I often meet cancer survivors who have a passion to help those walking the cancer journey. They feel they have learned so much through their experience they can make someone else’s experience a little easier.
For Cancer Services of Northeast Indiana that passion to share information happens on a corporate level too. We often network with sister organizations to share ideas and find better ways to care for people with cancer on a community level. That’s why it was a real joy last fall to meet Regina Brett, a writer, cancer survivor and volunteer with The Gathering Place in Cleveland, Ohio.
Regina visited Cancer Services before speaking at our fall dinner. She said lots of nice things during her visit, but she was bowled over when she stepped into the wig salon. Tears welled up in her eyes as memories about her own experience came flooding back. Then her survivor passion kicked in. She decided before leaving Fort Wayne that she had to help her local organization create a wig salon.
They are well on their way to providing wigs for women with cancer in Cleveland. Read about her story here: The Gathering Place Launches Wig-Lending Program
On Thursday, October 13, guests joined us for our 7th Annual Tribute Dinner at the Marquis Ballroom at the Fort Wayne Marriott. This year’s event, “Navigating Life’s Detours”, offered 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. In addition to quality time spent with family and friends, guests were entertained and inspired by guest speaker Regina Brett, best-selling author and cancer survivor. Regina shared the story of her own cancer journey through her 50 Life Lessons, which appear in her book “God Never Blinks: 50 Lessons for Life’s Little Details.” She made us laugh and she made us cry, but mostly she instilled in us the hope that the best is yet to come, no matter where we are on life’s journey.
Last year, we unveiled the William A. Kunkel III Champion of Hope award, which was created to recognize an individual, family or business that embodies the mission of Cancer Services through a lifelong commitment to enhancing the quality of life of those affected by cancer in Northeast Indiana. The recipient of the Champion of Hope Award demonstrates an unparalleled devotion to the organization as a volunteer, advocate, friend and companion, leading by example and exhibiting unwavering compassion. Last year’s award went to its namesake, Bill Kunkel.
We were pleased to announce the selection of Jim and Adda Jane Wiegman as the recipients of this year’s Champion of Hope award and we honored them at the dinner. Jim and Adda Jane have made significant contributions to our community as volunteers and co‐founders of the US TOO support group for men with prostate cancer and their partners. Since its debut in 1992, US TOO has held more than 200 monthly meetings providing men and their partners a safe place to talk about their health and well‐being. Jim and Adda Jane have dedicated much of their time to US TOO, and in return they have become a source of comfort and information for hundreds of men and women throughout our community. Jim and Adda Jane served many years as volunteers with the Scotts/Kroger Cancer Day, bagging groceries and helping at the golf outing. They have given financial support to Cancer Services and been a foundation for inspiration to staff and volunteers alike, always offering their help. These two Champions of Hope have had positive impacts on the quality of life of so many friends and neighbors through their very own message of hope.
In just under a month, we will have the opportunity to welcome guest speaker Regina Brett to the Annual Tribute Dinner on October 13, as she shares her 50 life lessons to navigate life’s detours.
As an outreach coordinator for Cancer Services, Linda Bewley advises us to be assertive and ask for support without being afraid of the answer, ‘no’.
“Working in the non-profit world is a lesson in itself. I used to be very uncomfortable asking for things— What if it makes people mad? What if they say no? How do I respond? Once I started working at CSNI and saw all the good it did for people with cancer, I became emboldened. This is a non-profit organization, it relies on the kindness and largess of others, so my job became twofold. First, I needed to educate people on what goes on here and all the good that we do, and secondly, to ask for support. I quickly learned that many people are waiting to be asked! Who knew?? We are always looking for volunteers to help with a myriad of things, donations to our fund-raising auction, tickets to our tribute dinner, walkers at our annual Lapper walk, organizing third party fundraisers, the list goes on and on. And even if they did say no, I came away with the knowledge that now they were at least aware of CSNI and it’s mission. So, go ahead and ask, you’d be surprised at how many times you get.” ~Linda Bewley, Outreach Coordinator
As we prepare for the upcoming Annual Tribute Dinner on Thursday, October 13, Client Advocate Brandon Bower, shares his personal experiences on Regina’s Life Lesson #42: Get rid of anything that isn’t useful, beautiful or joyful.
“You’ve heard the story about the couple who retired and lived the remainder of their lives collecting stuff. . . whether it was glassware, seashells or Christmas decorations. ‘It’s the American Dream!’ they say, today people spend millions of dollars on stuff.
Several things have happened recently that has convinced me about our stuff. Please don’t get me wrong, we’re not hoarders, but we have stuff. It feels that all of our time and attention goes to keeping our stuff clean, orderly and repaired. The things that really matter get put aside so we can take care of our stuff, it’s not right.
Just a few months ago, a wealthy acquaintance passed away and left nothing but old, tattered stuff. It was a sad ending to his life, but how much more could he have done in life? Just after that happened, I helped some family friends move and they had 28 plus years of stuff. It was obvious that they loved their stuff, and it was also obvious that their stuff had taken over their lives. Their precious stuff was collecting dust and mold in storage, yet they couldn’t part with it.
Let’s fight against the urge to gather stuff. . . get rid of it! If you don’t use it, pass it on or sell it and put that money to good use. Don’t spend your life chasing stuff because in the end, that is all you will leave behind.” ~Brandon Bower, Client Advocate
As the Tribute Dinner on October 13th rapidly approaches, we wanted to continue in sharing reflections of personal life lessons provided by board members, volunteers and staff of Cancer Services.
Tickets for this event may be purchased online here, at the Cancer Services office or by mail. Give Amber a call at 260 (484)-9560 for more information.
Marcia Reynolds, Finance Assistant of Cancer Services, offers her guidance on feeling alive and taking advantage of all the experiences life has to offer!
“A friend recently told me this joke: A husband said to his wife, ‘Honey, if I’m ever in a vegetative state, really just not aware of anything or anyone around me, just pull the plug.’ So, his wife went over and turned off the T.V.
While funny, this joke really hits home. In fact, I just had this conversation with my son who is leaving for college this fall. I told him he will be in an environment where he will have opportunities to experience so many new and different things. But I feared that too often he may choose to stay in his dorm room and take it easy, or play his video games! I wanted to make sure that he lived life rather than just living. With all of today’s technology, it is so easy to forget that getting up and out is what makes us feel alive.” ~ Marcia Reynolds, Finance Assistance
Continuing our life lessons series as we gear up for the Tribute Dinner on October 13, board member Jeff Hamilton shares his reaction to “miracles are everywhere.”
“I believe we can be that miracle waiting to happen. You never know when a small gesture, a kind smile, or a helping hand will be the miracle to someone in need. Miracles come in all shapes and sizes, they happen all around us, and they are often unseen as we plow through our daily to-do list. So“get outside everyday not only to see the miracles, but who knows, on any given day, you may be the miracle to someone.” ~Jeff Hamilton, board member
This morning, program director Gail Hamm shares her thoughts on Regina Brett’s Life Lesson #41: If we threw all of our problems in a pile and saw everyone else’s, we’d grab ours back.
Don’t forget, Regina will be the guest speaker at the Annual Tribute Dinner on Thursday, October 13. You can purchase tickets online HERE, at our office during normal office hours, or by mail. Give Amber a call at 484-9560 for more information.
“Too often, as we bemoan our life, we look around and it seems as though the lives of others are so much easier…that they haven’t a care in the world. But the truth is, we do a pretty good job hiding our real selves from others. Just because we don’t share the truth about soured relationships, mental health concerns, financial worries, health fears, children’s issues, and other anxieties, does not mean that they don’t exist. I may not be happy with my problems, but I certainly don’t want to switch with anyone else. I’m used to my baggage and am not ready to take a chance on someone else’s. I’m reminded of the person who thinks that the grass is always greener on the other side. It’s easy to be fooled by what we cannot see.” ~Gail Hamm, program director
by Gail Hamm, program director
This morning, I want to reflect on one of Regina Brett’s Life Lessons: Always choose life. I’d like to change the word from “life” to “living”. I say this because it’s so easy to stop living while still being alive. By that I mean going through the motions as if one is living, but not really being engaged or conscious or aware of each moment. This often occurs because of trauma, which causes a person to become stuck in time. Having a loved one die, being diagnosed with a terminal illness, or being traumatized through an accident or military experience are examples of incidents which can cause “stuckness”. There is so much to experience in life, and time is so short, that it’s really a great waste of human potential when a person stops living each moment. We have a tag line here at Cancer Services: count moments count moments count moments count moments. It can be read as count moments or moments count. “Always choose life” means that moments count, so don’t miss them!
October 13 is right around the corner. Have you purchased your ticket yet for this year’s Tribute Dinner? If not, tickets are now available online by going to our website, cancer-services.org.
This year’s Tribute Dinner, Navigating Life’s Detours, will take place at the Marquis Ballroom at the Fort Wayne Marriott.
This signature event offers 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. The evening 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.
“Navigating Life’s Detours will be an exciting event for Cancer Services of Northeast Indiana and our community,” say Janet Stephenson, board chair for CSNI. “Regina is an excellent storyteller- thoughtful, with humor and insights into life’s journey. She is a cancer survivor and as Regina would say, she knows what it means to have life change at the blink of an eye. No doubt, we can all benefit from the inspiration and encouragement this special evening offers.”
There are several ways to take part in the event, 1- Host a table for your friends and family members, 2- Organize a group of your friends or family members to all contribute to host a table, or 3- Purchase an individual ticket and join other Cancer Services supporters for an evening of fine dining and top-notch entertainment.
Our Program Director, Gail Hamm, reflects on Regina’s life lesson #21: Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don’t save it for a special occasion. Today is special.
“Those who know me, will find it ironic that I chose this statement to write about this morning. I’m a saver. I rarely throw anything away that I think I might need later. My colleagues laugh, but on more than one occasion, I have retrieved important emails from my archives to assist their efforts.
I knew I was a saver as a small child, when I received a craft project for Christmas and wouldn’t ‘use it up’. As I grew older, I watched others who were savers. When my paternal grandmother died, her closet contained a fair number of dresses with the tags still on them. What a shame she never wore them. I made the decision that I’d start ‘using up’ my possessions. I used up my wedding china and later sets of dishes. I used up candles. There are no nice sheets waiting to be used, nor fancy lingerie, either.
Special occasions happen each day that I am alive, and there is great pleasure in being able to ‘use up’ possessions today. The art paper so carefully stored away can create an even more beautiful object by being used, rather than just lying in the drawer. So burn those candles, use the nice sheets and wear the fancy lingerie! Don’t save them for special occasions. Today is special!”