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Treatment Dedication Project

Our projects take many forms, including writing, teaching, consultation, events, and supervision of other professionals.

The Treatment Dedication Project

Kaethe Weingarten, Ph.D.

When we are ill, our lives can be affected in many ways. Some of us may be unable to do the work that gives our life meaning and provides a sense of self-worth. For those who are used to caring for others, it may be a struggle to accept care. Treatment for cancer, while a privilege, can also be frightening and lonely. This project is based on the belief that everyone, no matter how diminished, has something to offer, and that anything can be turned into an offering. Those of us who are in treatment for cancer can dedicate the treatments themselves to individuals, organizations, or causes we wish to honor and support.

Dedicating our cancer treatments means that we don't just passively receive those treatments. Instead, we actively take the treatments in the name of others, thereby transforming each treatment into an offering to the person or cause we choose to honor. And while we undergo the treatments, the people or causes we have chosen know that they have been selected for our special attention because we think so highly of them. Dedicating our cancer treatments helps us turn an experience we may dread into an experience of deep significance to us and to others. Dedicating our cancer treatments can also make us feel connected to others rather than alone.

The Project provides two sets of guidelines. One—A Guide for Cancer Patients—is designed to assist cancer patients who choose to dedicate their cancer treatments to others. The other set of guidelines—A Guide for Volunteers to the Treatment Dedication Project—is designed to assist these patients' allies: their family members, friends, or other volunteers.

A Guide for Cancer Patients will help people:
Choose a person or cause whose contributions they wish to honor
Write a letter to inform the dedicatees of the reasons for their selection
Develop practices that symbolically connect treatment sessions to the dedicatee
Learn techniques to focus attention on the dedicatee(s) while undergoing treatment

A Guide for Volunteers to the Treatment Dedication Project teaches people how to help a patient dedicate treatments. Volunteers find this an uplifting experience for them, too.

Dedicating our cancer treatments is a way to make the actions we take to save our lives count twice, for ourselves and for others. It is a way to do hope, to transform private pain into public purpose.