The diagnosis of cancer is possibly one of the first times an individual realizes they are mortal and they might die. They are scared, out of control and need help. One of the first sources from whom they might seek help is the clergy. Because the diagnosis of cancer is not a death sentence, this is an opportunity for the clergy to make patients pro-active, get them back in charge of their life and take specific steps to increase their chances of survival along with improving the quality of their life.
The importance of the clergy in support of the cancer patient is unchallenged. They provide not only comfort and support, but also help the patients to improve the quality of their lives, their families’ lives and extend the duration of that quality. There is no question that the clergy has been well trained in how to minister to, pray for and console their parishioners. But they have no idea of the resources available to help specific patients and what steps should be taken to enhance that patient’s success rate and help the patient regain control.
With this as our basis and the assistance of a leading clergyman and medical oncologist, we conducted a seminar inviting the 2,000 clergy residing in the Kansas City area. Some 50 attended. They thought it was outstanding and must be repeated the following year so everyone else could attend. It was a lot of work but we did it again the following year. Another 50 or so attended. However, a video was made so we could send this around. Realizing that very few would watch, let alone remember what they saw in an hour video, it was reduced to writing.
If clergy did not read it, it could not help them. Being very unattractive, it was very uninviting. Hallmark Cards volunteered their artists time in making it appealing and they did. Now we have it on one sheet of paper that clergy can photocopy and hand to a parishioner to truly help them fight this disease. All we have to do is get it out to the hundreds of thousands of clergy around the US. This is where we are and is no small task, but we realize how many cancer patients it would help.
We fundamentally believe each member of the clergy would be happy to have this knowledge to assist in enhancing the health of parishioners. We believe each denomination wants their staff to be the best trained possible and would want to make this available to all. Our Foundation wants to make this information available free of charge for each denomination to disseminate to its staff. Our problem, that maybe you can help us with, is how do we get to the executives in charge to get this done?
If you have any suggestion as to how to accomplish this, please let us know. We would appreciate any constructive suggestions to The R. A. Bloch Cancer Foundation, One H&R Block Way, Kansas City, MO 64105, 816-854-5050 or 800-433-0464.