Cancer has moved in with my family, hovering over the dinner table, snatching my mother’s once hearty appetite and monopolizing her usually animated conversation. It’s a situation all too familiar to many families.
Daily life is difficult as we try to adapt to the challenges of Mother’s declining health and increased medication. There is no oncologist in the town where my parents live, and there’s limited support.
Here on the North Shore, we are more fortunate thanks to the Cancer Wellness Center. Located in Northbrook, with a satellite location for specific programs in Grayslake, the center is celebrating its 20th year of free supportive services to individuals diagnosed with cancer and their families.
The atmosphere is welcoming; the staff and volunteers are friendly and willing to be helpful in any way they can. They know that living with cancer can be confusing, frightening and lonely. They know because many of them have experienced it.
No reservations are needed for a visit. All one has to do is walk in the front door of the Barbara Kassel Brotman House, the main location in Northbrook. There is no need to commit to anything other than to look around and take in the atmosphere. Then, to learn more, you simply sign up to attend a Welcome Program, where you can talk with others who have lived with cancer.
“We try to make access to our services as barrier-free as possible,” Executive Director Nancy Laatsch says.
The comprehensive wellness programs and resources at the non-profit center include:
- a range of psychosocial and counseling programs
- a library
- networking and dedicated support groups
- educational programs
- healing exercise and creative arts activities
- opportunities to meet others who have experienced cancer
On the center’s Web site, there’s a short introductory video that gives an excellent overview of services and programs.
There is no need for North Shore families who are living with cancer to feel overwhelmed and alone. The Cancer Wellness Center is in our backyard and ready to help.