All of her life, Jill Swanson Peltier has been a charismatic, hard working business owner in the automotive racing industry until life threw her a curveball in 2014; a colon cancer diagnosis. For most people, this is a difficult thing to hear, but Jill was ready to show cancer who was boss! Little did she know at the time that this experience would change her life and turn it into a lemony, citrus explosion.
Chemotherapy treatment for Jill was strenuous all while trying to run her business and be a mom, stepmom and wife. When Jill’s treatment began, a friend gave her a small parcel filled with necessities needed to make it through a day of chemotherapy.
She remembers how it made her feel wanted, gave her strength and literally made her day! The brutal chemo drugs struck her with many nauseating, sick days, but her heartwarming, inspiring qualities arose when she decided to brighten the day of fellow patients going through treatment with her. Making her own version of the chemo goodie bag gave her an escape. During many of her treatments, nurses and friends helped her navigate through the chemotherapy wing while dragging her IV pole behind her to hand out these heartwarming packages to others. Once she saw the impact she had on these people’s lives, Jill started investing more to give to as many people as she could.
Jill blogged about her experiences all while going through chemotherapy to share with friends the effects cancer has on everyday life. After a few months of expressing her hardships and showing how the packages were benefiting others, she started receiving checks in the mail to help her fund her ‘small’ chemo care package hobby. Her readers knew how much this was mentally benefitting Jill so people were donating many things to her including money, items to go in the bags, and their time! From that point, Jill’s hobby turned into a citrus explosion with generosity coming from every direction. This was the start of her 501(c)(3) charity, Lemons of Love, and her journey towards #MakingCancerSuckLess.
What started with a small gift between friends has now evolved into the larger “gift of humanity.” Lemons of Love was started in 2014 after founder, Jill Swanson Peltier, was diagnosed with Stage III Colon Cancer. Jill had received a small goodie bag from a friend with a few items that were meant to help her through her chemotherapy treatment. Touched by the kindness and thoughtfulness of this gift, she knew that this was something that everyone starting their battle with cancer should receive. Jill envisioned being able to give others the same support that she received, in the form of a simple gift that makes a big impact.
Lemons of Love takes inspiration from the expression: “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” When the lemons are a cancer diagnosis and chemotherapy, making lemonade isn’t always so easy. That’s where we come in --
Lemons of Love is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization that creates, fills, and delivers chemo care packages. We know about the little, day-to-day challenges that chemotherapy patients are faced with. We hope to provide some insight about the effects of chemotherapy and make those short-term side effects, like dry skin and cold toes, a little more manageable through the gift of a care package. Those who donate to Lemons of Love can request to have a chemo care package sent to a friend or loved-one. We will send packages two doors down, across the country and even overseas. Sometimes it’s difficult to know how to help family, friends and co-workers who are diagnosed with cancer and going through chemotherapy. Sending one of our chemo-care packages is a great way to show your support, from near or far.
In our care packages, we provide a range of goods to help ease the short-term chemo symptoms. Some of these items include, but are not limited to, the following: