WORKING WOMEN

Paula Rothenberg launches Hope Connections

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BETHESDA, Md. (WJLA) - Paula Rothenberg is one of nine children and was really close to her father. But in 2004 when cancer took his life, there was something missing from this difficult journey.

"Support," said Rothenberg. "Somebody who knew, who was willing to talk to you in a straight way."

Rothenberg was a successful business owner running her own PR firm. But after almost 20 years, she decided to change focus and created "Hope Connections for Cancer Support."

"We help people get through it," she explained. "We help them emotionally and we help them physically."

At a sprawling facility in Bethesda, cancer patients and care givers walk into a warm, cozy old home instead of another hospital. They can do yoga, meditation, group therapy and more. Rothenberg says it's designed to cultivate the mind-body connection and reduce stress and depression.

"When you get sick your world shrinks," she said. "And we find that people who come here -  it's like a blossom and their world opens back up again."

Rothenberg says despite facing cancer here everyday, her hope for "Hope Connections" is for it to be a joyful place.

"Hope Connections" is now contracting its services with several local hospitals as well. The organization is run entirely on private donations.

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