delivering them.
Over the weekend 94 Comfort and Joy baskets and 20 bags for the Epic Care Infusion Center in Antioch where given out by 35 volunteers, and 30 delivery people. Spiderman from the Heart of a Hero organization out of Pittsburg was kind enough to tag along on Friday to help deliver to 4 of the lucky families.
Cyrina Smith and her 9 year old daughter Cierra have volunteered with the program for 6 years. Cyrina says “I came to Kaleidoscope to help others, but in reality it helped heal my heart during a difficult time in my life. I made wonderful friends, and gave my life purpose. All while being able to help those struggling with life changing illness in our community.”
Most 9 year olds are playing video games or playing with dolls, worried about what they will get for the holidays. Not little Cierra. At 9 years old, she has a sense of what the holidays are really about (GIVING). She says her favorite part about delivering is seeing the joy on people’s faces when she delivers the baskets.
Last year the program made 91 Bags of Hope, served 112 individual meals per month, made 75 Comfort and Joy baskets, 40 people used the support services, 30 participated in their retreats, 100 people participated in facilitated labyrinth walks.
Jan Page says “Far East Contra Costa County is ranked second in California in incident rate for breast, ovarian, and prostate cancer”
Brest cancer: The American Cancer Society recommends yearly screening mammograms starting at age 45 and continuing for as long as you are in good health
Prostate cancer: The American Cancer Society recommends coming up with a plan with your doctor to determine what rick you may be. Average risk should start screening at 50, high rick should start screening by 45 and even higher risk should start screening at 40
The following is a list of programs provided by Kaleidoscope
Bags of Hope beautiful gift boxes and bags made to lift the spirit of the recipient. Cancer can be such a time of isolation and exhaustion as the body fights to get well. Our bags are given by the person that requests them so that when they are given they offer a thoughtful connection between the receiver, the giver and Kaleidoscope.
Krockpot Brigade an organized group of East County cooks that provide weekly homemade meals to clients and their families. They also provide those families with Thanksgiving meals and yummy treats at the holidays.
Comfort and Joy Baskets are baskets filled with treats and seasonal items at winter holiday time for people living with cancer and other life changing illnesses, those we have served during the year, and families that have lost someone that we have supported during the year.
Connection Team volunteers who follow up with clients regularly to meet the clients’ ongoing support needs.
Connection Circle monthly gathering of cancer survivors, caregivers and volunteers who share their stories and explore ways they want to be involved in Kaleidoscope.
Support Groups offer weekly facilitated groups for patients, caregivers, and those who have lost loved ones. Our Support groups currently meet at Epic Care center.
Labyrinth a beautiful labyrinth garden maintained on the Kaleidoscope grounds and
available for both individual and organized facilitated walks.
Retreats allows participants time in sacred space to slow down and reconnect with Spirit
Prayer Care is available by sending your request to [email protected]
For more information please visit www.kaleidoscopehope.org