Daily Herald American Cancer Society
Hope and courage

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Local resources for cancer survivors

Wellness Place, located in Palatine, offers educational and exercise programs, individual counseling, support groups and services for those with cancer and their families at no cost. For information, call (847) 221-2400 or visit www.wellnessplace.org.

Additional cancer support and resource programs are offered at:

Living Well Cancer Resource Center, 1803 W. State St., Geneva. Call (630) 262-1111 or visit www.livingwellcrc.org.

The Cancer Wellness Center, 215 Revere Dr., Northbrook. Call (847) 509-9595 or visit www.cancerwellness.org.

Wellness House, 131 N. County Line Road, Hinsdale. Call (630) 323-5150 or visit www.WellnessHouse.org.


Taking survivorship on the road

Carol Austin

Carol Austin of Arlington Heights says her breast cancer experience has literally put her in the driver’s seat. The retired American Airlines ticket agent’s 1999 cancer diagnosis resulted in the need for chemotherapy, radiation therapy and hormone pills, as well as a new-found commitment to helping others finding themselves in similar circumstances. In 2001 she began volunteering in the American Cancer Society’s Reach to Recovery program, offering support to other newly diagnosed women. In addition to joining Relay For Life and participating in the Y-ME Mother’s Day walk, Austin also hit the road to become an ACS Road To Recovery volunteer driver, providing free transportation to and from doctor appointments and treatment for a number of local cancer patients.


About National Cancer Survivors Day

Now celebrating its 21st year, the observance on June 1 is the world’s largest and fastest growing annual cancer survivor event, bringing together survivors, families, friends, physicians and healthcare professionals dedicated to cancer treatment, diagnosis, research and support. Some 10.5 million Americans now live with and beyond a diagnosis of cancer.

The non-profit National Cancer Survivors Day Foundation supports hundreds of hospitals, support groups and other cancer-related organizations hosting National Cancer Survivor Day events in their communities by providing free guidance, education and networking.

In the beginning, cancer survivor Richard Bloch, co-founder of H & R Block, and his wife, Annette, held their first Cancer Survivor Rally in Kansas City, Mo., to obtain media coverage that would demonstrate that a diagnosis of cancer was not an automatic death sentence. The idea soon caught on in other communities — now numbering more than 700 — and has become known as National Cancer Survivors Day.

Bloch, who died of heart failure in 2004, helped develop the Physicians Data Query computer system for the National Cancer Institute and in 1982 was appointed by President Ronald Reagan to the National Cancer Advisory Board. The Blochs founded the R.A. Bloch Cancer Foundation and together authored three books on cancer.


A blessing in disguise

Linda Karch of Arlington Heights, left, receives an award for volunteerism from Patti Baker of the American Cancer Society.

Arlington Heights’ Linda Karch says her battle with breast cancer may have been a blessing in disguise. Her 1999 diagnosis with stage 2 breast cancer resulted in six months off work for a lumpectomy to remove a 1.2 cm tumor, a bilateral mastectomy when additional pre-cancerous cells were found, reconstructive surgery and four rounds of chemotherapy.

It also spurred Karch to begin volunteering for the American Cancer Society. She’s a Reach to Recovery volunteer providing support to other women newly diagnosed with breast cancer, helps assemble special cancer care kits containing pamphlets, videos, information on prostheses and pillows for breast cancer patients, and recently began volunteering once a week in the Patient Resource Center at U.S. Oncology/Northwest Community Hospital.


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