The Hand to Heart Project is a program of NH-VT Palliative Services (603) 542-8367  •  P.O. Box 248, Cornish Flat, N.H. 03746

Massage Therapy and Compassionate Touch for People with Advanced Cancer

For more than six years now, The Hand to Heart Project has been providing the comfort of massage and compassionate touch to people with advanced cancer. We work with people who are going through treatment for their cancer, and with people who have ended treatment and are approaching the end of life. Since the day the program was launched, it has helped hundreds of people find moments of physical and spiritual peace during extraordinarily difficult times. What’s more, the service is free, and is provided in the clients’ homes.

"Every visit is like a small miracle of suffering made easier through healing touch and presence.” That is how one man described The Hand to Heart Project after watching one of the our massage therapists work with his mother, who was dying less than two months after being diagnosed with cancer. This small miracle of touch is provided by massage therapists who between them have several decades of experience offering massage to people with cancer. We cover nearly two dozen towns in the Upper Valley area of New Hampshire and Vermont, a region that includes Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center and the Norris Cotton Cancer Center.

Every year, we make hundreds of home visits, some of them to people who can get onto a massage table (we always have one with us) and receive what to most people would look like a standard massage, and some of them to people who cannot get onto a table and receive the hands-on work while in a chair or bed. While many of our clients are in treatment for cancer and hoping or expecting to be well again, we also have been with people in the last weeks, days, and even hours before death. Clients and their family members have told us often how much help the Hand to Heart home visits are; one woman said it was the most important connection she made after being diagnosed with ovarian cancer. People are referred to us by hospitals, visiting nurse agencies, churches and by members of the community who know someone who might benefit from a home visit. If you would like to make a referral, please click on the Contact Us link to the left.

The Hand to Heart Project was founded in 2007 by massage therapist Steve Gordon of Cornish, N.H., with the help of several friends who believe that compassionate touch during extreme illness or when death is near is a valuable and important gift to offer. For more than a decade, Steve provided massage one day a week to inpatients at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, N.H. Briane Pinkson, also of Cornish and another of the Hand to Heart massage therapists, has been providing massage to cancer patients at DHMC for nearly 35 years.

The project is funded almost entirely by grants and individual contributions. If you would like to make a contribution to support our work, please contact us, or send a check to the address below, or use the PayPal button on this page.

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Photos by
Charles A. Parker,
Images Plus Photography and
Vicki Beaver,

The Hand to Heart Project • P.O. Box 248, Cornish Flat, N.H. 03746
(603) 542-8367 •





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