Client Spotlight: Cuc

Cuc sitting on a park bench under trees, wearing a blue dress.
“Shanti gave me a hand during my most difficult time. Everything Shanti has done for me will stay in my heart. I don’t feel alone anymore.” — Cuc

Cuc is a woman in her early 50s originally from Vietnam. She lives with her husband and daughter in the Ingleside neighborhood, where her daughter thrives in the local middle school and they feel safe and welcome. Cuc is in survivorship following cancer treatment.

When Cuc was first diagnosed with endometrial cancer in September 2020, she and her family were unhoused and had to live separately wherever they could find a place to stay. For Cuc, sometimes this was her car or a friend’s couch. Meanwhile, her daughter was having a rough time at school, and Cuc was desperate to find a stable home near a better school.

At UCSF, where she sought medical treatment, Cuc was assigned a social worker who referred her to Shanti’s Margot Murphy Women’s Cancer Program. Within a month of her diagnosis, Cuc was enrolled in our program. She was connected with Selena, a compassionate care navigator.

As their relationship began, Cuc shared some details of her life circumstances with Selena, but did not reveal her dire housing situation. It was after Cuc joined our Women’s Cancer Program’s virtual English-language support group in March 2021 that she felt comfortable talking about her housing crisis. A fellow support group member helped bring this to Selena’s attention.

Selena began right away to look for resources to help Cuc find housing. Through these efforts, she was able to support Cuc and her family as they moved into a shelter and then into transitional housing. With Selena’s assistance, Cuc enrolled in the Section 8 housing choice voucher program and began the search for stable housing. Ultimately, Cuc and her family found a desirable house in a neighborhood with a great school for her daughter. They moved in to their new home in July 2022.

Cuc (left) with her Care Navigator Selena
Cuc (left) with Selena, her Shanti care navigator

All of this coincided with Cuc’s cancer journey. In addition to critical housing support, Selena helped guide Cuc through her chemotherapy and surgery and coordinated with her medical care team. She connected Cuc with other resources, including grocery gift cards, taxi vouchers, and a wig. Shanti offered Cuc complementary therapies including massage, which relieved a lot of her stress and pain. Throughout this time, Selena provided Cuc intensive emotional support and became a trusted confidante, staying right alongside Cuc during her ups and downs.

Today, as Cuc has transitioned into survivorship, she remains connected with Selena and engaged with our programming. She is active in a variety of our wellness activities and continues to participate in the virtual support group, where she has developed a sense of belonging and community with her peers. She feels her life is under control and moving in a better direction.

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