by Lauren Richards, LCSW
It’s amazing to think that fifteen years ago I was sitting under a tent in the parking lot of the Loran Smith Center for Cancer Support, witnessing the ribbon cutting of a building that would become not only a safe place for the personal transitions of numerous cancer survivors, but also provide a space for the professional development of many social workers and health educators.
Gosh, I was so young, and so green (!), having no idea the journey I was beginning. The opportunities presented to myself, and other budding social workers, have been invaluable. Patients and caregivers teach us how to cope with some of life’s biggest challenges, and how to be resilient and graceful, no matter the outcome. Other healthcare providers teach us the language of medicine, encourage us to remain eager for knowledge, and inspire hope with new treatments and healing modalities.
I’m incredibly grateful to the patients and families with whom I’ve worked at the Loran Smith Center. You’ve taught me more about health, life, the power of relationships, and love, than I could ever have imagined. I am also thankful for the social work colleagues that I’ve equally taught and learned from; being a supervisor to so many, I realize both how much and how little I know. Our former students are now touching lives as far west as Idaho, and at institutions as prestigious as Johns Hopkins. Thank you for keeping me on my toes, and a student of (and for) life. I cannot wait to see what the next 15 years bring for the Center, and to those who walk through its doors. But that’s for another day. Today, celebrate with me all that the Center has meant to all of us, and our community.
Pax Vobiscum ~ Lauren