Letter: Celebrating 5 years of LivingWell Cancer Resource Center

By on September 9, 2010

September is the fifth anniversary of the opening of the LivingWell Cancer Resource Center, and I would like to recognize our community of supporters who have made our tremendous growth possible.

In five short years, LivingWell has provided over 30 programs and services to 8,217 cancer patients, cancer survivors, caregivers and family members facing cancer. All of our programs and services, including cancer education and nutrition; individual and family counseling, support groups; and wellness activities including yoga and massage therapy, are all provided free of charge to our participants.

Our ability to provide free services to everyone coming through our doors would not be possible without the incredible generosity of this very giving community. I would like to extend a special thank you to the Delnor Health System, who recognized the need for a community-based cancer resource center several years ago. We are also grateful to the thousands of community members and dozens of service organizations and foundations who support our mission.

The statistics are frightening: half of all men and one-third of all women will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime. Giant strides are being made through research and better treatment outcomes, but more needs to be done.

Last month, the American College of Surgeons put forth New Standards of Care for Cancer, which specifically addresses the psychosocial needs of cancer patients. Just as the Institute of Medicine’s findings helped bring credibility to our programs back in 2007, these groundbreaking standards serve as validation for the mission and programs of LivingWell Cancer Resource Center. These newly proposed standards also reflect the changing landscape of cancer care, which now embraces the kind of care LivingWell was founded to provide.

Programs offered at our center have clearly shown to have significant impact. Participants of our programs have been shown to experience:
• Reduced distress
• Improved mental health and quality of life
• Decreased tension and anxiety
• Decreased depression
• Decreased helplessness and hopelessness
• Decreased preoccupation with health issues
• Increased self-confidence in coping with cancer
• Better compliance with medical treatment regimens

We have been humbled by tremendously positive feedback by our participants and through referrals from oncologists representing 19 hospitals and 26 oncology practices. Annual participant growth has exceeded 25 percent each year. We are now providing support care in seven hospitals and four oncology practices in Kane and DuPage counties.

On behalf of the board and staff of LivingWell, please know how much I appreciate your support of the hundreds of cancer patients and their families who have learned that they can count on LivingWell to make their journey with cancer a little bit easier.

Nancy Vance
Executive Director
LivingWell Cancer Resource Center