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 A Therapeutic Retreat
A Therapeutic Retreat

In 1991, the Charlotte Maxwell Complementary Clinic (CMCC) was founded by a dedicated group of health care providers and women with cancer to answer the unmet need to provide low-income women with free complementary, alternative therapies for women diagnosed with cancer.

A partial list of the free services provided at CMCC includes acupuncture, Chinese herbs, Western herbs, homeopathy, massage and therapeutic imagery. These important complementary services offer relief from the side effects of cancer treatments and are rarely covered under health care plans.

With clinic locations in both Oakland and San Francisco, the organization served over 442 clients and provided 4,397 treatments in 2006 alone. Since its beginnings, CMCC has quadrupled its clinic hours and maintains a pool of over 275 volunteer practitioners who provide all of the alternative therapies to the clients in need.

The clients are low income women who are often diagnosed in the later stages of cancer when the survival rates drop dramatically. Their clients range from the homeless to the working poor, and their numbers are growing at a rate of 50% per year. Approximately one-fourth of the CMCC clients are Hispanic; another 25% are African-America; six percent are Asian. Some have young children living at home with them; others live alone. Some have the support of friends and family, others must relay solely on practical support services.

Their services had been provided from a very small location until recently. That's when they came to NCCLF and secured a $200,000 loan to assist them to make tenant improvements on their newly leased clinic space at 610 16th Street, Suite 426 in Oakland. Their warm and cheerful new facilities offer a serene and comfortable environment for both the clients and the volunteer practitioners to provide the quality supportive services that are so desperately needed by these special cancer victims.

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