Month: January 2012

Casting for Recovery and Cancer Services informational session Tuesday, February 21

Casting for Recovery and Cancer Services will present information regarding their programs at the Conquering Breast Cancer support group on Tuesday, February 21, starting at 6:30 pm. The group meets at Parkview Comprehensive Cancer Center, 11141 Parkview Plaza Drive, Entrance #4.

Casting for Recovery is a non-profit support and educational program for breast cancer survivors. Women of all ages are invited to attend the fly-fishing, outdoor retreats at no cost. The organization provides counseling and medical education and incorporates fly-fishing to promote physical and emotional healing. Retreats are two-and-a-half day events and take place May 18-20 and September 28-30. For more information, visit

Following the Casting for Recovery presentation at 7:00pm, Gail Hamm, program director for Cancer Services, will present “Cancer Services-Programs You Won’t Want to Miss!”


Volunteer Profile: Artist Turned Volunteer- Arlene Dennis

by Michele DeVinney

Picking up creative hobbies is one of life’s pleasures once your kids have grown and one has a little extra time to enjoy the artistic process. While this has proven true for Arlene Davis, a woman who enjoys everything from making quilts for her grandchildren to working on her embroidery machine, that urge has taken an unexpected turn. In recent years, she’s found a way to use her talents to contribute to Cancer Services of Northeast Indiana along the way.

When a friend of hers was diagnosed with cancer and benefited from the organization, Arlene learned of a need for someone who made cards. She had already been making greeting cards for all occasions by stamping, but the stamps, many of which included quotes and sayings, weren’t exactly what Cancer Services were looking for. Arlene first looked to a program held at a downtown church, finding the woman who was teaching it was painting the cards – something Arlene immediately knew she would not be able to do.

“She was painting pictures of flowers – and they looked like flowers. I knew there was no way I could paint a picture. This woman who was demonstrating was fabulous so I almost decided there and then to give up the whole idea.”

But before she could give up entirely, she was given a couple scraps of paper and told to go home and make something. Given that challenge, the world quickly opened up to her and with the help of some paper and ribbon, Arlene was soon producing the beautiful cards found at Cancer Services. She has proven prolific, as well, generating 100-200 at a time and more than a couple thousand so far.

“I don’t keep track of them, I just make them. It’s a good tension reliever, and I enjoy sitting down and doing it during the evenings or during the day. I sometimes do it with a CD on or the TV on – or with nothing on at all. When I see Linda and she gives me the empty cards, I usually say ‘Is that all you got?’ But then I get to go to Michael’s for paper.”

With her friend now in remission, Arlene is nonchalant about her contributions to Cancer Services, simply saying “I enjoy my end of it.” But Cancer Services is grateful for the hours of time Arlene has contributed – and the joy those cards have brought to so many.

Invisible Ink… a new kind of grief therapy

by Gail Hamm, program director

Invisible Ink….a catchy and intriguing name. What a name for a bereavement group! Having already completed more than half the lessons, I can say joining this course has been a wonderful experience. It is not for the faint of heart, however. I’ve been working hard on my grief. I write to my daughter. I dig deep to unearth my feelings and put them on paper. My head and heart seek to find meaning in my experience.

Each session starts with a meditation/guided imagery. A topic is introduced and I write in the privacy of my space. If I want to share what I have written, then I do so. Otherwise, what is written remains in my notebook for only me to see. No more than 9 people are ever in the group. This keeps it small and intimate; I feel safe.

Even though I have expressed that the work at times is difficult (who likes to swim around in pain-filled feelings?), I would not want that to dissuade anyone from joining this course. You need to know ahead of time that this is for those who are ready to move on through their grief. The healthiest way to grieve is to acknowledge the loss, feel the feelings, and move through the feelings so you don’t get stuck or stay stuck. Writing is a great way to pull out feelings and give them up or give them over. We don’t forget our loved one. We transform the relationship through the catharsis of writing.

Writing helps both start, and, at times, finish conversations. Writing can help us see what has been hidden because our grief. Writing may help us find a depth to the relationship, which we were not previously aware of. I am finding that since I started my work in Invisible Ink, I am different. I am not sure I have words to explain that difference. I only know that it is so.

Join Kathy Curtis as she starts the next 9 week series of Invisible Ink on March 15, at 6:30PM. You will not regret the experience. Please call your reservation to 260-484-9560. I’d be happy to answer your questions.

Volunteer Spotlight: Cancer Services Nominates Dave Fee for Carl D. Rolfsen Stewardship Award

Yvonne and Dave Fee

By Kristin Newbauer

Each year, the Foellinger Foundation asks for nominees from the non-profit community for its Carl D. Rolfsen Stewardship Award, which recognizes outstanding board members. In order to qualify for the Award, one must demonstrate at least three of the “Ten Basic Responsibilities of Nonprofit Boards,” such as protecting assets and providing financial oversight, ensuring adequate financial resources, and ensuring effective planning.

In 2011, we nominated board member Dave Fee because of his strong leadership, active support, and service as a dedicated volunteer. Dave is a bridge builder, whether it means serving on the Executive Committee, Friends Committee, Finance Committee or on the Board, he is a critical and pragmatic thinker who expresses his opinions with a mission focus and in a manner that encourage others to be just as engaged. He serves as a standard for all board members. As a member of the Friends Committee, Dave actively invites friends and acquaintances alike to visit Cancer Services and learn about our mission and programs, while his broad skills support giving initiatives with individuals and foundations.

Dave is infectious and has a legacy effect on those members who have been privileged to serve along his side. In his leadership of finance, fund development and strategic planning, he has performed the fiduciary and governance responsibilities incumbent to an exemplary board member. His unyielding focus on the mission, dedicated service as a community ambassador, and financial oversight leadership, have produced sustained and healthy growth for Cancer Services of Northeast Indiana. His leadership has been utilized in the development of an expanded plan to include individual and corporate giving in the surrounding counties and the creation of a strategic plan with measurable targets for the next 5 years.

We could not do what we do without dedicated volunteers like Dave, and it is our great pleasure to honor him with this nomination. Thank you, Dave!

Client Story: Paying it Forward… a cancer survivor rides for a cause

Jill with her boyfriend Paul after finishing the 51-mile ride

By Lynette Fager

In 2000, the movie “Pay It Forward” hit theaters and caused a surge in the idea of repaying a kind deed with a kind deed for someone else. That idea of paying it forward is what inspired Jill Sample to raise money for Cancer Services of Northeast Indiana.

A year ago and a half ago, Jill was diagnosed with leiomyosarcoma, a rare cancer that affects smooth muscle cells. No stranger to struggles (almost 30 years ago Jill was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma), she underwent surgery to remove the cancer and today she is living a normal, healthy life. Recovery, however, wasn’t easy.

“I knew I would need a hospital bed at home after surgery,” said Jill. “A friend recommended I contact Cancer Services.”

She did and Cancer Services came to her home, set up the hospital bed and removed it when she no longer needed it.

“It was extremely helpful to my recovery,” said Jill.

Because of her experience with Cancer Services, Jill wanted to give back and on May 21, 2011, she rode in the Zoo-De-Mack, a 51-mile bike ride in Michigan. She campaigned for sponsors and raised funds and donated everything she earned—$1,500!—to Cancer Services. The five-hour ride was intense, but Jill says it was worth it!

“Cancer Services does a lot for the community and it did a lot for me, and I wanted to pay it back for the help it gave me,” said Jill.

Our Year in Review

Happy New Year! Sorry we are a bit late. It’s been a busy start to 2012.

2011 was a good year for Cancer Services. Through the generous support of individual donors, foundations and corporations, we were able to provide support and assistance to over 2,400 people with Cancer in Northeast Indiana. It warms our heart to know that those people and their families had someone to turn to in a scary and difficult time.

Here are some highlights:

Several organizations, schools and individuals hosted fundraisers for us and we cannot thank them enough. We could not do what we do without the support of our community, so thank you to Sean O’Leary, Eagle Scout; Greatbatch Medical, Basket Raffle; East Noble Swim Team, Paint the Pool Pink; East Noble and Wawassee Gymnastics, Stick it to Cancer; Central Noble High School, Basket Raffle; Jill Sample, Z00-de-Mackinac; Eagles Auxillary; Denise Buhr, Discom-BOOB-ulated; Neuhouser Garden Center, Pink Day; Amber Nelson, Birthday donation; Quadrant Foundation; Eastside High School and East Noble High, Volley for a Cure; Mitchell’s Sports Bar & Grill, Motorcycle Ride; Jaclyn Youhana, Count Moments Bracelets; Beat BC 5k; Scotts/Kroger, Cancer Day; Fort Wayne Derby Girls, Bust A Move; K105, Pickin’ for Pink; Kent Hormann, Blue Ball Open; Guardian in Ligonier; Knights of Columbus; Bishop Luers, Pink Week; Red Hot Hattitudes; Something Old Something New, Dollar Sale; Snider High School, blanket donation; Mad Ants; and 12 Bands Before Christmas.

Staff participated in National Wear Red Day in February, and several local organization and business people participated in Tie1On for Prostate Cancer.

We hosted several information and educational workshops and forums, including “Men Facing Grief“, Living with Grief, Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma, and “Cancer and the Law”, which brought in professionals and healthcare employees to learn more about these topics. We successfully launched Tai Chi and restarted re-Energize, our exercise program, and continued Caring Touch, our oncology massage program. We also launched our Social Media luncheon series, providing the opportunity for over 200 individuals and companies to learn more about social media and how to use it effectively.

In April, we were invited to be a featured charity at the Tin Caps season opener. One of our clients even got to throw out the first pitch! We also participated in this year’s Chalk Walk for the Fort Wayne Museum of Art and Fort for Fitness.

We hired a new part-time Children’s Advocate, Beth Koenemann, and had a lot of fun at Kids night with the Tin Caps, our annual pool party, and Zoo Day! We were blessed with a handful of interns, three of which shared their stories with us: Brandon, Nick and Kristin.

Two of our staff members received honors this year. Gail Hamm, program director, was named Social Worker of the year, and Amber Recker, development director, was honored at the Top 40 Under 40 Awards.

Supporters, clients, volunteers and staff came together for our three fundraisers, to enjoy sharing stories and creating a strong Cancer Services Community. Read the recaps from those events: Design on Life, Lapper, Tribute Dinner and Volunteer Appreciation Breakfast.

And, of course, we could not do what we do without the support of our army of volunteers. Read about some of them here: Viola Ramp, Bill Seidel, Susan Swardenski, Ribbon Crafters, Receptionists and mailing volunteers.

Here’s to a great 2012!