Please contact Kiersten at kiersten@smithcenter.org to register.

with Wendy Miller & Larry Kanter

This ongoing healing circle will focus on the unique needs of those experiencing the loss, recently or not, of a spouse or partner. No matter where you find yourself in your journey with grief, a chance to be with others who have lost a spouse or partner can lead to profound learning and healing.

Come join us in our healing circle of collaborative conversations.


What is a Healing Circle?

Healing Circles bring together small numbers of people impacted by a condition or circumstance to share experiences and harvest collective wisdom.  Healing Circles is a peer-led process by which people support each other through deep listening and shared learning. When working at its best, this collaborative conversation model leads to authentic and deep connectivity and can create wisdom and healing for participants.

This Healing Circle meets bi-monthly on Thursdays from 4:30pm – 6:00pm.

Upcoming sessions:

  • December 3 & 17

About Wendy Lynn Miller, Ph.D.

Moving here many years ago from the SF Bay Area, my relationship with Commonweal led me to Barbara Smith Coleman. I am proud to have been part of an early group of people with Shanti Norris who met with Barbara to envision the cancer retreats, a healing center, and gallery for Smith Center. Years later when my late husband Gene Cohen was facing metastatic prostate cancer, he went to Commonweal for his cancer retreat. The gift of community support, reflection, and care guided the choices we made through the many years of living with cancer in our family body. I became a widow in 2009.

Wendy Miller is an expressive arts therapist, artist, and writer living in Kensington, MD. In 2016, she published the book, Sky Above Clouds: Finding our way through creativity, aging, and illness, about her life and work with her late husband. It is a spiritual treatise on love and creativity during life’s major transitions.

About Larry Kanter

My late wife, Alex Todorovich, passed away in 2009 from breast cancer. My work with the Smith Center began in 2007 when Alex and I attended the Center’s week-long retreat, which marked a turning point in our understanding of what it means to really live, to love life, and to live in the embrace of a healing community. After Alex’s passing the Center’s Hisaoaka Gallery mounted a show of Alex’s art entitled “How to Leave a Well-Traveled Road” which documented her life, her fears, her loves and the path she chose at its end.

Larry Kanter is a graphic designer living in Washington, DC and is a Smith Center friend and an ardent supporter of the Center’s work.

This program is being offered virtually through Zoom. In order to participate and receive the Zoom link, you must register here or by emailing carla@smithcenter.org

with Charity Sade

Coping Through Comedy’s comedy writing workshop is offered to cancer patients/survivors. The intention of the workshop is to provide a safe and creative environment for those touched by cancer to be able to express themselves and find the humor surrounding the difficulties in life and cancer. No previous comedy writing experience is necessary.


The group is held on the 1st and 3rd Wednesdays of every month. Participants can attend on a drop-in basis, but prior registration is required.

Upcoming Sessions:

  • December 2 & 16

This program is sponsored by the Livestrong Foundation. Additional donations are always welcome.


About Charity Sade

Charity Sad​e​ is an up and coming comedian from Indiana, but has resided in Washington, D.C. for the last 8 years.

She has performed across the country, and won a new comic competition at Greenwich Village Comedy Club. ​Within her first year of comedy, Charity made her festival debut at the 2018 DC Comedy Festival as well as the Chicago Women’s Funny Festival.

She has always used humor to get through difficult moments in her life, including her breast cancer diagnosis at age 27. ​On stage, she takes her difficult life experiences and turns them into relatable, humorous tales. Her comedic superpower is her ability to make you simultaneously laugh and cringe.

Charity is the creator and founder of Comedic Relief: Coping Through Comedy. You can catch Charity hosting, producing, and performing on shows across the DMV.

This program is being offered virtually through Zoom. In order to participate and receive the Zoom link, you must register here or by emailing carla@smithcenter.org

with Erin Price, LICSW

This monthly support group, facilitated by a licensed clinical social worker, is for anyone who has lost a loved one to cancer. As a group, we will explore the impact of loss and find ways to cope with grief together.


The Loss of a Loved One to Cancer Support Group will meet Monthly on the first Wednesday from 6:00 – 7:00pm.

Upcoming Dates:

  • December 2
  • January 6
  • February 3
  • March 3

About Erin Price, LISCW

Erin serves as Smith Center’s Director of Young Adult and Psychosocial Support Programs. She is trained in Integrative Patient Navigation, a Project LEAD graduate, and holds a Masters in Social Work. A seven-year breast cancer survivor, Erin is passionate about providing support and community to other cancer survivors, especially young adults. She works with Smith Center’s DC Young Adult Cancer Community and is also actively involved in the cancer community through Young Survival Coalition, Critical Mass, the Georgetown Breast Cancer Advocates, National Breast Cancer Coalition, and the DC Cancer Action Partnership.

This program is being offered virtually through Zoom. In order to participate and receive the Zoom link, you must register here or by emailing carla@smithcenter.org

with Kiersten Gallagher

Creative expression has often been used in the healing process and it is at the core of Smith Center’s philosophy, but fear of judgment and “not being an artist” can often prevent us from tapping into its healing power. Join us for Outside the Lines: Social Hour, where we will catch up as we reclaim art-making as a healing tool. Participants are welcome to work on their own creative projects as we socialize.


Outside the Lines is held Bi-Monthly on Wednesdays from 10:30am – 12:30pm. 

Upcoming sessions:

  • December 2 (Social Hour)
  • December 16

Suggested donation: $10 per class

Our programs are open to the community, and tailored to meet the needs of people affected by cancer. Classes and workshops are free or low cost on a pay-as-you-can basis, ensuring that our programs are accessible to everyone.


About Kiersten Gallagher

As the Cancer Support Program Director, Kiersten fully believes that through the arts we can expand our perspectives and explore new fulfilling ways of being. She invites you to make our space your own refuge, to circumvent your daily routine to spark creativity, to take time for introspection, and draw outside the lines.

This program is being offered virtually through Zoom. In order to participate and receive the Zoom link, you must register here or by emailing carla@smithcenter.org

with Niya Kight

This ongoing healing circle will focus on the unique needs of mothers, with children of any age, who are living with cancer. No matter where you find yourself on your journey you will have a chance to be with others who share in your experience. This shared experience will often lead to profound learning and healing.

Some of our children are bound to need us during this program. Please don’t worry about disruptions to care for your child(ren).


What is a Healing Circle?

Healing Circles bring together small numbers of people impacted by a condition or circumstance to share experiences and harvest collective wisdom.  Healing Circles is a peer-led process by which people support each other through deep listening and shared learning. When working at its best, this collaborative conversation model leads to authentic and deep connectivity and can create wisdom and healing for participants.

The Healing Circle for Moms with Cancer meets Monthly on Tuesdays from 6:30-7:30pm.

Upcoming Dates:

  • December 1
  • January 5
  • February 2
  • March 2

About Niya Kight

Niya Kight

Niya Kight was diagnosed with Stage II, ER/PR + Invasive Ductal Carcinoma in November 2019 on her 31st birthday, while 12 weeks pregnant. Once Niya reached the middle of her second trimester, she underwent a mastectomy and four rounds of chemotherapy before delivering her daughter in May. Niya is currently finishing the last four rounds of chemotherapy and next up on the road to recovery is radiation. When Niya embarked upon this journey, she chose to view it as her rebirth and shared that “she would rise healthier and stronger than ever after this spiritual transformation”. Niya has done just that as she focused inwardly to determine the changes she needed to make in her life, learned to accept help, and shared her vulnerability and experience with others. Niya is passionate about raising awareness about pregnancy and breast cancer because many people do not know that it is possible to have cancer while pregnant, let alone that it can actually be treated during pregnancy. Niya remembers the loneliness she felt while navigating breast cancer while pregnant and wants to help eliminate that additional stress for other women.

Please email Carla at carla@smithcenter.org to be added to the waitlist.

with Carole O’Toole

A small, almost inaudible voice will say what lies ahead. By Sheila Petruccelli

Cancer often initiates an intense transformational process that can raise more questions than answers, leading us to re-examine our beliefs and approach to life. We may feel called to explore opportunities for spiritual growth, feeling a desire to connect with the sacred in a more conscious way and define more deeply life’s meaning in the face of cancer.

Regardless of your personal beliefs or faith system, working with a spiritual companion offers you an opportunity to reflect with another on what is going on for you spiritually, and explore how to integrate your cancer experience with your personal beliefs.

Spiritual Companions:

  • Provide a safe, trusting environment that invites stillness and reflection.

  • Support your spiritual growth and exploration, your unique and personal journey.

  • Listen, deeply and with compassion, honoring your sacred story. This deep listening helps you to connect with your most authentic self and illuminate your unique spiritual path.


About Carole O’Toole

Carole O'Toole

Smith Center’s Spiritual Companion, Carole O’Toole, was called to companion others following her cancer experience that led her to explore how illness offers opportunities for spiritual growth. Since 2006 Carole has served in many roles at Smith Center, including Director of Residential Retreats, Director of the Institute of Integrative Oncology Navigation, Director of Smith Center’s Integrative Navigation Training Program, and as a member of and mentor for our integrative navigation team. Carole is currently receiving professional training in Spiritual Direction through The Haden Institute, with a particular focus on grief and loss and the spiritual challenges of living with cancer.

As a Spiritual Companion, Carole believes that what is truly transformative is compassionate presence.

“Your soul already knows the way to wholeness and healing, but often speaks to us in a small, still voice. In our time together, we create a nest for your soul to rest awhile, allowing space for your sacred truth to be revealed.”

Carole invites you to explore with her how to make meaning of your cancer experience and to look for where the holy is in your life. Currently, limited space is available for new clients. Individual appointments are available via Zoom or by telephone and are free of charge.

This program is being offered virtually through Zoom. In order to participate and receive the Zoom link, you must register here or by emailing carla@smithcenter.org

with Cheryl Hughes, LICSW, OSW-C and Anne Kelemen, LICSW, ACHP-SW

The loss of a parent from cancer brings with it many complex feelings. Sadness, anger, and regret are just a few of the feelings you may experience. Sometimes friends – and even family members – don’t understand these feelings.

This support group provides a monthly opportunity to join a group of people who may understand.


The Loss of a Parent to Cancer Support Group meets Monthly on Mondays from 6:00-7:30pm.

Upcoming Sessions:

  • November 23
  • December 21

About Cheryl Hughes

Cheryl Ann Hughes, LICSW, is a Palliative Care Social Worker at Medstar Georgetown University Hospital. She creates a safe and supportive environment from which individuals can define their goals, as well as the means by which they can be achieved. Cheryl tailors each treatment plan using a variety of modalities including EMDR, strengths-based and solution-focused techniques, and with recognition of– and a deep respect for — the strong connection between mind and body. Cheryl infuses her work with mindfulness-based techniques to assist her clients in recognizing their own ability to create a reality that will lead to a satisfying and fulfilling life. Cheryl received her master’s degree in social work, with an emphasis on clinical and medical social work, from Catholic University. She works with cancer patients and their families as they deal with the increased stressors caused by cancer and its treatment.

About Anne Kelemen

Anne Kelemen joined MedStar Washington Hospital Center Section of Palliative care in 2014. In 2015, she was named MedStar Health Palliative Clinical of the Year. Prior to joining the Hospital Center staff, Ms. Kelemen instituted the first palliative care services at MedStar Good Samaritan Hospital in Baltimore, MD. In addition to her clinical responsibilities, she is actively involved in research, and is interested in the intersection of language and medicine as well as intimacy and chronic illness. She received her Master’s in Social Work from the University of Maryland and a post-master’s certificate in End of Life Care from the Smith College School of Social Work. In 2017, she received the emerging leader award from the Social Work Hospice and Palliative Network (SWHPN). Ms. Kelemen is a SWHPN board member and passionate about teaching the next generation of palliative clinicians. She is an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Georgetown University and Director of the Palliative Social Work Fellowship at MedStar Washington Hospital Center.

This program is being offered virtually through Zoom. In order to participate and receive the Zoom link, you must register here or by emailing carla@smithcenter.org

with Kiersten Gallagher & Smith Center Staff

Happy Holidays to Our Extended Family

In an effort to keep our Smith Center family connected over the holidays, we have set up two times that we can hop on Zoom and be with one another. We hope that you will utilize this time to check in with each other. Wishing you peace and love during this holiday season.
Holiday Chats Dates: 
  • Monday, November 23, 12-1pm
  • Monday, December 28, 12-1pm

About Kiersten Gallagher

Kiersten has served as the Cancer Support Program Director for Smith Center since 2014. Before coming to Smith Center, she had the privilege to serve individuals and families living with cancer at Wellness House of Annapolis. Kiersten aims to offer programs to reduce stress and help participants to see the world we live in from different perspectives. She thoroughly enjoys teaching yoga and creativity classes at SmithCenter and encourages gentle movement and creativity in the healing process. Kiersten is a certified yoga instructor through Yoga Alliance and also has her YCAT (Yoga Therapy in Cancer and Chronic Illness) Professional Certification through the Integral Yoga Academy. She has completed Patient Navigation training through Smith Center’s Institute for Integrative Oncology Navigation and has also completed the Commonweal Healing Circles: Advanced Cancer Support Training. Kiersten is also certified in CLIMB®(Children’s Lives Include Moments of Bravery) a program that aims to build upon the strengths of children and increase his/her ability to cope with stress associated with a parent’s illness. She believes in a holistic approach to healing, human relationships and is grateful for each and every day. Kiersten has also completed the Compassion Cultivation Training – CCT™ an 8-week program, developed at Stanford University, with insights and techniques from psychology, neuroscience, and contemplative practice. In her spare time, you may find Kiersten laughing with friends, cycling, taking art classes, practicing yoga and spending time with her husband Shane, son Liam, and dogs Hooper and Pablo.

This program is being offered virtually through Zoom. In order to participate and receive the Zoom link, you must register here or by emailing carla@smithcenter.org

with Erin Price, LICSW

Pictionary
Looking for more opportunities to connect socially with other young adult cancer survivors? Join us for our monthly social. This month we will be hosting virtual Pictionary – come test your luck and meet other young adults.

YA Social Hour will be hosted monthly on Fridays from 6:00-7:00pm. Each month will have a new “theme” – please see below for the currently scheduled social hours.

  • November 20 – Pictionary Night
  • December 18 – Trivia Night

DC Young Adult Cancer Community: https://youngadultcancerdc.org/

This program is being offered virtually through Zoom. In order to participate and receive the Zoom link, you must register here or by emailing carla@smithcenter.org

with Nancy Novack and Sangeeta Agarawal, RN, MS

Helpsy Health

 

Nancy's List

Financial stress is the last thing a cancer patient wants or needs in his or her life, whether in treatment or post-treatment. It gets in the way of deep healing. Financial distress can be very powerful.
To help patients who are struggling with this issue, we have identified resources that will provide financial assistance to you and your loved ones. We want you to know what is available to you so that you can find relief and focus on your healing.

About Nancy Novack

Nancy Novack

On the evening of my first meeting with my oncologist, he said to me, “This is a challenging diagnosis. The prognosis is bleak. But I do believe I can help you. I am with you.” Those four words sustained me whenever I was in fear. They directed my understanding of the power of relationship in my healing process. I was able to open my heart and receive the love and generosity of family and friends and oftentimes strangers who were there to hold my hand and my heart.
When people ask, and they often do, “What happened? How did you make it when so many others do not survive stage 4 ovarian cancer?” I don’t have any answers to that mystery. I do know, for certain, that the opening of my heart, the receiving of the blessings and the love, the sense of abundance of good will coming my way changed my being — during my cancer and forever more.

I am the luckiest lady in the world. I truly enjoy defying medical statistics and being the poster child for Stanford’s Cancer Center.

I made a vow to make a difference for people living with cancer, for those who love and care for them, and for the children who have a cancer diagnosis or love someone who has. My simple and profound wish is that no one will ever go through cancer alone. I started Nancy’s List to help my community cope with the epidemic of cancer.

For me, cancer changed everything. It generated my growth. It taught me the essence of gratitude. I adore the generosity of strangers. It defined my calling and refined my purpose as a psychologist. It gave me the opportunity to offer hope to those who have lost theirs. I found my courage and resilience.

Read Nancy’s full story here: https://nancyslist.org/name-nancy-novack/

About Sangeeta Agarawal

Sangeeta Agarawal, RN, MS

Ms. Agarawal is passionate about empowering people to live life to the fullest by making integrative medicine accessible to people where they are. She started her career as a software engineer in Silicon Valley, working for companies including IBM, Motorola/Google. She then developed the world’s first mobile video technology at a startup later acquired by Skype, this invention continues to change the world even today. She then changed her career into integrative medicine by studying, practicing and conducting research in both eastern and western medicine. She spent the next decade as a researcher, oncology nurse and integrative medicine practitioner at institutions including the Mayo Clinic, Stanford Cancer Center, and UCSF Cancer Center.

Her groundbreaking research work on the development of algorithms for clinical impact of integrative medicine was recognized by UCSF and NSF, and she received support from them to start Helpsy, the world’s first Artificial intelligence nurse for holistic symptom management and navigation (San). San can automatically create a personalized care plans and provide dynamic support to patients through integrative technologies, empowering patients and clinicians alike. Helpsy has served tens of thousands of patients from all over the world and the data generated provides insights that have never been captured or understood before.

She is passionate about empowering people in health care to understand and be at the forefront of the technology revolution. She is a nationally recognized speaker and author. She leads innovation initiatives at both SIO and ONS, and serves on the board of NCI PDQ for integrative medicine. She serves on the board of innovation centers and health care startups. She believes women deserve an equal place and is involved in several leadership initiatives to move the needle.