Charlie Cutler Healing & Wellness Program
When you or a loved one is diagnosed with cancer, you want the most advanced technology, latest treatment, and compassionate care. You can find that at the John Stoddard Cancer Center, a service of UnityPoint Health - Des Moines. Unlike many places that treat cancer, Stoddard Cancer Center offers resources, programs, support and so much more – at no cost to the patient.
After diagnosis, cancer patients are routinely treated by physicians using conventional medicine. Beyond these vital treatments, we know that evidence-based complementary methods can help relieve symptoms and side-effects as well as improve the efficacy of conventional treatments.
"Integrative Oncology is about supporting the body's innate capacity to heal through the use of complementary therapies which incorporate healing practices designed to support the whole patient, both mind and body," says Dr. Andrew Nish, Medical Director, John Stoddard Cancer Center. "It is about helping patients find peace with their diagnosis, about removing stress from their life, and about helping patients live their best life as they journey through cancer."
To help provide this additional support for patients and families, the team at John Stoddard Cancer Center is proud to offer evidence-based healing therapies for patients through the Charlie Cutler Healing and Wellness Program.
Charlie Cutler was an inspiration to all and a friend to many. After a three-year battle with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, Charlie passed away at the far too young age of 26. Despite the challenges he faced during his cancer journey, he will long be remembered for the dignity, courage, optimism, and incredible zest for life he exhibited during his illness.
The Charlie Cutler Healing and Wellness Program was formed in memory of Charlie by his family, friends and the community to honor the positive impact non-traditional treatments had on his cancer journey. The program supports patients and caregivers at John Stoddard Cancer Center by providing tools to help them approach each new day with renewed energy, hope and focus. It was built on the premise that alongside conventional medicine, there is great power in evidence-based complementary therapies that support the mind, body and spirit.
In addition to making a gift below, you can also support the program by purchasing items from the Charlie Gear Shop! One-hundred percent of the proceeds from these fun and inspirational items will go to support the Charlie Cutler Healing & Wellness Program at Stoddard.
Services and Programs Offered
As funding for the Charlie Cutler Healing and Wellness Program continues to grow, so will the services we offer. We're already seeing great momentum taking place by what is currently available to our patients, families, and caregivers:
- Volunteer Comfort Ambassadors take a comfort cart and a comfort menu to patient rooms multiple times a week. The menu includes items such as warm blankets, nail care kit, lip balm, magazines, books, etc.
- Twice a week, massage therapists offer massage therapy to reduce stress, anxiety, and pain and to improve sleep patterns.
- Guided imagery, a form of deliberate, directed daydreaming, is offered to help reduce stress and soothe uncomfortable symptoms.
- Aromatherapy is the use of essential oils from plants and is offered to improve the physical, mental, and spiritual well-being of patients.
- Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) is an eight-week evidence-based program offering intensive mindfulness training to help with stress, anxiety, depression and pain. Utilized in medical settings over the last 40 years, MBSR uses a combination of mindfulness meditation, body awareness, yoga and exploration of patterns of behavior, thinking, feeling and action to increase positive response to toxic stress, stress hardiness, focus, creativity, regulate emotions, and allow a greater sense of self-care and well-being.
- Meals that Matter is a program offering nutritionally balanced, ready-made meals for patients and their caregivers at no cost. The recipes were developed in conjunction with our Stoddard dietitian and internal Food & Nutrition team, and the menu features full entrees as well as soup and fruit options.
The meals are available two days per week for all patients visiting Stoddard or the Powell 3 inpatient unit upon discharge. This service helps ensure patients are receiving the nutrition they need to support healing and health, while offering economic support.
- Meals that Matter at Home is a program designed to give cancer patients and survivors free fruit and vegetables delivered weekly right to their home. The program provides participants with two recipes a week that utilizes produce provided in their delivery. A cooking class is posted weekly on a secured Facebook group, helping participants prepare the recipes along with tips for washing, storing and preparing fresh fruits and vegetables and other plant-based ingredients. Participants are also able to speak with an oncology dietitian anytime throughout the program.
- Music Therapy is available for patients two half-days each week by a board certified music therapist. Music therapy can have beneficial effects on anxiety, depression, pain, fatigue, and quality of life.
- Wellness Coaching is available to patients on a limited basis as a part of our prehab clinic. The certified wellness coach helps patients identify health-related patterns & personal health risks to craft a realistic plan, helps find motivation to lead a healthier lifestyle, assists in overcoming current challenges/barriers, and helps patients measure progress toward meeting health-related goals.
If you would like to donate to this program, click the link below or call (515) 241-6304.