Our Stories

We’ve grown since our start as I Can in the early 1990’s and will continue to grow. Ann’s Place serves over 1,100 people – both those with cancer as well as their family members – people of all ages, and with all types of cancer from across Connecticut and Hudson Valley New York. These are people who live in the area, your neighbors, colleagues and friends, and they become part of our community.

41% of Americans can expect to be diagnosed with cancer at some point in their lifetime and the number of cancer survivors has increased steadily and is likely to continue.

Research  acknowledges that psychological, emotional and social support can make a difference for those facing cancer. The Institute of Medicine published a book in 2008 called “Cancer Care for the Whole Patient” The study states that “cancer care today often provides state-of-the-art biomedical treatment but fails to address the psychological and social problems associated with the illness. This failure can compromise the effectiveness of health care and thereby adversely affect the physical health of cancer patients.” 

Ann’s Place plays a pivotal and unique role in our Connecticut-New York region in providing the suite of services and access to resources that addresses this need and at no charge. Whether it is a reassurance that your caregiving is on the right track, a check to help with paying the rent, or that insight from a conversation at a support group, the impact can be immeasurable. 

In 2009 I was diagnosed with multiple endocrine neoplasia 2A, an endocrine disease that causes tumors of the endocrine glands. I was 34 years old. Everything happened so fast - two painful surgeries later I found myself confused and unsure as to what happens to me now.

That’s when a co-worker told me about Ann’s Place and I made an appointment with a counselor to talk. I didn’t have much money and was told the visit was free of charge. Seeing the counselor was the best thing I had done and since that phone call – well, it changed my life. After seeing her for a few months and attending some workshops that Ann’s Place offered I no longer felt alone or scared. I had tools to help myself get up and get back in to the flow of life. I still had my moments but always knew that Ann’s Place and the caring, wonderful people there were only a phone call away. Today, I am 5 years cancer free. I owe very much to Ann’s Place. Simple kindness and understanding is what I needed to make it through and Ann’s place gave that gift to me. Thank you to all the hardworking people at Ann’s and to the generous people who donate to make it all possible.
— Colleen J
I have been an oncology nurse for 18 years now. I have worked in multiple places throughout Connecticut, and I can honestly say that I have never in my career encountered a resource like Ann’s Place. Ann’s Place is dedicated to helping those diagnosed with cancer in our community. They do this by tirelessly and compassionately opening their doors to reach out to people in the darkest times of their health. The fact that they do not charge a fee for their services is a welcome change at a time when someone may already be facing financial burden due to illness. I have always said, just the feeling when you walk in there is soothing, inviting, and can take you immediately into relaxation mode. Through the artwork, purposefully decorated rooms and fireplace in the foyer, therein lies a feeling of calm, peace, and hope. The staff is approachable, and their warmth brings a reassurance that you are being well-taken care of during a time when someone may feel otherwise helpless.

I have taught and attended classes at Ann’s Place. I have encouraged my husband, who is an 18-year cancer survivor, to attend and be involved as well. We have attended the Christmas tree event for the first time, and have bought the great T-shirts advertising the Poker run. We have walked the labyrinth, and learned the importance of healthy eating and lifestyle as it pertains to cancer diagnosis and prevention of recurrence. When I have assisted patients to fill out applications, Ann’s Place has been most generous in their financial donations to those needing help with grocery expenses. I advertise and encourage all of the patients that I treat to check out Ann’s Place and their programs, as in Connecticut, there is no other place like it. I am grateful to work for a hospital that has such a unique and wonderful resource in their community to refer our patients to. I feel honored to work directly with the social workers and staff at Ann’s Place on a professional level. Their selfless willingness to help others is admirable; they radiate compassion that is unmatched.

The choice to enter the doors at Ann’s Place is a decision one will never regret. The support they receive once they are welcomed, they will never forget.

This is my Ann’s Place Story.
— Julianne A
My daughter was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2004. After several recurrences and many types of chemo, her doctor decided on a donor bone marrow transplant. My friends and family were wonderful, but I felt lost and afraid.
I called Ann’s Place and went to a caregivers group. Then I started counseling with Su Murdoch. Soon my daughter and I were in a parents group. My granddaughter joined the kids group and we went to Family Fun Days.
What did all this mean? Hope, comfort, community, strength and courage...kindness, warmth, and laughter.
My daughters transplant was successful. She still has serious health problems, but we are better equipped to handle them. We also know Ann’s Place is there with open arms.
— Fran S.
I only started going to Ann’s Place a couple of months ago. I didn’t know about your great facility at the time of my sister’s treatment and subsequent death five years ago from ovarian cancer. I found that they welcomed me with open arms and said “of course you are still welcome!” I was impressed and still am. What a caring, loving place! The staff is wonderful. I wished I had known about you then, but I do now. I take Rieki there, and find that wonderful. I take it with Sue and she is the epitome of love and caring. Thank you for being there. I still have a hard time with my older sister’s death. She wasn’t supposed to have that disease (I know, no one is supposed to have that disease!) she was not supposed to have ovaries. She had a COMPLETE hysterectomy 40 years ago! Thank you again for being there and letting me share.
— Helen F
I cannot begin to express my appreciation for Ann’s Place and what a difference it has made in our lives over the last 18 months. I am so grateful to share the many ways it has helped us. Neither of us had the financial resources to get this kind of support elsewhere, and in addition to the costs of treatment, it would have become impossible:

My partner Russ was diagnosed with inoperable Stage 4 lung cancer in early 2013. Until then, no one close to me had experienced cancer, so everything was new and overwhelming.

The diagnosis was devastating, but Kevin Berrill at Ann’s Place helped me cope with the low points without further burdening my partner.

When we attended a support group for incurable cancer, we found that we were not alone.

Russ invited me to his Food for Life classes where we learned how to incorporate cancer-fighting foods, and minimize surprisingly common cancer-feeding substances. Though I’m knowledgeable about nutrition and health, most was still a revelation and inspired his complete diet change. This, coupled with experimental treatment, certainly helped maintain or improve his quality of life, both mentally and physically.

We attended some gentle yoga and Tai Chi classes which helped toward a more active lifestyle. The resources in the library were invaluable, and sometimes we would sit there just to browse and talk, or sit in the peace of the patio or garden.
I attended the caregivers support group several times. Exchanging periodic emails with Su Murdock gave me a boost of encouragement to keep going.
Ann’s Place invited us to attend the survivor’s breakfast at Ethan Allen Inn, which was very encouraging. We sat at a table with other survivors and were able to connect on a personal level with some of the dedicated Praxair staff.
In some ways, Ann’s Place has been a home away from home for us, as we each try to walk this path.
Thanks to all who support Ann’s Place and make this possible.
— Judy B