Anita Sakiyama

Anita Sakiyama

Mom was diagnosed with lung cancer in December 2002 and began chemo in January of 2003. It was at the Cancer Centre that we first heard about Circle of Friends being offered through Hospice Northwest.

Mom immediately embraced the group and going to Circle became her passion. She rarely missed the bi-monthly get-together and feeling a bit sick never stopped her. Family and friends soon learned when “Circle Thursdays” were.

Mom found camaraderie among her new friends. With Circle of Friends everyone was suffering chronic or terminal illnesses, and they drew strength from each other. It made my family happy to see that mom could find such comfort and inner healing with the group.

Where the medical professionals treated mom’s bodily illness with drugs, chemo & radiation; Circle of Friends treated her spirit. It was like her “chicken soup for the soul”. Not only through friendship and sharing but also with relaxation therapies such as reiki, reflexology, meditation, therapeutic touch and the not to be forgotten famous foot massages!

People suffering chronic or terminal illnesses spend a lot of time in hospitals and clinics and it was always nice to have an environment in which to meet and relax with friends.

Another major appeal to me as a family member was to see how truly welcoming the group was to everyone. It felt more like meeting friends for coffee and lunch rather than as a “registered participant” of a group. I think everyone felt that they could share without being judged in any way for what was happening to them.

Lunch was always followed by “circle” time when the talking stick would go around and everyone would have a chance to share whatever they wanted to share be it a frustration, a joy or a pain. If you didn’t want to speak that was ok too. It was understood that what was said in circle stayed in circle.

Sadly, Mom passed away on July 8, 2004. Our family asked that in lieu of flowers people consider donating to the Hospice Northwest Circle of Friends program because it had meant so much to Mom. I would highly recommend attending Circle of Friends to anyone who suffers a chronic or terminal illness or to anyone looking for an opportunity to volunteer.

Anita Sakiyamadaughter of deceased client