John Sykes Curtis Harvey Center

   for Healing and Stress Reduction


The John Sykes Curtis Harvey Center for Healing & Stress Reduction was founded to honor Emily Sander who passed away on June 5, 2010 from brain cancer. The Center is named after her grandfather, John Sykes Curtis Harvey in honor of his inspiration by overcoming adversity and making resources available to heal the world.

Emily's interest in healing stemmed from early childhood when she remembered her brother Curtis, then in 6th grade, who was struck by a train on the City Line outside of Philadelphia, and how Bryn Mawr Hospital sent for a woman with "a healing touch." She wondered ever since how healing touch and other alternative techniques could be used most effectively. In addition, over her lifetime, Emily became more and more aware of the increased stress of the world as it became globalized, as work hours increased, and as
people's social networks and family networks shrunk. As a social worker at Mass General Hospital for 15 years, she saw some people turn to drugs to cope with this stress, with perilous consequences.

In addition, Emily saw the need for alternative approaches in her own life. A vibrant person, life-long jogger, and very healthy eater, Emily was diagnosed in her mid-60s with breast cancer and then lymph node cancer, and in her late 70s with aggressive brain cancer. Emily successfully turned to various avenues to cope with each successive health battle, pouring herself with
newfound vigor and creativity into her painting; deepening her readings of spiritual leaders across religious traditions (including her own involvement in the Religious Society of Friends); making use of alternative medicine (pressure points to deal with nausea, physical touch through massage and chiropractic medicine); gardening; and turning to family and community.

The Center will initially focus on six themes and activities:

  1. Sharing the range of approaches and wisdom on how to cope with stress and heal in modern society
  2. Connecting resources about these different approaches with people in search of healing
  3. Helping youth learn vital skills in how to cope with stress and enhance their own healing powers;
  4. Letting people know what resources are available in what areas, starting with a map of healing gardens;
  5. Creating opportunities for individuals or communities to bring these anti-stress approaches to their communities; and
  6. Providing space for people to share their stories and journeys of healing.

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