Richard & Annette Bloch

It was with profound sadness that we announced the death of Richard A. Bloch from heart failure on July 21, 2004. He had been the inspiration and champion of cancer patients since winning the battle over lung cancer in 1980.

Richard A. Bloch
Richard A. Bloch (February 15, 1926 - July 21, 2004)

On his flight home in 1980 after his doctor declared him cancer free, Dick decided to dedicate the rest of his life to helping people with cancer. The big questions were where and how. Well, we now know the answers. As you search through our website you will find resources of inspiration and hope in the many articles he and his wife, Annette, wrote for Coping Magazine and other publications. In the links to PDQ at the National Cancer Institute you will be able to see the project that he helped develop for the Internet. You may call the Bloch Cancer Hot Line, 800-433-0464,and ask to speak to a cancer survivor of your type of cancer or request free copies of the books, Fighting Cancer, Cancer…there’s hope, or Guide for Cancer Supporters. As you read through the books you will see and feel his spirit as he encourages you to fight. You can access www.blastcancer.org, to view his passion for mandatory second opinions. You will see the list of multidisciplinary second opinions facilities that he wanted available to all cancer patients. Dick Bloch was a successful business man but he measured his success as a human being by the cards and letters he received from cancer patients and their families. They were his treasures. He loved taking them home to share with Annette and their family. When asked how he should be introduced at any function the hosts assumed he would want to be known as the co-founder of H & R Block, but they were wrong. He would say, “Dick Bloch – cancer survivor.” He would then start his speech by saying, “Welcome to the wonderful world of hope.”

Below is the final article he wrote along with his wife, Annette. It was one of his fundamental beliefs that a positive mental attitude was an integral part of treatment. He always felt that negative comments about this issue only hurt the cancer patient.

Fighting Cancer with a Positive Mental Attitude
by Richard & Annette Bloch

Numerous headlines have been printed lately indicating a “positive mental attitude” has no bearing on the success of cancer treatments. In fact, some of the articles indicate that an optimistic attitude can be a negative factor.

While this article is not about me, I would like to refute these claims. Twenty-six years ago a top physician told me my lung cancer was terminal, there was nothing I could do and I had about 90 days to live. If I would have believed him and followed his advice, I would have been long gone. But I believed I could beat this, I tried my best and I won. My positive mental attitude saved my life because it caused me to seek a second opinion and search out treatments. Who says it couldn’t be the same for you?

Let’s examine the subject a little deeper. What is life? Life is only worth living if it has quality. Sitting, doing nothing constructive, waiting to die must be a horrible existence. Maybe a rare person would enjoy it, but most human beings would not. To have as pleasant day as possible today and hope for tomorrow makes life not only worth living but also happier. Who can say that happiness, pleasant thoughts and optimism could possible shorten one’s life?

Taking cancer treatments often is unpleasant and/or uncomfortable. Certainly if we do not believe we can successfully beat this disease, why put ourselves through this ordeal. We don’t take treatments and we die. To the old statement, “If we do not try, we will not succeed” we must add “If we do not believe it will help, we won’t try.”

Many doctors have an ego problem. They need to maintain their image at all costs. Therefore, they will tell patients that they are terminal. This guarantees that they will be a hero. If the patient dies, they were absolutely correct. If the patient survives, they were a hero because they brought them through it. What a horrible way to maintain a fragile ego. This is one of the reasons we always recommend a second opinion.

There are 3 bronze plaques in each of the Bloch Cancer Survivor Parks around the US stating:

“There is no cancer for which there is no treatment”
“There is no cancer from which someone has not been cured.”
“Cancer is the most curable of all chronic diseases.”

In spite of these headline-seeking articles, if you love life, make a personal commitment to do everything in your power to fight the disease and do your best to keep a positive mental attitude.

 

5 Replies to “Richard & Annette Bloch”

  1. Copyright © 2016
    By Marvin Fremerman
    Helping cancer patients put their illness into remission.
    We all have in our bodies one of the most advanced and sophisticated medical systems known to mankind: The Immune System.
    But research has found it can be impaired by stress and many believe there’s a high correlation between cancer and stress. Where does stress come from? It’s a result of how we view our life’s issues, which emanates from how we feel about ourselves. If we have a low sense of inner-self (self-esteem) we are likely to view our issues differently than someone with a high sense of inner-self. We are likely to be more negative.
    Research has also shown that many individuals who have been diagnosed with cancer are repressing their feelings, which affects their self-esteem and their immune systems. Here’s how it works: When you withhold (repress) your feelings and emotions it’s a form of lying that demeans you and lowers your self-esteem. As your self-esteem is lowered you begin to see your world around you from a negative perspective (“we see things as we are”) and create stress for yourself. As a result of the stress, your body gives off hormones such as cortisol (known as “the stress hormone”) that impair your immune system.
    According to the “Surveillance Mechanism Theory” developed by Dr. Carl Simonton, we all have cancer cells in our bodies. Many believe these cancer cells are a result of environmental hazards such as overhead power lines, electric blankets, cell phones, exhaust fumes, and cigarette smoking, just to name a few. The damaged cells are constantly being devoured by our immune system Pac-Man style. But as mentioned before, when we encounter stress in our lives, our immune system becomes impaired and the cancer cells begin to multiply at a rate faster than they can be devoured. The result is: we are soon diagnosed as having cancer.
    Many physicians will agree that a relationship exists between high self-esteem and wellness, and low self-esteem and illness. I’ve found that when cancer patients enhance their own feelings of self-worth, they automatically enhance the potency of their immune systems.
    In the late 1980s I lived in Kansas City, Missouri and volunteered my services at a local Cancer Support Center. On various Sunday mornings, with the encouragement of the Center’s co-founder, I would meet with newly diagnosed cancer patients in a support

    group environment. At the outset I would explain to them that even though they had been diagnosed with cancer that was not their primary problem. Their primary problem was that each had an impaired immune system. Since research has shown the most conspicuous characteristic of cancer patients is bottled up emotions, I would have each person in the group stand and tell his or her own story about stress in their lives. Each would interact with others in the room and, at the same time, bring their emotions to the surface. After talking about their issues (many for the first time) their repressed feelings began to disappear and they immediately felt better about themselves, experiencing an increase in self-esteem.
    At that point they were then ready to use a “guided imagery” technique where they would visualize their own healthy t-cells attacking their cancer cells. This exercise was accompanied by Patti LaBelle’s recording of “New Attitude.” They would close their eyes and “see” their t-cells forming an arrow and penetrating the cancer cells, watching them dissipate.
    This was done with the help of a storyboard. Unfortunately, I’ve never been able to locate the storyboard. But I believe cancer patients reading this can create their own visual image of t-cells attacking cancer cells (see photo) and use Patti LaBelle’s recording to accompany it. I’m sure Patti would not mind since she herself is a cancer survivor.
    !
    Later, group participants would listen to only the music and the images that were embedded in their minds would recreate themselves, automatically. This part of the program could be compared to the “placebo effect” as it applies to health. Research concerning the harnessing of the placebo is currently being conducted by Ted Kaptchuk at Harvard Medical School.
    One last point: What I have recommended should only be considered as a supplemental program. It should not replace any treatment prescribed by a physician or oncologist.

  2. I was a friend of Richard Bloch’s and he was absolutely right about having a positive mental attitude as being a great way to put cancer into remission. I used to conduct self-esteem building workshops at the RA Bloch cancer support center in Kansas City, Missouri back in the 1980’s with great success.

  3. Hello. I’m not sure you are the right people to talk with but I want to bring something to your attention. The Block Foundation Cancer Survivors Garden in Chicago is a very lovely place where I’ve gone many times with my sister, a cancer survivor. The City of Chicago is now using this beautiful and inspirational place for weddings and parties blocking anyone, including cancer survivors, from entering the space. I wonder if you know this and I also wonder if you were consulted about this use of the garden? My understanding is the garden is the result of a gift from your foundation and from Richard and Annette Block. Thank you for answering my question. It’s very discouraging to see this garden used as a money maker for the city and no open to actual cancer survivors.

    1. Dear Ms. Hoag,

      The Bloch Cancer Foundation gifted the cancer survivors park to the City of Chicago with the understanding that they would maintain the park in perpetuity for the people of Chicago. Maintaining any park within their system is expensive. We are aware that they occasionally rent out the park for special events such as weddings. Some of these weddings have been for cancer survivors. I know that another organization that recently rented the park was Imerman Angels, a cancer support organization based in Chicago. These events help pay for the upkeep of the Park. The Grant Park Conservancy director is Mr. Bob O’Neill. He can be reached at boboneill@grantparkconservancy.com. I will be contacting him as well to see how often these park closings occur. Thank you for your concern. It is heartwarming to know that the park is cherished by those we sought to serve.

      Vangie Rich, R.A. Bloch Cancer Foundation.

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