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The Leukemia/Bone Marrow Transplant Program of BC

For Patients & Families
Coping & Support

Strengthening Your Spirit

Life changes in many ways when you or a loved one develops cancer. You might find yourself turning to your spiritual side more often to help you to cope. Or, you may begin to question your faith. Both of these reactions are normal as you try to re-orient your life during a time of crisis. It is important to remember that you are not alone at this time. Many people have taken this spiritual journey before you.

Everyone holds certain beliefs and values about what makes life worthwhile.

Many people have experienced moments when they have felt connected to a deeper meaning or reality — when you feel close to nature, look into the face of a loved one, or enter a house of worship and sense a greater power.

Whether you are in the process of strengthening or re-evaluating your spiritual beliefs, you might want to try the following:

  1. Take time regularly to meditate or pray. This can bring a sense of calm and stability during difficult times.
  2. Read spiritual writings such as the Bible, the Koran, the Book of Psalms, Bhagavad Gita, or other faith-based texts. Delving into sacred texts can put you in touch with ancient traditions of wisdom and give you a sense of connection with a more divine reality. Recently published books on spirituality can also give new insights.
  3. Seek the help of others. You might begin an ongoing discussion with your clergy or counsellor, or join a group for meditation, prayer and support. 
  4. Retreat to spiritual spaces, natural settings, or concerts and museums to cultivate a spiritual sense of peace. The non-denominational chapel at VGH - ‘A Sacred Space’ - is on the first floor of the Centennial Pavilion, near the main entrance.
  5. Keep a journal to express your feelings, thoughts, and memories. It can contribute to your process of self-discovery and spiritual development.

For further information on or referral to spiritual resources, please contact your BMT social worker or the Spiritual Care Department of Vancouver General Hospital.

Some of this information is cited with permission from CANCERCare, an American national nonprofit organization. For more information, visit the CANCERCare web site, call 1-800-813-HOPE (1-800-813-4673) or email

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