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Annual Tribute Dinner- Save the Date 10/13/11

Each year, Cancer Services host its Tribute Dinner, which is an evening designed to provide our community an opportunity to pause, treasure the memories of people who have been touched by cancer, and pay tribute to them, whether a cancer survivor, caregiver, physician or lost loved one. Please mark your calendars for our annual Tribute Dinner, which will take place on Thursday, October 13, 2011. This year’s theme is “Navigating Life’s Detours” and includes a chance to share memories with family and friends, and enjoy a nice dinner and entertainment.

We are pleased to welcome Regina Brett as this year’s speaker. Regina is a columnist for The Plain Dealer in Cleveland, OH; author of “God Never Blinks: 50 Lessons for Life’s Little Detours;” and breast cancer survivor. Her book is an inspirational collection of essays and stories about the lessons life taught her along the detours of life. She was named a Pulitzer Prize finalist twice, in 2009 and 2008 for columns she wrote for The Plain Dealer.

For more information, contact Amber Recker at (260) 484-9560 or

Thank You Eagles Auxiliary

Barbara Lemon and JoEllen Hueber co-chaired a St. Patrick’s Day fundraiser in honor of Cancer Services of Northeast Indiana on March 12, 2011. The two women are current members of the Fraternal Order of Eagles Ladies Auxiliary 1906 of Columbia City, Ind. Several of the women from the Auxiliary are widows and wives of husbands who survived cancer and received assistance from CSNI.

In all, the Eagles Auxiliary 1906 of Columbia City, Ind. donated $600 to CSNI and voted to continue donating to CSNI. CSNI would like to thank these ladies for their thoughtful contribution and support of the CSNI mission.

Amber Recker, CSNI development director, receives donation from Eagles Auxillary 1906 of Columbia City, Ind.

One Random Act of Kindness, Huge Impact

by Gail Hamm, program director

Random acts of kindness are just that- random, arbitrary, subject to chance; as well as benevolent, kind, and caring. It’s a stretch to say that cancer is a random act of kindness, but I suppose that argument could be made. Chance? Luck of the draw? Yes, chance may play a part in whether or not you get cancer. Kindness? Certainly a diagnosis of cancer captures our attention, and cancer may cause us to appreciate life all the more, but I believe that few would say that cancer is kind.

Yet people with cancer may use the experience to make a difference in someone else’s life. I want to share a secret with you. There is an Anonymous Donor (I’ll call AD) in our midst. This person is a client of Cancer Services of Northeast Indiana. Every time AD comes in and obtains a case of nutritional drink, AD purchases a case for the next person who cannot afford to buy their own.

It’s a great surprise to that next client, to find out that just by chance, a stranger has provided for them. It makes a difference to that second client and brightens their day. I’m sure it does the same for AD, too. One random act of kindness. Two people blessed.

Volunteer Spotlight: Bill Seidel

Bill Seidel facilitates the “Us Too” Prostate Cancer Support Group, as well as the Advanced Prostate Cancer Discussion Group at Cancer Services. During their regular meetings, he spends countless hours providing encouragement and support to hundreds of men with prostate cancer. As part of his work with the support groups, Bill recognized the need for a caregivers’ support group for spouses and partners of men with prostate cancer. He and his wife, Laine, initiated this group in March of 2009. He also networks at a national level with prostate cancer research and support groups and stays informed about the latest research and advocacy issues, bringing that insight back to Cancer Services to help his support group attendees.

In addition to his volunteer work with the support groups, Bill dedicates his time towards programs like Cancer Services’ Tie 1 On 4 Prostate Cancer Campaign, which focuses on spreading the word about prostate cancer in Northeast Indiana. He pulled together a team of volunteers who would be willing to make the campaign a success, and also conceptualized a design for the displays, which consist of two wooden cut out ties and a banner hanging in the middle promoting prostate cancer awareness. He and his team of volunteers distributed the large displays throughout northeast Indiana during September, which is Prostate Awareness Month, but he didn’t stop there. He also wanted to provide an opportunity for men and their families to get together, learn more about this disease, and ask questions. On September 18, 2010, Cancer Services hosted Tie 1 on 4 Prostate Cancer Seminar. It featured presentations on recent developments and advanced treatments, maintaining and enhancing men’s sexual health, the role of nutrition in preventing and fighting prostate cancer, and exercise. Bill’s leadership was instrumental in locating quality speakers and securing funding. He handled publicity through various media organizations, and led his team of inexperienced but willing prostate cancer survivors to accomplish this goal.

Bill accomplished so much in a very short time as a volunteer for Cancer Services. He regularly donates approximately twenty hours per month, but during the months of planning Tie 1 On, he put in fifty to seventy hours. We are grateful for his commitment to our organization and we cannot thank him enough.

The Governor’s Award for Volunteer Service recognizes people who have voluntarily contributed time and talent to the betterment of their communities. It is our honor to have nominated Bill Seidel for this award for his dedication and commitment to Cancer Services of Northeast Indiana.

Former Client Donates 31 Wigs to Wig Salon

Debra Brown came to Cancer Services of Northeast Indiana as a client and now volunteers to help CSNI find new supplies. During her cancer journey, she wanted to boost her spirits and decided to borrow a wig from CSNI’s wig salon. She was surprised when she discovered that the salon had only two wigs for African American women. Debra took the initiative and with the approval of Cancer Services, she asked area churches and friends to donate any wigs. So far, she has collected 31, but she hopes to collect 100 in all.

Debra works as a computer coordinator at the Fort Wayne Urban League. She also triumphed over her bout of cancer.

Debra Brown initiates wig drive and collects 31 wigs to donate to CSNI.

CSNI friend develops a BIG IDEA

Michele DeVinney does not particularly enjoy running, but she “does it anyway.” Michele is a friend of the organization and volunteers by writing articles for our newsletter. She and her boyfriend Mike recently finished a half-marathon in September 2010 at the Fort4Fitness in Fort Wayne, Ind. After they finished the race, Michele felt relieved knowing the race was over, but said she would enjoy running a longer race next year.

With the encouragement of her boyfriend, Michele decided to run the Chicago marathon in October 2011. Two other members of her family, her brother Rob and niece Shannon, also hopped on board and are training for the marathon coming up in October.

Michele feels grateful to know she comes from a healthy family and has never encountered life-threatening illnesses. Unfortunately, some of Michele’s friends have experienced grave illnesses. She admires how her friends have so much happiness and the extent to how much they value life.

As a tribute to her friends with these life-threatening illnesses, Michele plans to partner with Cancer Services of Northeast Indiana in an effort to use her Chicago marathon experience as a fundraiser to fund and support the CSNI mission.

To read Michele’s blog and support her vision, visit

The Importance of Communication

by Dianne May, president & CEO

There are many reasons to communicate with another person. Most fall into one of three categories. We need someone to help us accomplish something; maybe do a favor for us or help us get something we need. Sometimes we need another person to know something about us or understand us in a particular way. And sometimes our communication is about maintaining a connection or changing our relationship with another person. All of these goals are valid.

Human relationships can be complicated and facing a life-threatening disease like cancer can simultaneously help us focus: “I can’t think about anything other than getting well again” and overwhelm us: “there is so much to take in, I don’t know what to do next.” Whichever position you find yourself in, don’t stop communicating. Your family and friends need to know what you need from them and they want to understand how you are feeling. Your medical team wants to maintain clear channels of communication and sometimes you will need to find the words to tell someone that right now you need to focus on your own situation.

The client advocates at Cancer Services of Northeast Indiana can be good sounding boards, letting you test out the words and ways you want to communicate with someone important. That’s why we’re here—so no one has to walk the cancer journey alone.

Re-Energize is back!

Re-energize is back! This program provides clients and caregivers a chance to partake in a light exercise class based on the participant’s abilities. Re-energize starts Tuesday, July 5.

Re-energize meets every Tuesday and Thursday from 5:30 – 6:30 p.m. under the direction of Courtney Berger at the Cancer Services of Northeast Indiana building located at 6316 Mutual Drive, Fort Wayne, Ind. 46825.

Here are some quotes from previous participants:

“[Re-energize is] good…I look forward to being here!”

“ Exercise [is] fun! …..[ Due to re-Energize!, I] could bend and move freely…keep my balance better…”

Previous session of Re-energize.

Cancer Services’ Lapper 2011 Raised Over $55,000

On Saturday, May 21, we hosted our 9th Annual Lapper. This year, over 500 participants helped raise over $55,000, and since its inception, the event has raised over $150,000. These funds provide financial assistance, medical equipment, emotional support, transportation assistance and health supplies to people with cancer and their families in Northeast Indiana.

Lapper founder Jill Burnett designed Lapper to honor and memorialize those touched by cancer. When Burnett first organized this event 9 years ago, she encouraged people to test their own endurance and push past their comfort zone just as people with cancer do every day. The tradition continues today, and each Lapper participant walks as many laps around the paved two-mile trail at Foster Park as they can.

Immediately following Lapper, participants and community members attended the annual Survivors Day celebration. Attendees enjoyed music, food and entertainment for the entire family.

Participants get ready for Lapper walk.

The walk begins.

Participants celebrate Survivors Day after Lapper walk.

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