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May This Circle Remain Unbroken

by Jennie Stockslager

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According the American Cancer Society, one in four persons born today will be diagnosed with some form of cancer in his or her life, and of those diagnosed, 580,350—1,600 per day—are projected to die. Ask any size group of people, however, if their lives have been affected in some way by a cancer diagnosis—either their own or that of a loved one—and chances are the dramatic response will be 100%.

Because cancer pervades our lives, it is rare that one has never been touched in a significant way by one of the many forms of this disease. As we approach the October, Breast Cancer Awareness Month, once again our consciousness is raised and we want to believe that if a cancer diagnosis ever led us on a journey filled with surgery, chemo, and radiation, we would travel the arduous path with hope in our heart and faith in a more promising future than most would expect.

In 2003, that is exactly the place eight women found themselves as they gathered around a kitchen table. Initially strangers, they recognized that they had more in common than their breast cancer diagnoses. They shared a belief that they could do more than rely solely on medicine while on their journey to wellbeing. From that shared belief, they began to meet and ultimately, they created a vision which led to the founding of “The Noble Circle Project.”

The Noble Circle Project is a grassroots organization that is entering its eleventh year of existence. Noble Circle started with a group of eight women, feeling afraid and alone in their breast cancer diagnosis. They shared their experiences and their frustrations of wanting to do more to overcome cancer, but felt overwhelmed by the world of complementary medicine.

Since 2004, twenty groups of about 15 women each have attended The Noble Circle Project’s Core Programs offered biannually, bringing the membership to nearly 300 Miami Valley women.

The first part of the Core Program is a three-day retreat which introduces the 15 new women participants to the 3 pillars of Noble Circle: Complementary Energy Techniques, which begins with an emphasis on qigong, an ancient healing art that is like Tai Chi; Nutritional Education, with an emphasis on whole foods nutrition; Peer Support.
For the second part of the Core Program, the 15 women attend Thursday evening classes for 10 consecutive weeks in Kettering at One Lincoln Park. During these classes, they continue their practice of qigong, they learn more about whole foods nutrition, and they gather nightly for Peer Support. In addition, guest speakers provide information on topics related to health and well-being.

Following the completion of the Core Program, the new “sisters” are welcomed into the larger “Alumnae Group,” which meets monthly and hosts a weekend retreat each summer.

All programs cost an average of $1000 per woman, but they are offered at NO CHARGE to the participants. The Noble Circle Project’s annual budget is met through the volunteer work of its members, fundraisers (including its annual February AWear Affair at Sinclair’s Ponitz Center), grants, donations, and sponsorships from the community at large.

At the completion of one program, a participant wrote:

“Do I think I’d still be alive if I hadn’t found Noble Circle? Yes. I believe medicine could have done that for me. The difference, however, is that because of Noble Circle, I’m more than alive; I’m joyfully living!”

If you know of any woman over 18 years old who has ever received a cancer diagnosis in her life and who would benefit from all that The Noble Circle Project offers, please refer her to http://www.noblecircle.org or 937-674-5566.
The Noble Circle Project will offer her the same things those eight women were looking for over ten years ago at their kitchen table: an inspiring and empowering journey, filled with compassion, caring and a belief in possibilities.

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