A Little Time and a Keyboard: Northbrook’s Cancer Wellness Center Raises Vital Funds During Stepping Up to Wellness

Friday, May 14, 2021

Northbrook’s Cancer Wellness Center Raises Vital Funds During Stepping Up to Wellness

 Northbrook’s Cancer Wellness Center Raises Vital Funds During Stepping Up to Wellness

Held Virtually in 2021, Stepping Up to Wellness Included 380 Participants and 55 Teams Raising Over $154,000 so Far!

Recently, I spoke to Doris Downing, Director of Development of the Cancer Wellness Center in  Northbrook, Illinois, about the services the center provides as well as the recent fundraiser Stepping Up to Wellness. I am thrilled to share more about this important nonprofit helping so many families during some of the most difficult times of their lives.

Founded in 1989 by three friends touched by cancer in their lives, the Cancer Wellness Center has created a place for those facing cancer and their caregivers to find crucial support. Cancer Wellness Center’s blend of educational workshops, lectures, wellness programs and access to therapists offers a range of support to those facing every stage of cancer as well as their families and caregivers. All of these programs are offered free of charge to the community providing vital resources during a great time of need.

Cancer Wellness Center provides vital resources and programs to those facing cancer and their families including support groups. Image credit Cancer Wellness Center.
Cancer Wellness Center provides vital resources and programs to those facing cancer
and their families including support groups. Image credit Cancer Wellness Center.


How has the pandemic affected Cancer Wellness Center?

The COVID pandemic did present unique challenges for Cancer Wellness Center. The population the center serves already is immunocompromised. So, while the crucial importance of providing programs remained, taking into account the seriousness of COVID and the potential effects on those the center serves emerged as a roadblock. So, the doors of the center did have to close. However, the center was able to move many programs to a virtual format thus maintaining consistency in offering services.

Cancer Wellness Center did find a positive aspect to moving programs online. More people participated including those that maybe otherwise would not have been able to make it to the center as well as those that live in underserved rural areas.  I think this so much speaks to what so many of us have learned during this challenging period – that through adapting we have actually been able to reach more people than in the past particularly those that did not have access to resources pre-COVID.  Additionally, being able to keep these important programs going in some form provided stability of support to cancer patients. As we start to enter a new phase with COVID and the Cancer Wellness Center looks to open its doors once again, they believe they will continue some hybrid of in person and online programs in the future.

This year Stepping Up to Wellness has raised $154,424.24 so far! Donations will be accepted through the end of May. Image credit Cancer Wellness Center.
This year Stepping Up to Wellness has raised $154,424.24 so far! Donations will be accepted through the end of May. Image credit Cancer Wellness Center.

Stepping Up to Wellness Virtual Run/Walk

Funding for the Cancer Wellness Center comes from individual donors, grants and foundations. The Center does not receive government funding. So, fundraising is essential to generating funding for services. Several fundraising events throughout the year help to keep programs available to the community. One event is Stepping Up to Wellness which was held virtually this year on April 25, 2021! Stepping Up to Wellness typically features a 5K walk/run. With going virtual this year, participants could participate in the race anywhere running or walking any distance.


Fifty-five teams and 380 walker/runners participated in the 2021 Stepping Up to Wellness.
Image courtesy of Cancer Wellness Center

The ability to participate far and wide added a wonderful element to this year’s annual fundraiser.  Family members and friends were able to participate no matter how many miles may be in between them. I think this created a fantastic ways that supporters could bolster patients and the Center no matter the distance. Participants as far as California, Canada and even Qatar joined in. Over 380 people registered for this year’s event. Cancer Wellness Center has a goal of $160,000 to be raised during this event. Currently, over $154,000 has been raised. So, they are closing in on that goal. Donations for this event will be accepted until the end of May.

What is a service offered by Cancer Wellness Center that the public may not know about?

Doris shared with me how much of an important role nutrition plays for those at all stages of cancer. One program that is popular but the public may not know too much about is Weight Loss for Wellness. The program incorporates the expertise of Oncology Dietitian Lori Bumbaco and Wellness Program Coordinator Deborah Kronenberger. Weight Loss for Wellness addresses weight gain both during and post treatment. This program helps participants navigate the effects of chemo, sleeping and eating on their weight gain and chart a path of wellness.

Cancer Wellness Center was able to move many programs online during the pandemic including its nutritional programming. Image credit Cancer Wellness Center.
Cancer Wellness Center was able to move many programs online during the pandemic including its nutritional programming. Image credit Cancer Wellness Center.

How you can help:

I am so incredibly impressed and moved by all of the services Cancer Wellness Center offers. All of us have been touched by cancer in some shape and form. Making donations goes very far with helping the Cancer Wellness Center including donating to Stepping Up to Wellness. Other events include a Better Together gala in the fall, a golf outing and more. However, it is important to remember that donations are accepted and needed all year long. As we move forward and start reopening, volunteer opportunities may open up including greeting guests, data entry and more.

I thank Doris Downing so much for discussing Cancer Wellness Center with me. The Cancer Wellness Center supplies so many important resources to fellow community members in a great time of need. Consider donating, spreading the word about Cancer Wellness Center and even volunteering to help this fantastic organization support those in our community fighting cancer.

**Disclosure: No compensation was received for this post. All opinions are 100% my own.

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