Percy McCray: My name is Rev. Percy McCray and I am the Director of Pastoral Care and Social Services at the Cancer Treatment Centers of America.
My responsibilities at the Cancer Treatment Centers of America is to oversee the spiritual department, to administrate all of the moving components that support patients with regard to their spirituality, their needs of faith-based orientation and support as they enter into our facility.
Every human being wants to be loved, every human being wants to be valued, every human being wants to be respected and every human being wants to be forgiven. If you can figure out a way to connect with people on those core basic ideas then you have an opportunity to touch parts of them that may not necessarily have a relationship with any religious orientation but with their humanity and then you give them the ability to seek out their own direction and support that direction of what they believe religiously or spiritually, and allow them the right to practice that.
When I first met Lori, Lori was fundamentally like most cancer patients who walk through our doors – scared, overwhelmed and unsure of an environment and a place that they had never been to before, and so again, having the opportunity to meet her and her support, simply gaining and creating the core relationship.
The key to ministering to cancer patients is not really your religious or spiritual orientation as much as finding common ground to meet and greet and begin to understand who they are as a human being – their hurts, their pains, their trials, their tribulations.
And so with meeting Lori I did just that and basically allowed her to drive the bus. What is it that she wanted to talk about; what was important to her; what were some of the things that were bothering her and allow her to dictate the tone and tempo, and so again, being able to connect with her as a fresh new individual that I had never met before.
It’s sort of adventurous, a journey – you are getting to know someone and to be a part of their walk in their process and so we simply embraced one another and created casual moments of conversation and contact that simply led and built off of each other that we could pick up on another day and another visit - in the hallway, by the elevators, in the cafeteria, and continue to simply breathe the words of love and hope and expectation.
And so I remember those days with fond memories in simply reaching out to her and holding her and grabbing her mentally and emotionally and saying, “Listen, we will figure out how to step through this process one day at a time.”
Cancer is hideous. Cancer is tough. Cancer is frightening. Cancer is overwhelming, but cancer is not the end of the story. Cancer is beatable. Cancer is treatable. Cancer is survivable. Cancer ultimately can take a person to another place of existence of meaning, value and purpose. Therefore cancer can be dealt with.