Cancer is a serious issue in our community. The American Cancer Society estimated 202,260 new cancer cases and 73,030 cancer deaths for Blacks in 2019. We have “the highest death rate and shortest survival of any racial and ethnic group in the US for most cancers.” As with any other problem we face, it’s up to us to find solutions and that is precisely what one Philly couple is doing. Marjani and Al Harris have created the only Black-owned cancer support center in the country.
Marjani and Al opened The Cancer Who Cares Center because they didn’t see spaces where cancer patients could get holistic care, mentally and emotionally. The couple had family members who’d battled with the disease and so they knew, experientially, the challenges. Not only did they create a space that provides total wellness care but all of their programs are free of charge. Families coping with cancer need a tremendous amount of support so the couple thought that those impacted individuals should be able to focus on their families, not worry about paying for services.
The Cancer Who Cares Center features a range of programs that provide mental health and emotional care, from yoga to spa days. Marjani and Al are living examples that we can address the problems in our community. We should also learn from them that if we see a need not being addressed, we should simply create the solution. Cancer is, undoubtedly, a big issue in our community. We cannot depend on others to care and provide the treatment we need — that’s up to us. Marjani and Al Harris are to be commended for their work and commitment.