Our Masonic Family has a wonderful partnership with the Masonic Cancer Center at the University of Minnesota which we are proud to continue to support. The Order of the Eastern Star Cancer Project has provided vital funding to Dr. Anne Blaes, M.D., at the Masonic Cancer Center at the University of Minnesota for a number of years. Dr. Blaes is an assistant professor in the Division of Hematology/Oncology and Transplantation. She has a special interest in cancer survivorship, the late effects of cancer therapy, and medical education. Dr. Blaes graduated from the University of Notre Dame and received her M.D. degree from Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine. She helped to organize and currently manages the Long-term Follow-Up Clinic for Adult Cancer Survivors, which works to improve the quality of life of cancer survivors.Dr. Blaes’ work and research include:
- Improving Breast Cancer Outcomes
Dr. Blaes’ primary focus of late has been research that would determine the effects of aromatase inhibitors on the vascular function of survivors of triple negative breast cancer. Studies have indicated that the use of inhibitors, such as Arimidex, Aromasin or Femara to reduce the production of estrogen in breast cancer survivors is more effective than the commonly used tamoxifen and has fewer side effects; however, there is some indication that the inhibitors may negatively impact healthy arteries. Currently, Dr. Blaes is actively recruiting study participants.
- Supporting Survivors
As cancer therapies improve, the number of survivors is expected to grow. A pioneer in the field of cancer survivorship, the Masonic Cancer Center serves as an important resource for both survivors and the medical community.
The Cancer Outcomes and Survivorship Program advanced the field through studies of everything from the basic biology of how late effects occur, to prevention of cardiovascular complications in patients receiving a particular type of chemotherapy.
The latest findings are put into practice at the Long-Term Follow Up Clinics for both child and adult cancer survivors. Dr. Blaes directs the adult clinic, which offers recommendations for ongoing care and treatment based on screenings and assessments.
- Mindfulness to Augment Recovery
Does meditation combined with reflection and peer support improve the health of cancer survivors in the first few months after treatment? That’s the question posed by Dr. Blaes, who leads a study aimed to find a definitive answer.
“Patients who’ve gone through cancer treatment have more chronic conditions, more depression and anxiety, more general medical problems,” says Blaes. “Finishing chemo and radiation, patients have a real fear of the unknown. It’s the first time their diagnosis truly sinks in, just as their support network evaporates.”
To counter these conditions, Dr. Blaes is exploring the promise of complementary medicine to enhance the healing process for cancer survivors. In particular, Dr. Blaes is measuring whether, and to what extent, mindulness meditation techniques affect depression, anxiety, sleep quality, sexual function and immune response.
Donations for this project are to be made by check made out to Minnesota Grand Chapter, OES with “cancer project” indicated in the lower left corner. Please send you donation to Minnesota Grand Chapter, OES, 11501 Masonic Home Drive, Bloomington, Minnesota 55437.
We will purchase a smaller blanket warmer this year. Although they have a larger blanket warmer; they have a need for a smaller one in other areas of the Masonic Home.
Each Chapter is encouraged to support the Order of the Eastern Star Masonic Home Volunteer Committee. Chapters can help this committee do their very good work at our Masonic Home, either by providing financial assistance, volunteering at an event, by making tray favors, etc. The committee sends a letter each year outlining their activities and ways in which chapters can support their work, and we encourage chapters to respond positively to this request from the committee.
Donations for this project are to be made by check made out to Minnesota Grand Chapter, OES with “Masonic Home Project” indicated in the lower left corner. Please send your check to Minnesota Grand Chapter, OES, 11501 Masonic Home Drive, Bloomington, Minnesota 55437.
The Worthy Grand Matron and Worthy Grand Patron have a combined pin this year. It is a darling group of flowers representing a garden with musical notes embedded with the flowers.
Each Chapter has pins available for purchase. The cost is $4.00
Project Chairperson: Barb Lawton, Whittemore Chapter #37
Many of our members, their families and friends have benefited from our scholarships, and we will continue to support these programs. ESTARL is our religious scholarship program, the M. Josephine Rusham Scholarship is a program for graduating High School Seniors, and the Pat Rasmussen Continuing Education Scholarship supports students beyond their freshman year of college. We hope that each Chapter will support all of these fine scholarships with a fund raising event or collection.
The Community Project is the chapter’s choice as each chapter knows how best to support their individual community. Examples of previous community projects are: making blankets for a homeless shelter, hospital emergency room or fire station; buying winter coats for children and donating them to a local food or homeless or women’s shelter; working with Habitat for Humanity to build a home in the chapter’s community; adopting a family to support with food or gift baskets during the holiday season; volunteering at a senior care center or Meals on Wheels, etc.
Project Chairperson: Beverly Casmey, Crookston Chapter #137
In October 2014, a gift from Minnesota Masonic Charities prompted the renaming of the Children’s Hospital at University of Minnesota to “Masonic Children’s Hospital”. The $25 million gift provides Minnesota Masonry with the ability to meaningfully impact the health and well being of children in Minnesota and around the globe.
Affilliated with the University of Minnesota Medical School, the hospital not only provides uncompromising care, but groundbreaking research and premiere training — two-thirds of Minnesota’s pediatricians and 80 percent of the region’s pediatric specialists train there.
Hospital doctors apply innovative approaches and pioneering discoveries that have implications around the world. The first successful pediatric blood marrow transplant was performed at the hospital, as well as the first infant heart transplant in Minnesota. The hospital also is home to Minnesota’s only children’s behavioral inpatient unit.
Support from Order of the Eastern Star in Minnesota
Our primary focus this year is to support behavioural health. Mental illness and addiction affect millions of Americans, including a staggering number of young people from all backgrounds. The consequences of inaction are severe: lives compromised and even lost, families intensely stressed and communities weakened. But there is hope.
Behavioural Health Services at the Masonic Children’s Hospital is among the most comprehensive programs to children nationally, providing compassionate service for patients ranging in age from 4 to 18 years old, and for nearly 90 percent of Minnesotan teens who require inpatient care.
There is an ongoing need in the Behavioural Health Services area to provide items to assist in distracting young patients, relieve pain and anxiety, and provide comfort. One popular item serves all three functions: new pajamas!
Some of the sickest children treated at the Masonic Children’s Hospital must stay for weeks or months at a time. It is for those patients that the comfort provided by high quality, soft pajamas especially becomes integral to their healing.
- “Throw A Pajama Party!”
The hospital requires certain size and quality specifications, and therefore asks that monetary donations be made in lieu of homemade nightwear. An annual commitment of $10,000 provides new pajama’s to more than 600 hospitalized children — a target OES Chapters can reach by throwing pajama parties!Gather together in your favorite pj’s, pop some corn, and fundraise to impact the lives of these sick and hospitalized children. Your Chapter donations will fund high-quality, soft pajamas that offer young patients with a sense of comfort and normalcy during their hospital stay.
Donations for this project are to be made by check made out to Minnesota Grand Chapter, OES with “Masonic Children’s Hospital” indicated in the lower left corner. Please send your check to Minnesota Grand Chapter, OES, 11501 Masonic Home Drive, Bloomington, Minnesota 55437.
The Challenge: Don’t stop there, take it to the next level!
Of course, Chapter members have a long tradition of hands-on support at the University of Minnesota, and the gift of your time is no more important than at the Masonic Children’s Hospital! Do what you do the very best: add an activity to your pajama party that will further benefit the kids.
The hospital is always looking for homemade donations that bring smiles to their patients and their families. Choose from the following projects, or contact Fairview Hospital Volunteer Services at 612 273 6565 to find out about additional suggestions. Here are some ideas to get you started.
- ACTIVITY BAGS
Fill sealed, zippered plactic bags with fun things a child or teen can do as they visit their doctor (or wait for a sibling). Make bags age spedific but generic enough for a boy or a girl. Include everything needed for the activity in each bag. Examples include crayons, markers, colored pencils, coloring books, paper and stickers.
- SNACK BAGS
Snack kits are greatly appreciated by the pediatric clinics for children who are feeling hungry after fasting for a test or procedure at their outpatient appointment. A decorative, zippered plastic bag filled with a juice box, bag of goldfish crackers, granola bar, stickers, etc. is a welcome treat. Please refrain from including candy items.
- HANDMADE CARDS
The patients and their families appreciate the cheer brought from handmade cards. Cards should be religiously, politically and culturally neutral and of course, positive! Avoid “get well soon” types of messages and instead, focus on silly jokes or other messages such as “thinking of you” and “someone cares”.
This is going to be fun!