Hundreds of people participated in the For the Health of It! 5K walk and health fair on Saturday (June 29) at Kit Carson Park. People of all ages and backgrounds, plus a few dogs, did three laps of the park in support of Cancer Support Services.
Cancer Support services is a community support program of Holy Cross Hospital that responds to the needs of people experiencing cancer and their families and caregivers from diagnosis to one year past their final treatment.
The ninth annual For the Health of It! walk attracted 27 sponsors and hundreds of community members this year. The sponsors set up 35 booths and provided information and resources. All were there to improve the health and well-being of the people of Taos.
Attendees could have their blood pressure checked, get information about pre-diabetes or chat with Yvonne Chavez of Hanger Clinic about custom orthotics and prostheses. The most common cause of amputations is diabetes, followed by trauma and cancer, and Hanger strives to serve as a welcoming and safe space for all.
At the health fair, people could even get certified in adult hands-only CPR.
Such stakeholder CPR trainings have played a major part in helping some cities, like Seattle, Washington, achieve a 62% survival rate for witnessed cardiac arrests. The average for most of the rest of the country is around 10%.
Every person in the community can help increase the survivability of cardiac arrest and choking by learning basic, hands-only CPR and how to use an AED (Automated External Defibrillator).
"When these guys show up, they're not going to be mad at you for calling," David Elliot of Holy Cross Hospital explained to a group of newly minted, certified hands-only CPR providers.
Cancer Support Services
"There are many ways to serve a family," explained Jennie Ross, who oversees four community health services programs at Holy Cross Hospital.
Those four programs, which rely on federal grants and community contributions, include Taos Alive, which works with at-risk youth to decrease and prevent substance abuse; First Steps, an infancy home-visit program; Benefit Services, which helps eligible people access-health related benefits; and Cancer Support Services.
The number of people served by Cancer Support Services has increased from 35 in 2012 to 140 in 2018, and the program works hard to ensure that funding keeps pace with the growing program.
Cancer impacts every area of a person's life, and Cancer Support Services can help those experiencing cancer with a wide range of services, from house cleaning to fitness coaching to transportation assistance and food.
Coordinator Susan Strong holds initial meetings with people experiencing cancer to review with them all the available services.
Both people experiencing cancer and caregivers are also welcome to attend the weekly support group meetings run by Christine Sherwood and held on Tuesdays from 4-5:30 p.m. at 413 Sipapu Street in Taos. No appointment is necessary.
More information about Cancer Support Services is available on the Holy Cross website, the Cancer Support Services page (holycrossmedicalcenter.org), and from coordinator Susan Strong at (575) 751-8927.
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