A Time to Relax
By Kate Yandell
Angie Levy and her friends scattered to different states after they graduated from Emory University in Atlanta in 1993, but they still tried to get together each year for a spa day, even after Levy was diagnosed with stage II breast cancer at age 27 in 1997.
Levy, who earned an MBA following her breast cancer diagnosis and worked as a financial analyst in New York City, always dreamed of starting her own business. “She talked about, ‘Maybe someday I’ll own my own spa, and we can all just have our spa day there,’ ” recalls Joanna Klein, Levy’s former Emory roommate, who now lives in Los Angeles.
Levy died of metastatic breast cancer in 2007 at age 36. The following year, Klein, her mother Nancy Berry, who is a breast cancer survivor, and other friends decided they would start a different type of “spa” to honor Levy. Angie’s Spa
, based in New York City, provides grants to hospitals across the U.S. to pay for massages and other soothing services. The free activities are available to patients while they are in treatment for any type of cancer.
During its current funding year, Angie’s Spa is giving a total of nearly $170,000 to eight hospitals in six states. All of the institutions fund massages through Angie’s Spa, and some also offer acupuncture. Hartford Hospital in Connecticut provides yoga, while UMass Memorial–HealthAlliance Hospital in Fitchburg, Massachusetts, has a music therapy program.
Many patients get massages while receiving chemotherapy infusions. Others may get them or other services on days they go in for radiation or surgery-related appointments.
“Patients personally told us they were so debilitated and exhausted and just psychologically spent from their treatments, sometimes they just didn’t want to go in for them,” says Klein. Knowing they will get a massage or other service that will make them feel better “really helps motivate people to go in for their treatment.”
Do you know an extraordinary person who’s giving his or her time to the cancer cause? Email Volunteer@CancerTodayMag.org. We may feature the person in a future issue.