The Cancer Alliance of Naples: YogaCAN

Cancer has touched most people in some way shape or form, but what about those who cannot afford life’s bare necessities due to the cost of their sickness? I had the opportunity to visit the Cancer Alliance of Naples to learn about the charity, its mission, and the recipients to see how their events like YogaCAN, serve our local community affected by cancer.

While most mornings follow a standard routine of some combination of coffee, newspapers, and traffic, today begins on a much different foot. It’s 11 o’clock, underneath the gleaming palms, Lehigh native, Charlotta and I are strolling through the park behind CAN. In between laughter and exchanging family stories, she begins to open up about her journey with cancer.

A mother of three, Charlotta’s darling personality is as endearing as it is tough. As her breast cancer treatment progressed, financial burden weighed heavy, and necessities became impossible to finance. She had just purchased a home and was terminated from her job. Not only was life a struggle, but paying for its simple things became a battle of strength. After a recommendation from her doctor, Charlotta decided to seek help from the Cancer Alliance of Naples. She admits that though it is easy to let pride get in the way of seeking out help, assistance is necessary, and the Cancer Alliance of Naples made the process straightforward and simple. Despite her medical struggles, Charlotta is remarkably determined to make it her mission to give back to the community and help others fighting for their well-being.

Founded on its mission of offering financial assistance to cancer-stricken families in Lee and Collier Counties, the branches of Cancer Alliance of Naples (CAN) are far reaching. By assisting families with car payments and mortgages, without red tape and limitations, this local Naples organization is one of a kind.

In talking to Joel Waltzer, YogaCAN founder and father of three, his sense of gratitude is infectious as is his willingness to assist those in need. He and his wife Jane started YogaCAN in the midst of her battle with breast cancer. “We are the lucky ones,” Joel notes that this quote from his wife spurred the idea for the event. Though her health was poor, Jane had a willingness to help others who were less fortunate and believed that despite her situation she and her family were lucky. Thus, the birth of YogaCAN, an event created to raise money for the Cancer Alliance of Naples.

“It’s an overwhelmingly, grateful and humbling feeling of support and love and humanity doing good.”

From a dark and challenging time, YogaCAN arose as a staple of selflessness and activism. The spirit of the event and the alliance embodies all that humans are at our core: kind. It is a gentle reminder that no matter our circumstances, we are all capable of lending a helping hand to others in need. After all, isn’t that what makes life worth living anyway?

To join in the spirit of giving, sign up for YogaCAN and to give back or receive help visit Cancer Alliance of Naples.

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