Month: July 2011

Regina’s Life Lesson #18: Be Who You Want to be and do What You Want to do

Dianne May, President and CEO

Between now and our Annual Tribute Dinner on October 13, our employees, volunteers and clients will share some thoughts and reflections on Regina Brett’s life lessons. Don’t forget, Regina will be our speaker at this year’s dinner.

Cancer Services of Northeast Indiana President and CEO, Dianne May shares her thoughts on why people should be who they want to be and do what they want to do.

“I’ve noticed recently that there seems to be a shift in how people identify themselves. Just a decade ago, people were more inclined to describe themselves in terms of their employment, ‘I’m a teacher… I work for the power company… I’m a police officer… I’m a waitress…’

Now, I hear people say, ‘I’m a photographer and an attorney… I’m an artist and a sales rep…’ I admit the old-school part of me keys first on the employment element, but I like knowing the other piece too. The passion identity. Most of us have one and some of us understand it more clearly than others.

Embrace your passion identity. Not sure you have one? Then set about finding it. Want to be a writer? Then write. Do you love music? Then immerse yourself in music. Do you love parenting? Then share your experience and skills with others.

I’m Dianne, I’m a writer and I run a not for profit organization.”

~ Dianne May, President and CEO

Pool Party at the YMCA

The Jorgensen YMCA opened its doors to 35 of Cancer Services’ child clients on July 17 for a pool party. The children, along with their parents and siblings, enjoyed their time flying down the waterslide, playing ping pong and video games, and eating donated cakes and treats.

“The kids had a blast,” Leah Kneubuhler, Cancer Services child advocate, said. “This was an opportunity for the kids to just be kids and forget about their diagnoses and have fun. The families were able to meet one another, and overall, spend some quality time together.”

Regina’s Life Lesson #16: Enough with the Pity Party…Start Living

Between now and October 13, our employees, volunteers and clients will share some of their thoughts and reflections on Regina Brett’s life lessons. Today, board member Gayle Bloom and staff member Linda Bewley share their thoughts on “throwing pity parties to the curb and finding the joys in life.”

Board member Gayle Bloom

“After being diagnosed with breast cancer 8 years ago, my oncologist said something very interesting that became my life position… she said ‘live your life.’ That was her answer when I asked ‘why me?’ She also said to live with fear and anxiety each day would be to ‘not live your life.’

It was some of the best advice I was given. The journey was much more palatable with this positive life lesson.”

~ Gayle Bloom, board member

From right to left: Laura and Linda Bewley

“After receiving a cancer diagnosis, I must admit I spent some time having a pity party — why me? I try to do everything right! My husband and I have little kids to raise! I haven’t done all I wanted to do yet!! Then, one day, as I was sitting watching my children laughing and playing, two important things hit me: first, this attitude was causing me to miss out on the joys of living, and second, I certainly wasn’t ready to get busy dying.”

~ Linda Bewley, 20 year survivor and staff member

Pink Day at Neuhouser – July 30

Neuhouser Garden and Gifts and Neuhouser Nursery plan to host Pink Day at both locations on Saturday, July 30 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Five percent of the day’s sales will be donated to Cancer Services of Northeast Indiana.

Throughout the day, raffle drawings will occur approximately every half hour with a grand prize reward of $100 gift certificates for Neuhouser. DJ’s will play music from 1-5 p.m. while Neuhouser collects items for Hope in a Handbag.

Neuhouser will accept Hanes brand three or five per pack men’s 100% cotton, large, sleeveless undershirts, Cottonelle or Scott pre-moistened flushable wipes, individual rolls of assorted fruit Life Savers, blank note cards, books of first class stamps and lip balms for each handbag. Customers bringing in any of these items will receive a $5 Neuhouser gift card to use anytime after August 1.

Along with collecting items and donations, Neuhouser’s also will sell “Invincible Spirit” Hydrangeas at a special price of $49.95. For each plant of the day purchased, an additional $1 will be donated to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

The event will take place at both locations. Neuhouser Garden and Gifts located at 4605 W. Jefferson Blvd. and Neuhouser Nursery located at 8046 Stellhorn Road.

Regina’s Life Lesson #12: It’s ok to Let Your Children See You Cry

Today, volunteer Lynette Fager and Client Advocate Denise Glasser share their thoughts on Regina Brett’s Life Lesson #12: It’s ok to let your children see you cry.

Lynette and her mother

“My mother isn’t one to cry often. In fact, in my 24 years, I have seen her cry very little, and never for herself. But the day she told us she had been diagnosed with breast cancer, I saw her cry — for herself, for her husband, and for her three children and two grandchildren. But instead of scaring us, as she feared her tears would, they drew us closer together as a family. Instead of seeing her tears as a weakness, we saw them as a sign of her love for her family and her zeal for life!

My mother is a beautiful woman who battled bravely against breast cancer and won! She met each obstacle in her path with a can-do attitude. But if it hadn’t been for her tears, her children might not have understood just what that journey meant to her, and to us. When mom cried, we knew how much she needed us! It was not only OK for my mom to let us see her cry; it was an important part of our journey with her. ”

~ Lynette Fager, volunteer

“I have to admit to being a tender-hearted soul. For years, I tried to pretend otherwise. I thought showing emotions meant I was a weak person and that other people would see me as vulnerable and not able to take care of myself — let alone help others. It is amazing how that has all changed.

My dad died 7 years ago when my oldest child was 5 years old. I tried to be strong for everyone, so I did most of my crying in the bathroom after everyone else was in bed. What I didn’t know was that my 5 year old son was coming downstairs and heard me crying through the door. I don’t know how long this went on until one day he told me he was scared. He knew something was wrong and thought I was sick, like grandpa. I had to tell him the truth about how I was very sad about my dad dying and what he was hearing was me crying. He told me he was sad too and asked if he could come to the bathroom with me and cry too.

With that comment, he reminded me that I wasn’t alone in my grief and that hiding in a bathroom is no way to deal with emotions — mine or my child’s. Through sharing my tears with my son, I not only received comfort and gave comfort, I also showed my son that it’s a good thing to be honest about your feelings.”

~ Denise Glasser, client advocate

Remain Cool and Safe During These Hot Summer Days

by Brandon Bower, Client Advocate

It’s hot out there! When my mom was dealing with her bout with cancer, the Dr. warned us about excessive heat. He said that those who have a weakened immune system, those on medications, or those who have recently had surgery are more prone to heat stroke and heat exhaustion.

He advised my mom to stay out of the sun, and if she had to go outside, to stay in the shade and take an umbrella for additional protection from the sun. He recommended that she drink 5-7 bottles of water per day and to eat smaller meals throughout the day. He also strongly suggested that she stay inside in an air-conditioned environment.

This advice is a good reminder for all of us during these dog days of summer. Remember to check on those you love, offer them a chance to hang out in your air-conditioned house if they don’t have access to air-conditioning, or locate your local county cooling centers.

Remember, any medication can intensify the effects of the heat, so check with your doctor to see the best ways to cope with the heat while on medication. Cancer Services wants you to remain cool and safe during these hot summer days.


Regina’s life lesson #6: You don’t have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.

Susan Swardenski, Cancer Services volunteer

Volunteer Susan Swardenski shares her thoughts on Regina Brett’s life lesson: know when to agree to disagree.

“For nearly 50 years, my one remaining sister and I did not get along, so a lot of valuable time that we could have been sharing was lost. Seven years ago, we were attending a family funeral in our home town of Concord, Massachusetts for our last two uncles (who died 1 day apart), and it struck me that we were the only immediate family members left.

So I decided to make the first move towards reconciliation. In the past, when we did talk, it always ended in an argument, so years would go by without communication. I had figured out the problem was that each of us needed to have the last word. I suggested we try to change this and just love and support each other. To accomplish this, we would have to agree to disagree.

To my surprise, she readily agreed, and we have become very close over the years — visiting each other, taking trips together, and most of all, enjoying being real sisters. What a blessing to have each other… how sad that we missed so much time together.”

~Susan Swardenski, volunteer

Regina’s Life Lesson #5: Pay off your credit cards every month

Cheryl Dafforn, staff member

Between now and October 13, our employees, volunteers and clients will share some of our thoughts and reflections in regards to Regina Brett’s life lessons. Today, volunteer coordinator Cheryl Dafforn shares her thoughts on “paying off your credit card every month.”

“My father always said it was fine to use your credit card as long as you pay it off when the bill comes each month. That is easier said than done when you are young and living paycheck to paycheck. You never plan on the car breaking down or that emergency room visit.

After many years of playing the credit card shuffle, it is so nice to say I am living one of my father’s ‘life lessons.’ Now that I am older and have paid off my credit cards, I am able to put money aside for those unexpected things in life. I no longer dread getting my bill in the mail and love the satisfaction that comes from paying my bill in full.

I can just see dad looking over my shoulder smiling with great pride that his little girl is following one of his many life lessons.”

~Cheryl Dafforn, staff member

Colors Galore at Fort Wayne Museum of Art’s Annual Chalk Walk

Sidewalks exploded to life with vibrant colors this past weekend at the Chalk Walk hosted by the Fort Wayne Museum of Art. Local artists, friends and familes came out to participate in the event.

Cancer Services had the honor of sponsoring a 8’x8′ sidewalk square for the event. Nick Sprunger was the local artist who came out and drew a breath-taking image of a waterfall flowing down the side of a mountain. Thank you Nick for making our square look beautiful and for all the hard work you put into your artwork.

Thank you also to the Fort Wayne Museum of Art for allowing us to be a part of the day’s festivities.

Regina’s Life Lesson #2: When in doubt, just take the next small step

Continuing on our journey through Regina Brett’s life lessons in preparation for her appearance at our Tribute Dinner on October 13, Cancer Services’ Program Director Gail Hamm and board member Randy Roberts share their thoughts on “whenever you’re in doubt, just take the next small step.”

“Whether it’s walking through your living room some night without turning on a light, or walking through Grandma’s dark & dusty chicken coop, it’s good advice to just take the next small step. The next step keeps you moving toward your goal. The small step keeps you from striding into unwanted hard objects or weird soft globs, both of which can ruin your day!

The same advice is useful when it comes to a diagnosis of cancer, or the possibility of a cancer diagnosis. It’s helpful to not get too far ahead of yourself and worry about what might never be. Take small, purposeful steps toward finding out IF you have cancer, then the next small step to explore your treatment options. The journey may be long, but the goal be will achieved through the next small step…” ~Gail Hamm, program director

“As the years add up and my running becomes shorter/harder I concluded the best way to finish is to not stop. This applies to much of life.” ~Randy Roberts, board member