Healing Pathways Cancer Resource Center hosts open house March 23

From press release

For the first time, cancer patients and their families in the Rockford region will have access to a cancer wellness center similar to those that have served people in the Chicago area for decades.

Healing Pathways-Cancer Resource Center will begin offering free services to people with all types of cancer April 13. Until a permanent location is established, programs will be presented in the lower level of Westminster Presbyterian Church, 2821 N. Bell School Road, Rockford. A community open house is planned for 5-7 p.m., March 23.

Approximately 4,000 cases of cancer are diagnosed in the stateline area each year. “We’re bombarded by cancer statistics, but are too often unaware of the power of the individual to contribute to the success of their treatment and movement towards optimal health,” says Carolyn Greenlaw, R.N., the interim executive director of Healing Pathways. “This center will focus on providing tools that empower individuals to take a proactive role in their healing.”

Core programs include stress management, gentle exercise, optimal nutrition and connecting with others, all designed to complement the patient’s medical care, move toward optimal health and provide companionship during the cancer journey.

April programming will include the video class “Foods that Fight Cancer,” from the Physicians’ Committee on Responsible Medicine, with cooking demonstrations; Beginning Yoga for Flexibility, Relaxation and Recovery; Stress Reduction and Relaxation; Massage; and on first and third Saturday mornings, Support for Parents of Children with Cancer.

Volunteer instructors at Healing Pathways for April through June include:

→ Stress Reduction Class: Mary Ann Norwood, MA, LCPC, CEAP, CADC; Kathleen L. Kwait-Hess, LCSW; Jessica C. Dannenmaier, Psy. D. Clinical Psychologist; James J. Ryan, MSW, LCSW; Carolyn Greenlaw, RN BSN.

→ Parents of Children with Cancer Support Group: Rachel Ward, Psy. D Clinical Psychologist

→ Massage Therapy: Kathryn S. Moehling RN, ND, LCPC, LMT

→ Yoga and Body Movement: Tamara Scott-Bogard, Certified by the American Council on Exercise

→ Nutrition: Jeanie L. Burke, R.D., L.D., C.P.T.

The center was founded by Linda Huffman Jones, a leukemia patient who experienced the benefits of a cancer resource center while living in the Chicago suburbs, and set about establishing one when she returned to Rockford in 2005.

“It didn’t seem right that my hometown had no such place for cancer patients to go,” says Jones. “The support I received at the centers in the Chicago suburbs was invaluable.”

Jones assembled a team of medical professionals and cancer survivors who took inventory of services currently available, conducted focus group studies, visited five Illinois cancer wellness centers, interviewed health professionals and toured local oncology clinics and hospital units.

“Our investigation led us to believe there is a real need for this in Rockford,” says Karen Moore, a member of the founding committee. “No one is providing the spectrum of services we feel are necessary on an ongoing basis, and the need is growing.”

The organization achieved 501(c)(3) status in 2009 and is funded solely through private contributions. It will work in cooperation with other local organizations, such as the American Cancer Society, which works to raise funding for cancer treatment research.

“We see and hear a lot today about collaboration, and Healing Pathways is no exception,” says Michael Abate, president of the Healing Pathways board of directors. “I’m proud to be associated with an organization that’s committed to working with other cancer support organizations and one that will provide a non-clinical environment to people who are touched by cancer, as well as their families and friends. This is truly a valuable service in this region, and I’m confident that we will see a high level of support both emotionally and financially.”

Along with Abate, the Healing Pathways board of directors includes Joe Arco, vice president; Karen Moore, second vice president; Susan Maher, secretary; Karen Jasper, treasurer; Paul Anthony Arco; Tracy Beard; Estelle Black; Bruce D. Kincaid; Jennifer Lungstrom; Laura Padron; Janine Pumilia; Matt Ryon; and Carma Yoder.

For further information, or to make a financial donation, visit www.healingpathwayscrc.org; e-mail info@healingpathwayscrc.org; or call the Healing Pathways business office at (815) 395-5649.

From the March 17-23, 2010 issue

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