Shannon D’Acquisto, of the Cancer Support Community, has been involved with CSC for about nine years, first as a volunteer and then as a board member before being appointed as the Executive Director nearly four years ago.
“Being part of this cause is important to me because 14 years ago I was diagnosed with my own cancer,” D’Acquisto said.
“It became something that I was passionate about.”
The Cancer Support Community – California Central Coast, is an affiliate of the larger nonprofit, Cancer Support Community, which is based in Washington, D.C. and exists as its own independent 501(3)c. This independence allows all funds raised locally to stay in the local community to help those throughout SLO County and along the Central Coast.
D’Acquisto knows about the challenges and, oftentimes, blessings a cancer diagnosis can bring to not only the patient but also their family, friends, and loved ones.
“I get it,” she said. “So, being part of this organization is sort of like coming full circle for me. Years ago, I started a support group for what they said at the time was a curable cancer. Our entire staff sees the complexities the families we help face. So often, the focus is on the patient which, of course, is where it belongs. But, the families are kind of a lost piece of the cancer journey. There is so much pain involved and it’s often not talked about in the medical community. So, this is a niche area in which the Cancer Support Community
is able to help.”
When she’s not overseeing the day-to-day operations of CSC with her staff and volunteers, D’Acquisto spends time with her husband, Josh, and their children Sydney, Austin, and Jordan. Recently, she was diagnosed with a recurrence of her cancer after being cancer-free for 13 years.
“I had a seizure in March of this year that led me to the emergency room,” she said. “I had a brain scan and the doctors found a tumor, which also led to them finding I have cancer in my bones as well; this is actually a recurrence of my previous cancer. Currently, it’s like having a fulltime job just trying to stay healthy.”
And, yet, her focus remains on ensuring others in our community facing a cancer diagnosis receive proper attention. Programming at CSC includes support groups for caregivers, children of cancer patients, the recently-diagnosed, and more. As D’Aquisto puts it, the local non-profit has “really found the sweet spot on where to help these people where they are at in their journey.”
And – perhaps one of the most amazing aspects of CSC – all services and programming are offered free of charge.
“We are able to do this through the generosity of many great people along the Central Coast,” D’Acquisto said. “This community we live in is so amazing when it comes to giving and being supportive of local charities like ours.”
The Cancer Support Community-California Central Coast is a local nonprofit that supports the needs of cancer patients and their families free of charge for non-medical and emotional support. For more information on programs and services, call 805-238-4411, visit cscslo.org, or stop by 1051 Las Tablas Road, Suite E in Templeton.