Genevaâ€”Winston Churchill said, â€œWe get to make a living; we give to make a life,â€ and that philosophy is shared by LivingWell Cancer Resource Center and its many volunteers and donors. It is because of this generosity that LivingWell can offer an extensive range of programming at no charge to cancer patients and their loved ones when going through a cancer diagnosis.
This spirit of generosity was further exemplified on May 16 at the 4th Annual Bridge Walk. One hundred-twenty teams registered for the eventâ€”1,250 walkers in totalâ€” raising more than $175,000 in support of LivingWell.
After days of raining, the sun finally came shining through the morning sky, helping to set the inspirational tone for the day. Everyone participating in the Bridge Walk was there because they had been touched by cancer in some way or another; whether they were a survivor, or had a loved one or friend afflicted with the disease. Whatever their personal reason, they all came together for this special cause.
Leading this yearâ€™s team fundraising totals with $4,585 was Lindaâ€™s Lions. Team captain, Carianne Paustian of St. Charles Family Medical Center, formed the team in honor of her co-worker and friend Linda Dall. Linda was diagnosed with breast cancer 20 years ago and won the battle. In January 2008, Linda was diagnosed again with cancer. As a friend and co-worker, Carianne wanted to do something to help.
When she asked Linda what she could do, she learned about the services of LivingWell and the Bridge Walk. Carianne knew then what she needed to do, and without hesitation, set the wheels in motion. She and her co-workers decided to form a team for the Bridge Walk, and submitted different team names to Linda.
In end she chose Lindaâ€™s Lions.
â€œLions are males and females, and she wanted everyone to join in the Walk. We were certainly going to make a big roar and everyone was going to listen!â€ she said.
Carianne began spreading the word about Lindaâ€™s Lions; she advertised the team on the bulletin board at work, posted fliers around the office, and even had the grandchild of a doctor in the practice paint the front window with the team name. What started out as co-workers, family and friends forming a team grew well beyond that.
â€œWe talked to everyone and anyone. Patients wanted to help, all of the physicians in the practice donated, and Lindaâ€™s church, St. Charles Free Methodist, got involvedâ€”we even had few corporate sponsors,â€ Carianne said.
By the date of the walk, the team had grown to 43 members strong; Linda was also there, walking the last mile of the Bridge Walk with her teammates.
Carianne summed up the experience as nothing short of awesome, explaining â€œthere was so much positive energy. Everyone came together for a common goal: to support LivingWell and our friend Linda. One person can make a difference in someoneâ€™s life. You can make such a big impact just by helping some small way. It is rewarding for the person you are helping, and for you.â€
So rewarding, in fact, that Carianne and her team of Lions are already planning next yearâ€™s Bridge Walk with the goal of increasing sponsorship and donations. â€œWe will keep roaring like the lions we are and keep spreading the word about LivingWell.â€
LivingWell organizers thanked the participants and volunteers.
â€œWe have been blessed by incredible community support. These funds are critical for us to be able to help the nearly 7,000 people that will look to LivingWell to provide the support they need when faced with a cancer diagnosis,â€ said Nancy Vance, executive director of LivingWell Cancer Resource Center.
All money raised will support LivingWell Cancer Resource Center, a community-based, not-for-profit center dedicated to improving quality of life for cancer patients and their loved ones. LivingWell offers information and education, as well as emotional support when going through this challenging time. All programs and services at LivingWell are provided free of charge.
For more information about LivingWell Cancer Resource Center, please call (630) 262-1111 or visit www.livingwellcrc.org.
Photo: Lindaâ€™s Lions, a group that took part in the LivingWell Cancer Resource Centerâ€™s Bridge Walk in May, walked in support of Linda Dall. The group raised $4,585 of the more than $175,000 raised during the Bridge Walk. Courtesy Photo