This program is being offered virtually through Zoom. In order to participate and receive the Zoom link, register by clicking the RSVP button above or by emailing

with Kiersten Gallagher

Welcome to “Pop-Up Book Club,” a community of book lovers diving into current and relevant book material.

For our second session, we will read No Pressure No, Diamond: Mining for Gifts in Illness & Loss by Teri A. Dillion. On May 2nd, Kiersten will lead us in a lively discussion about the book. Please join us no matter how much or little of the book you have read. Please read below for a description of the book.

Pop-Up Book Club will be held from 12:00-1:00pm ET.

  • February 2 (The Light We Carry: Overcoming in Uncertain Times by Michelle Obama)
  • May 2 (No Pressure No, Diamond: Mining for Gifts in Illness & Loss by Teri A. Dillion)
  • Future sessions TBD

How do you find real-deal, platitude-free hope and healing in the face of death? 

At 35 and newly married, thriving psychotherapist and Buddhist practitioner Teri Dillion had plenty of tidy answers on offer for creating a meaningful and beautiful life. But once diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS) and told to get her affairs in order before facing total paralysis, she finds all smug psychology and easy equanimity no match for her harrowing new prognosis.

With a humorous and nuanced exploration of the colorful landscapes of alternative medicine and self-help culture, No Pressure, No Diamonds recounts Teri’s powerful healing journey while shining a light on the fragile blessings of embodiment in general. As she grows disillusioned with toxic positivity and bypassing spiritual gurus in her determined pursuit of a miraculous cure, she’s forced to define her own deepest beliefs about hope, meaning-making, and healing.

Inspiring, entertaining, and deeply moving, this memoir will resonate with anyone forced to grapple with chronic or terminal illness. Teri’s story teaches us how the most brilliant jewels of meaning and resilience can be found not in conventional narratives of triumphant recovery, but in what we painstakingly and lovingly carve for ourselves out of life’s roughest blows.

Get No Pressure No, Diamond: Mining for Gifts in Illness & Loss <HERE>

About Kiersten Gallagher

Kiersten Gallagher – Cancer Support Programs Director

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 Beans and Pablo.

Please email Olivia at for further information about the program.

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.

    Suggested Donation: $15

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 has completed her training in Spiritual Direction from 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, register by clicking the RSVP button above or by emailing

You will receive the Zoom information no later than the morning of your program.

with Kathleen O’Toole


100,000+ Best Spring Images & Free HD Stock Photos - Pixabay

Writing Through the Seasons

Breathe in All That’s Blooming

There’s a reason that the ancient Celts celebrated Bealtaine (Beltane: May 1, or Mayday) which falls halfway between the Spring Equinox and Summer Solstice. For us in the northern hemisphere, the turn from late April to early May ushers in our weeks of greatest light. While we may be rejoicing in the light, and all that’s green and blooming around us, we may be weighed down by the violence in the world around us, and the lasting effect of a worldwide pandemic, including our own vulnerability, or the fate of our planet in the face of climate change.

In this 90-minute session, we’ll take stock of our own yearnings for hope and new life this time of year, name the hues, fragrances and shapes of all that is blooming and coming to life in the world around us. We’ll look at some poems & poetic practices that emphasize resilience and attention to small things: the increased activity of birds, insects, and other creatures that invite our hearts to sing.

No previous poetry writing experience required, just an openness to playing with words. Bring an open heart, and maybe a photo or sketch of something you’ve noticed this spring that gave you joy.

Kathleen O’Toole is a poet whose work with haiku and other short poetic forms is deeply rooted in attention to the natural world. These three workshops will guide participants through poetry forms and writing practices that invite us to explore the ways season changes bring special opportunities for healing and creativity. The ancient Celts celebrated cross-quarter days as moments of magic and openings to spirit and ritual; we’ll mark our own seasonal awareness.

Writing Through the Seasons: The Healing Power of Nature will be offered as a program series, spread over the seasons.

Suggested Donation: $10/session

About Kathleen O’Toole

Kathleen O'Toole

Takoma Park Poet Laureate Kathleen O’Toole is the author of 4 books of poetry (find her at She has taught writing at Johns Hopkins University and the Maryland Institute College of Art. As evident in her longer work, she often seeks inspiration and consolation in nature. For more than thirty years she has been writing haiku as a spiritual practice of attention, and to deepen her experience of the natural world.

This program is being offered virtually through Zoom. In order to participate and receive the Zoom link, register by clicking the RSVP button above or by emailing

You will receive the Zoom information no later than the morning of your program.

with Kenneth Johnson

A Healing Circle: Gay Men with Prostate Cancer

We are a group of gay men who have been diagnosed with prostate cancer or who are recovering from treatment that offer support to each other. In a peer-led community, we share our experiences and understanding to help one another best deal with our own personal situations.

The Healing Circle for Gay Men with Prostate Cancer meets Monthly on the 4th Thursday from 7:00pm – 8:30pm ET.

Upcoming Dates: 

    • April 27
    • May 25
    • June 22

About Kenneth Johnson

Kenneth Johnson

Kenneth Johnson, of Washington, D.C., is a co-facilitator and founding member of the Healing Circle Supporting Gay Men with Prostate Cancer hosted at the Smith Center since October 2018. Kenneth was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2016 at the age of 50 and treated with surgery and radiation. Before volunteering with the support group, Kenneth volunteered with many LGBTQ+ organizations and community non-profits in Atlanta, GA. Now, when not enjoying his book club’s latest selection or trying to keep his heart rate up at the gym, Kenneth can be found enjoying time with his vibrant parents who will soon celebrate their 57th wedding anniversary. Kenneth is nearing the end of a 34-year career in federal service as an information technology analyst and looks forward to hitting the highways to visit family and friends around the country.

This program is being offered virtually through Zoom. In order to participate and receive the Zoom link, register by clicking the RSVP button above or by emailing

You will receive the Zoom information no later than the morning of your program.

Art Lab: Celebrating the Creative Spirit

with artist & sculptor Liz Lescault

Stay tuned for the April theme!

In future Art Lab sessions, we will play with a variety of media and genres including: doodling, drawing, collage, assemblage, and water color.

Art Lab will be about making art as well as the different ways we experience art and how it affects us. We will explore both the process and the product of the art we create. We will integrate movement and playful sharing into our art making experience sharing insights, joys and concerns.

These hands-on workshops are for both novices and experienced artists.  You are invited to come to one, some or all of the workshops as the spirit moves you. All are welcome.

Suggested Materials*:

*your favorite watercolor supplies may work just as well for this project. Below are some suggested supplies from Cheap Joes (my favorite place to purchase – prices are generally 40% off retail)

Art Lab will be offered monthly on Thursdays from 5:30 – 7:00pm ET.

Participants are encouraged to drop-in for any session – new themes and projects will be introduced each month.

This hands-on workshop series is for novices and experienced artists.

Upcoming Dates: 

  • April 27
  • May 25
  • June 22

Suggested Donation: $15

About Liz Lescault

Liz Lescault

Liz Lescault, a visual artist and sculptor, has practiced and taught art for over 40 years. Liz is also a Coordinator of the DC InterPlay Metro Region, a certified InterPlay leader and a member of the DC InterPlay Board. She leads Open Gathering days for InterPlay DC and organizes and leads workshops regionally and nationally online and in person. Liz has been leading Art Lab both for Smith Center for the Healing Arts, for the Phillips Collection and for InterPlay internationally.

Formerly, Liz, was a hotline crisis counselor, for various suicide prevention lifelines and The Trevor Project providing help for LGBTQ youth in crisis and the Prince Georges County Homeless Hotline.

Liz has also led InterPlay for elders with chronic illness and cognitive disabilities at Iona Senior Center in Washington DC.

Liz melds her art, teaching, guidance and personal philosophy with InterPlay wisdom, tools and forms.

B.S., Psychology, Drew University, Madison, NJ

M.Ed., University of Massachusetts at Amherst, British Techniques of Open Education

Studied watercolor at WICE, an international educational and cultural association in Paris, France

The Energy Balancing team continues to offer distance sessions. If you wish to receive, please email

with the Energy Balancing Team

Energy Balancing

Our Energy Balancing Program addresses the subtle energies of our body. When these energies are out of balance, all our body systems can become askew. One key to bringing us back into balance is deep relaxation. This is just what our volunteers provide – a half-hour of stress reducing relaxation to calm the body and enhance our well-being.

Most likely you are familiar with many of the body’s systems such as the respiratory system, the digestive system, the endocrine system, the skeletal system and so on. But are you aware that we also have subtle energy systems, systems that cannot be seen, cannot be measured, cannot be felt. Perhaps you know of some; the most familiar are the aura (also known as the biofield), the meridians, the chakras.

These subtle energy systems were very familiar to the ancients. They used them regularly to bring the body into energetic balance. When the body’s energies are in balance, we function at a higher vibration and are more relaxed, more joyful, more centered and able to enjoy life more productively. Many of the age-old techniques are now being used to bring calm to the body and to optimize one’s well-being.

Energy Balancing is offered Weekly on Thursdays in 1/2 hour appointments.

By appointment only. 

Time slots:

  • 1:00pm
  • 2:20pm

About the Energy Balancing Team

About Anne Molofsky

Anne has always been interested in promoting health and wellness. She had a forty-year career as a nutritionist, beginning as a research nutritionist in several NIH-funded clinical trials, then working for the federal government in policy and education, and subsequently counselling clients in her private practice. She received her reiki training over 10 years ago and was able to offer reiki sessions to her nutrition clients as part of their treatment. Since 2013 Anne has also volunteered at Walter Reed offering reiki sessions to Wounded Warriors and their families. She became a Reiki Master Teacher in 2017. Anne is thrilled to be joining the wonderful Energy Balancing Team at the Smith Center!

About Margaret Haggerty

It is a privilege to be part of the energy balancing team for Smith Center for Healing and the Arts.
Having had a long and gratifying career as a registered nurse, I bring a wide range of experiences. Before my retirement nine years ago, I had worked for 47 years as a nurse in a variety of capacities. Whether I was taking care of a tiny two-pound NICU infant or doing diabetic teaching for a centenarian, I realized that there was a larger Presence who was always guiding me. And I believe deeply that whatever experience of healing we receive, involves body, mind and spirit. I became a massage therapist and Reiki Master in order to incorporate a more deliberate approach to healing touch. It was a privilege to work with many clients who were dealing with cancer. What a joy it was to offer some hope and gentle touch as they faced many medical and emotional challenges. Now in my later years I am happy to bring the soft, caring touch of energy balancing to help those who come to Smith Center, to relax in order for. their bodies to mend and their spirits to heal.

About Pat Spellman

Pat Spellman

Pat studied English literature and has a special interest in reading and writing poetry. She has been certified as a Reiki master and as a practitioner of reflexology and Feldenkrais movement. She is a long-time member of the Self-Realization Fellowship, which teaches meditation methods and principles for harmonious living. After a career in publications in DC, Pat retired in Baltimore where she continues her active interest in the Smith Center and its clients.

About Sylvia Sturm

Sylvia Sturm

Sylvia Sturm, EEM-CLP, RM/T, heads our Energy Balancing volunteer team. Sylvia is a Certified Eden Energy Medicine Clinical Practitioner and a Reiki Master Teacher. For many years she has managed a Reiki Volunteer group at a seniors’ residence and has served for 6 years as a Reiki volunteer in GWU Hospital. She is delighted to now work with a dedicated and wonderful team to address the balancing of one’s subtle energies in order to allow the body to completely relax. She has an independent practice in Kensington, MD. To learn more about Sylvia and subtle energies, please visit her website

This program is being offered virtually through Zoom. In order to participate and receive the Zoom link, register by clicking the RSVP button above or by emailing

You will receive the Zoom information no later than the morning of your program.

with Kevin Mutschler

in partnership with Tigerlily Foundation

*Please note that by registering for this program, you consent to have your name and email shared with Tigerlily Foundation. Tigerlily only collects this information for data purposes and it will not be shared with any other parties.


This is an all levels introduction to the practice of Qigong. You will learn about the human energy system, also known as the subtle body.


In the tradition of Qigong, we will learn practices to shape and sculpt this system for our highest good in 3 ways:

  • Purge or clear stagnant energy
  • Tone or nourish energy to replenish our internal resources
  • Regulate our energy system

Our practice will include discussion and movement in addition to an energetic transmission and meditation.

Qigong will be hosted Bi-Monthly on Wednesdays from 7:00 – 8:00pm ET.

Upcoming Dates:

  • April 26
  • May 10 & 24
  • June 14 & 28

About Kevin Mutschler, L.AC.

Kevin Mutschler

Kevin is a board-certified acupuncturist (NCCAOM) and Qigong educator with over twenty-five years experience in healing arts practice, research and education, including work in medical anthropology, somatic therapy and Traditional Chinese Medicine.

Kevin has special interests in working with patients living with chronic illness, migraine, MS and cancer. He is a Smith Center fellow in Integrative Cancer Care Navigation and is a member of the Society for Integrative Oncology.

This program is being offered virtually through Zoom. In order to participate and receive the Zoom link, register by clicking the RSVP button above or by emailing

You will receive the Zoom information no later than the morning of your program.

with Elizabeth Belanger

In Partnership with GW Cancer Center & Cancer Support Community

This monthly support group is designed for adults diagnosed with cancer who identify as members of the LGBTQ+ community. The group will be facilitated by culturally competent social workers, who will provide a safe space to connect with others and explore your own unique experience with cancer.

The LGBTQ+ Cancer Support Group meets monthly on the 4th Wednesday from 6:00-7:00pm ET.

Upcoming Sessions:

  • April 26
  • May 24
  • June 28

About Elizabeth Belanger

Elizabeth Belanger is a Licensed Graduate Social Worker (LGSW) in Washington DC. Elizabeth received her BA in Psychology with minors in Women’s Studies and Sociology from Elon University and a Master’s in Social Work from Simmons University. Elizabeth strives to provide therapy that is client lead and trauma-informed. She is continuously seeking education on the latest techniques in culturally humble and trauma-informed therapy practices. Elizabeth currently works here in DC at Capitol Hill Consortium for Counseling and Consultation (CCCC) with young adults and adults, with issues pertaining to anxiety, depression, chronic illness, trauma, LGBTQ, and women’s issues.

Please visit to register.

In Partnership with 2Unstoppable

In this class, Paola will guide you through a series of exercises designed to help you increase the strength and endurance of your muscles, as well as the strength of your bones with the use of weights, resistance bands, and your own body.

Equipment needed: exercise mat, resistance bands, light weights like dumbbells, bottles of water or food cans, a pilates ball or a thrown pillow, and a chair. Keep a bottle of water nearby to hydrate.

En esta clase Paola te guiará a través de una serie de ejercicios diseñados para ayudarte a aumentar la fuerza y resistencia de tus músculos, así como la fortaleza de tus huesos con el uso de pesas, bandas de resistencia y tu propio cuerpo.

Equipo necesario: colchoneta de ejercicio, bandas de resistencia, pesas ligeras como mancuernas, botellas de agua o latas de comida, una pelota de pilates o un cojín y una silla. Mantenga una botella de agua cerca para mantenerse hidratada.

NOTE:  If you are experiencing any difficulties on the day of class, please email (please check your Spam folder just in case the Zoom email got delivered there instead of your inbox).

Click here to learn more and register.

About 2Unstoppable


2Unstoppable is a non-profit whose mission is to encourage and support exercise among women who have had a cancer diagnosis. Free online fitness buddy matching, oncology fitness resources, and community events at Please visit for a list of upcoming events.

This program is being offered virtually through Zoom. In order to participate and receive the Zoom link, register by clicking the RSVP button above or by emailing

You will receive the Zoom information no later than the morning of your program.

with Project Knitwell and Friends

Knitting Circle on the Couch

Join us weekly to enjoy knitting in a safe and welcoming environment. Knitting can provide a respite from one’s immediate situation, serve as a way to productively pass the time, and have a positive effect on reducing stress symptoms.


Knitting is:

  • relatively easy to learn,
  • requires no artistic talent or prior experience,
  • portable,
  • and results in a useful product.

Sometimes referred to as the “new yoga” — plain and simple — knitting is good for you.


Trained volunteers will provide knitting instruction and quality materials in an effort to foster wellness, comfort, and community. Beginner and experienced knitters are welcome. Starter kits are available, as is a small selection of yarn and knitting supplies.


Stone Soup Films and Project Knitwell created a beautiful 3-minute video highlighting the health benefits of knitting. Watch the video here!

Our Knitting Circle meets Weekly on Wednesdays from 3:00 – 4:30pm ET.

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.

Looking for more intimate knitting instruction? Check out Project Knitwell’s new program, Knitwell in the Cloud, for ongoing, one-on-one knitting instruction via Zoom.

About Project Knitwell

Project Knitwell

Project Knitwell offers knitting as a tool to promote wellness and help people cope with stressful situations at more than a dozen hospital and community settings.

All of Project Knitwell’s programming is provided by volunteers, and services and supplies are provided free of charge to the people we serve.

Project Knitwell volunteers provide knitting instruction and quality materials in an effort to foster wellness, comfort, and community among those we serve.