To help improve the quality of life and outcomes for women diagnosed with advanced cancer through education, companionship, scientific research and integrative support.
Several of our relatives and friends have had to face advanced cancer and some are still struggling with this disease. In some cases, due to lack of access to healthcare and limited resources, treatment was delayed and they lost their battle after few years of fighting. In other cases, women needed extra help to accomplish routine activities such as shopping and running errands. Some of our friends were never informed about or asked to participate in clinical trials that could have improved their outcomes and quality of life. Our organization was founded with these women in mind and those who do not have strong social support. Besides, women from lower socioeconomic status or with limited English proficiency may not understand their diagnosis or be aware of resources available to them. We hope to make a difference in the lives of these women and all women with advanced cancer so they know they do not have to struggle alone. We would like provide companionship, education, and access to resources to help meet their needs.
Furthermore, research has shown that many complementary activities, such as yoga, acupuncture, music, art, exercise and nutrition/cooking classes, can improve the quality of life of women with advanced cancer. For this reason, we would like to have a comfortable place in which women can participate in many activities, support each other, learn, exercise and enjoy life with the help of trained volunteers.
Finally, several board members and volunteers have cancer research experience. We would like to continue to participate in research activities to contribute to the expanding understanding of cancer and work to make progress towards eliminating cancer mortality while diminishing morbidity. Only through research can treatment efficacy improve and cancer deaths be prevented.
Currently, our most pressing need is to have a physical location for Angelmira's Center. At this center, we want to offer patient navigation services and many activities for women diagnosed with advanced cancer. We will also use the space to train volunteers and conduct scientific research with a focus on areas that can have an impact on quality of life and outcomes. We are considering a property that is a 10-15 minute drive from the Texas Medical Center so women could park at our center free of charge and we could transport them to their appointments. The lease rate is $20.00 rentable square feet per year with triple net lease (RSF/YR NNN) (NNN=$11.00 RSF/YR). In order to have a multipurpose room for activities, lounge, private offices, computer room and laboratory, we are planning to rent 2,000 square feet of space. We will need appropriate furniture, equipment and a van to transport women back and forth from the medical center or other hospitals. We will also need money for operating expenses such as insurances and accounting and legal fees for the lease and other legal issues. As the number of women we serve increases, we will need to increase the number of volunteers, as well.
We have helped several women face their cancer diagnosis through education and companionship. We have also provided cancer related educational materials to patients and family members and participated in health fairs.
We have accompanied women in the hospital until their last moments.
We have helped women who live alone, and stayed with them after their discharge from the hospital or as needed before procedures.
We have connected women with advanced cancer and their families with organizations that have the resources to help with transportation needs for treatments and for expenses after the death of a loved one.
We have presented some of our scientific research at international meetings.
So far, all of our activities in the Greater Houston have been conducted in-person through visits at patients’ homes or hospital rooms or, when convenient for our client, meetings at public places such as coffee shops. We have also been able to help women in many different cities in our state and out of state through telephone, email, text and using digital ways. However, we need to have a physical location in Houston where we can meet and provide services and activities for women with advanced cancer and their families in an environment that is homelike, cozy, and inviting. Currently, we have identified a place to establish such a center near the Texas Medical Center and our goal is to be able to open this center and staff it in the near future.
We are also applying for grants to provide funds for our scientific research.
We plan to connect with Harris Health and other hospitals in the Greater Houston area to offer our services to more women who may need additional help in understanding and facing their cancer diagnosis and treatment.
We accept financial donations by checks or bank transfer.
Please, contact Lily Carlin (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you would like to give us a donation by bank transfer or check. Please, make your checks to Angelmira’s Center for Women with Advanced Cancer.
We also can receive in-kind donations (computers, office and kitchen supplies, food, laser printers, digital camera, car or van, land, etc.) Feel free to call us at 713-661-4045 (24/7) to let us know of your interest in giving us an in-kind donation. Please, leave a message if we are not available and we will return your call as soon as we can.
Opportunities for volunteering will depend on interests and talents as we will have many activities at Angelmira’s Center. Please contact us to let us know of your interest in volunteering.
We will help women with advanced cancer understand their disease, the opportunities for medical services, including availability of clinical trials, and the challenges faced. We will help each woman through education, support and companionship from the moment of her diagnosis through end of life care, as needed. Our volunteers and staff will be trained to identify and address the needs of each woman with appropriate resources. We will also promote activities and help women identify ways to improve their mental, physical and emotional well-being so they feel better and remain engaged as they battle with advanced cancer. All our services will be provided free of charge for women with advanced cancer.
Maricarmen D. Planas-Silva obtained a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Cell Biology from Baylor College of Medicine. In addition, she has a Graduate Certificate in Clinical Research and a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from Penn State University. She conducted her postdoctoral training at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and has over 18 years of experience in cancer research. As an Assistant Professor at Penn State College of Medicine, she directed and managed a breast cancer research laboratory in which she supervised three to ten researchers and conducted research focusing on understanding mechanisms of resistance to hormonal therapies. She has experience as a caregiver of patients with cancer and dementia and has volunteered for several organizations that serve cancer patients.
Our immediate challenges are to establish a center for activities and to reach all women with advanced cancer that may have a need for the services we can provide. As we are a very young organization, our resources are limited. To be able to expand our services, we need to train more volunteers and navigators and assure they are properly protected with adequate insurance, as well. We plan to contact all oncology providers in the area to let them know of our services and desire to help those who can most benefit from our assistance such as women with low income, minorities, the elderly without social support, and women with language barriers. Thus, as soon as we establish, furnish and staff our community center, we will visit all hospital and oncology providers in Houston to introduce them to our free services for women with advanced cancer.
Some of the women we have helped were already in the late stages of the disease and have died. We realize there is also a need to help the families that are losing a loved one and support them as they face the challenges of end-of-life care. During these difficult times, they may be accompanying their loved one at the hospital or home 24/7. In those moments, when they are in palliative or hospice settings, we want to offer extra support for them and be there at their homes or hospital, as needed, providing comfort and activities that may enhance their well-being in those crucial moments.