Monday, November 17, 2014

Melissa Garner: National Family Caregivers Month

November is National Family Caregivers Month and The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) is honored to celebrate these selfless individuals who give all of themselves to helped loved ones through a difficult blood cancer treatment and recovery process.  Melissa Garner, the Patient Advocate at Baylor University Medical Center (BUMC) talks about how LLS and Baylor are working to serve our caregivers right here in North Texas.

"Last Monday The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society partnered with the Cvetko Patient Education and Support Center at BUMC to host the first-ever Caregiver Spa Retreat.

The intention of the program was to honor caregivers with a special 1.5 hour workshop on self-care.
Caregivers received chair massages while listening to a live, guided meditation.  I was honored to be a facilitator of this special group, offering the guided meditation portion.  Cindy Spence and Susan Gee (Licensed Massage Therapists) provided the chair massages, along with their essential oils.
The packed room was transported—plus it smelled heavenly!  Everyone reported having a very positive experience—the overall response was that they felt very relaxed afterwards.  Once the guided meditation/ massage part was over, everyone picked out their favorite tea and cookies and sat back down to discuss self-care.

During this conversation, a great deal of emotion was processed.  The stress that a caregiver goes through is very real, and it was an opportunity for these caregivers to feel less alone and support each other.

Due to the overwhelming success of this event, we plan to have these “Spa Retreats” quarterly.  We need not limit this to once a year.  A caregiver’s well-being is too precious for that.  I will be sure to give you a heads up when we schedule the next Caregiver Spa Retreat so you can join us!

Talk to you soon, 


The 2015 Lone Star Blood Cancer Conference will also host break-out sessions specifically to address caregiver issues and needs.  Save Saturday, February 21st on your calendar and plan on joining us at this free day packed with information from the country's top oncology specialists.


Melissa Garner is a Patient Advocate for the North Texas Chapter of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.  She is based at Baylor University Medical Center in the Cvetko Center.  She meets with patients and their families after receiving a blood cancer diagnosis.  Last year she met with 1,045 people at Baylor. 

Contact Melissa:

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