A Roadmap For Cancer Caregivers


It brings all of us at the Raymond Foundation great joy to introduce our Cancer Caregiver Action Plan.  Creating the Action Plan was a sincere labor of love, understanding first-hand the many challenges and varying emotions that cancer caregivers face every day. 

The Cancer Caregiver Action Plan was developed based on conversations with fellow caregivers who asked for a way to ‘pay it forward’ – a way to help other caregivers by providing real world perspective and insight into the caregiver journey.  Throughout the Action Plan you’ll see their stories and words of encouragement illustrating practical advice to help make the caregiving experience a little easier.  We are sincerely grateful to all the caregivers who contributed to the Action Plan.

It is our hope that the information our Cancer Caregiver Action Plan provides will help make a meaningful difference and serve as a roadmap for cancer caregivers as they support their loved one throughout the cancer journey.  

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Care Divided


Caring for a loved one with cancer builds a relationship like no other.  The patient-caregiver bond is strengthened moment by moment as you work to defeat the enemy together.  Together as a team battling side effects.  Together as a team when scan-xiety visits and refuses to leave.  Together when the results are good and together when the results are bad.  Together trying to gain a sense of control.  Knowing that you are stronger together.

But, what happens when the team becomes divided? 

What happens when the strength of togetherness shatters? 

How does a relationship with so much on the line diminish?

In a perfect world, relationships would be a blend of give and take.  However, in the patient-caregiver relationship, the patient ultimately decides what is best for them.  It is the patient that dictates if they want surgery, or additional treatments, or if they really want to try a clinical trial.  It is their life and as it should be, their decision.   When a caregiver doesn’t agree with the patient decision, what happens then?  It’s not easy to accept a decision you may not agree with especially when you’re fully invested in the potential life and death outcome.  

What happens to the caregiver when a patient no longer needs or wants them on their team?

How does a caregiver move on knowing that their care is no longer desired?

How can a caregiver learn to care again? 

All relationships are complicated and require constant nurture and attention.  The patient-caregiver relationship is a delicate balance – a balance built on life and death decisions.  A balance of its very nature born from suffering and despair.  A balance that requires compassion and empathy.  A balance that changes from moment to moment.  A balance created by an enemy who leverages all control. 

Despite differences in opinion, can the patient-caregiver relationship be restored?

Is there a possibility of compromise – a possibility of regaining the strength of togetherness?

Can both the patient and caregiver find a balance that works for them?

As a caregiver, I have lived through the heartbreak of care divided. I know firsthand that it is possible to compromise and re-create a meaningful patient-caregiver relationship.  It isn’t easy, and there are days when I feel helpless.  There are days when I feel I should be doing more.  But, then I step back and realize that I am providing the type of care that is asked of me.  And, in the end, I realize that we are united – not divided.   A relationship like no other. Knowing we are stronger together and working to find a balance.

The Caregiver Voice: Insights Into Caring For The Young Adult Colorectal Cancer Patient

I was honored to present our research based on the caregiver experience at the 2018 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Survivorship Symposium.  Speaking with cancer caregivers from across the United States was a humbling experience, and I am grateful to each of these remarkable individuals for sharing their voice and perspectives.  The Raymond Foundation understands that new and expanded caregiver support services are needed, and we look forward to continuing the conversation with our caregivers as we create meaningful programs and support services.   One of our new initiatives will launch this year on November 1, 2018 – the first annual Global Cancer Caregiver Day.  We hope you will join us for this important event as we honor, celebrate and thank our cancer caregivers.

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Thank you to our sponsors: 


A Dream Come True


Stand Up To Cancer recently announced the formation of a 12 Million Dollar Dream Team to fund research and treatment in the fight against colorectal cancer.  I am humbled and honored to be included as a member of the 2017 Colorectal Cancer Dream Team.  Truly, A Dream Come True!

As I reflect on this Stand Up To Cancer research initiative, my thoughts immediately  go to all those affected by colorectal cancer -  the 135,000 individuals who will be diagnosed this year, and the 50,000 patients whose lives will be cut short in 2017 from this insidious disease.  This SU2C research and funding brings HOPE to these patients and their families and may very well be A Dream Come True.     

I know first-hand how a colon cancer diagnosis can devastate a family. Colon cancer claimed the lives of both my Mother and Father while in the prime of their lives.  For the past 25 years I’ve dedicated my life to advocating for research, improved treatment outcomes and quality of survivorship concerns.  Since my parents were diagnosed, we’ve made great strides in screening and treatment options, but we still have a lot of work ahead of us.  In honor of my parents, Margaret and Patrick Raymond, this is sincerely A Dream Come True

And, to all of us who dedicate our lives to helping those affected by this disease – healthcare professionals who work long hours in oncology centers, for caregivers who tirelessly help their loved ones, for the patients who are currently receiving treatment, for advocates who share their experiences and voice to help others, and for the researchers who work to find a cure, this award is definitely A Dream Come True.  


Learn more about the $12 million CRC Dream Team from Stand Up to Cancer

THANK YOU to Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C).

Taking Care

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Forty years ago I lost my Dad to colon cancer. 

Before my Dad became ill, my childhood was carefree, filled with joyous family vacations, friends, beloved pets, school projects, music and dance lessons.  Inevitably, when my Dad became ill our family life changed forever.   He was in and out of the hospital for over three years prior to his passing.  I knew that surgeries, tests and procedures were taking place, but was too young to understand.  I did understand, however, that our family would never be the same. 

My carefree childhood days were gone.  I was no longer free of care.

As I reflect on this time, I realize that in many ways I became a caregiver at a very young age.  Responsibility, compassion and empathy became my focus.  I knew that in small ways I could help my Mom, Dad and family.  I had to do something to help ease the suffering our family was experiencing. 

Children may not be typical caregivers, but since I didn’t know that at the time, I persevered with my plan to help an out of control situation become a little bit more bearable.  I controlled what I could - by helping around the house without being asked, taking care of our beloved dog and cats, practicing my music lessons every day, and by making sure I was a straight ‘A’ student with afterschool activities to keep me occupied. 

My goal was to be dependable and responsible.  I was taking care of the things I could.

A few short years after my Dad passed my Mom was also diagnosed with colon cancer.  My role as a college age caregiver began, and I tried to do all I could to ease her suffering – to comfort and provide love and support during her final days.

Today, sadly, a new generation of children and young adults are trying to sort out the complex feelings as they help their Mom or Dad cope with this devastating disease.  Understanding these feelings and the need to help our youngest caregivers has led me to focus on creating educational and support programs for children, adolescents and young adults.  It’s vitally important to support our young caregivers, as they support their loved one.

We all understand that cancer affects the entire family, but for me I feel that it also shaped my life into who I am today.  My life’s purpose was defined so long ago.  This sense of purpose keeps me grounded in my patient and caregiver advocacy work. 

Taking care of those we love.  I can’t think of a more fulfilling or important purpose in life.