Cancer Patient Makes Lemonade out of Lemons

From Northshore University Health System - April, 2016

Just two years ago, Jill Peltier began the fight of her life. She went to see her doctor and had a colonoscopy that revealed she had late-stage colon cancer. Peltier had surgery to resection her colon followed by six months of chemotherapy at NorthShore Kellogg Cancer Center.

Every time she went for chemotherapy, she noticed that other cancer patients were often alone and looking worried while waiting to be seen. A friend who always went with her for treatment helped Peltier keep her spirits up. Another friend gave her a gift basket that included lemon drops to remove the sometimes metallic aftertaste of the drugs being used. “We’d make the best of it,” said Peltier, “and I would always say, "I’m making lemonade."

While in treatment, Peltier decided to start making chemotherapy care packages to bring some hope to other patients. She asked a friend to sew handmade bags embroidered with a “Lemons of Love” logo she created. Then she called on friends in motor sports, her business circle, to donate funds to help secure the goodies for the bags. A bag might include a no-fragrance lotion for skin dried by chemo treatments, ginger tea to soothe stomachaches, natural lemon drops, a can of lemonade, bottled water, superhero socks, and, sometimes, jewelry. “Each one is different, depending on current donations,” said Peltier, who started out funding the bags with $10,000 of her own money.

Read the full article here.


Lemons of Love, the 2015 Q4 event winner at 100 + Who Care Chicago Chapter

100plus representatives and Jill

From 100+ Who Care's Facebook Post:

Lemons of Love, our Q4 event winner, received the group donation check for $5,500 outside of 300 N. LaSalle. Founder Jill Swanson Peltier, along with several others from Lemons of Love, were joined by 100+ Who Care Chicago Board Members Jay Sebben, Anne Delaney and Corey Benjamin for the presentation.

While it is our goal to donate no less than $10,000 as a group each quarterly event (@$100 per attendee), our Q4 event didn't quite reach our turnout expectations due to several factors, most notably the crazy weather. It was a great night of collective charity, nonetheless, and 2016 will grow on this year's successes! Click the logo to find out more about the 100+ Who Care Chicago Chapter.


Pink Lemonade 5K in Mount Prospect to Raise Cancer Awareness

By Erin Hegarty Staff Writer - Daily Herald- October 2, 2015

Dailey Herald LOL 5Kdailyherald-5K.jpg

After Jill Swanson Peltier was diagnosed with stage three colon cancer and underwent chemotherapy, the Mount Prospect resident decided she wanted to help others going through treatment.

"There's a million charities out there for kids going through this, but not a whole lot for adults," she said.

The charity she launched has been around for just over a year now, and in an effort to raise cancer awareness in the Mount Prospect community, Lemons of Love is hosting its first Pink Lemonade 5k Oct. 11, at Lions Park. Since 2014, Swanson Peltier and Lemons of Love have distributed bags, packed with products she found essential in her own treatment, to cancer patients in local hospitals and across the nation.

Swanson said spots were found on her liver and lungs. Surgery was performed followed by chemotherapy from March through September 2014. She said the spots went away due to the chemotherapy.

"With the bags, we're not curing anything, but we're making things brighter," Swanson Peltier said.

The bags include items from lemon-scented lotion for "dry chemo skin" to organic ginger tea for upset stomachs.

Each bag, hand-sewn by volunteers, also contains a unique "happy picture" drawn by a child.

"When people get these bags, they often say the best part about it is the happy picture," Swanson Peltier said.

More than 700 cancer patients have received bags or boxes of essential products from Lemons of Love. Swanson Peltier says she's always been one to make lemonade when life hand her lemons.

"I'm just that person," she said. "Whatever bad comes my way, I always find the best in it."


Providing Bright Spots In Battle Against Cancer

By RICHARD MAYER Assistant Managing Editor - Journal Online - September 5, 2015

Jill Swanson Mount Prospect resident Jill Swanson, who is also a Des Plaines business owner, has been hard at work organizing a fundraiser to help the battle against cancer a little less stressful.

Swanson’s organization called Lemons of Love will host a 5K (2.2-mile) run in downtown Mount Prospect starting in front of the Chase Bank building at 9 a.m. Sunday, Oct. 11.

A native of Arlington Heights, Swanson has lived in Mount Prospect for the past 20 years. For the past 10 years, she has owned Fresh Air Systems Technologies in Des Plaines.

In February 2014, Swanson at age 47 was diagnosed with stage-three colon cancer.

“I went in to see the doctor because of a cough,” she said. “I had no symptoms whatsoever. They did some tests and determined I was coughing because my lungs couldn’t compensate for the lack of blood in my body.”

Swanson said spots were found on her liver and lungs. Surgery was performed followed by chemotherapy from March through September 2014. She said the spots went away due to the chemotherapy.

When she started chemotherapy at Glenbrook Hospital in Glenview, Swanson would see other cancer patients arrive on their own from nursing homes, or by way of bus or other transportation. Some would arrive alone.

“I tried to talk to people because there are a lot of lonely people doing chemotherapy and I wanted to help.”

So Swanson, while battling cancer herself, spent $10,000 of her own money and created 500-600 bags filled with products such as lemon drops, lotion and other goods to help patients get by.

Swanson would bring the bags to fellow patients every other week twice a week. The helping hand brought happiness to those individuals and "brought them out of their shells.”

Swanson obtained non-profit status in October for Lemons of Love and it has grown ever since.

Lemons of Love is based on the well-known expression, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade,” but with a twist: “When life gives you lemons -- laugh out loud.”

All proceeds from the Oct. 11 event will go to the organization to help create more bags for patients. Swanson said the goal is to at least raise $30,000.

She hopes the 5K becomes an annual event the day after the village’s annual Oktoberfest celebration.

Swanson is in remission today, but some of the cancer is still in her lungs and is not considered treatable. Doctors have told her there is a good chance it will never grow.

“I feel really good and I count my blessings every day,” she said. “What keeps me positive is I see people that get so down and I think to myself everyday I wake up and I am still here and I get another chance. Everyday is a gift. I lost too many people too young and I think everyday I have to make an impact on people who are still here.”


Photography by Peter Bukowski
Photography by Peter Bukowski
Photography by Peter Bukowski

From StreetInsider.com - MILWAUKEE, Wis., June 2, 2015 /PRNewswire-iReach/

Calypso Lemonades Partners with Lemons of Love Charity to Help Bring Smiles to Cancer Patients

Calypso Bottle King Juice Company, Inc., proud producer of Calypso flavored Lemonades, Limeades and Teamonades®, has announced a partnership with Lemons of Love (LOL), a charity organization that delivers Chemo Care Packages to cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy treatment. Lemons of Love was founded by Jill Swanson, a cancer survivor who underwent chemotherapy treatment in 2014. Lemons of Love's care bags are hand made by volunteer stitchers and contain special products that were essential in Swanson's healing during her own cancer treatments.

Lemons of Love is based on the well-known expression, "When life gives you lemons, make lemonade," but with a twist, "When life gives you lemons, laugh out loud," – giving greater meaning to Lemons of Love's "LOL" acronym. Given Lemons of Love's lemon theme, and lemonade's universal association with happiness, lemonade has been one of the centerpiece items in Lemons of Love's care bags since the charity's inception. Through their partnership, Calypso Lemonades will become the lemonade provider to Lemons of Love, and each Lemons of Love Chemo Care Package will include a bottle of Calypso Original Lemonade.

"King Juice is a company that believes deeply in Lemons for Love's mission. As a lemonade category leader, we feel that this partnership is a great fit, and we are proud have Calypso Lemonades associated with the Lemons for Love charity," said Tim Kezman, President of King Juice Company, Inc., Calypso Lemonades' parent company. "Jill's passion for this cause is inspiring, and we are thrilled Calypso Lemonades can assist Lemons of Love in its quest to help cancer patients."

"The purpose behind Lemons for Love is to bring smiles to people's faces, and that's what a Calypso Lemonade does," added Swanson. "We are thrilled to have Calypso Lemonades as a partner as we try to fulfill our mission of bringing happiness to more and more people going through the tough and challenging process of cancer treatment."

Lemons of Love, Inc. is headquartered in Des Plaines, IL, and its Chemo Care Packages are delivered to local hospitals and also sent to cancer patients nationwide. Those interested in helping share Lemons for Love's "gifts of humanity," can make a donation by visiting the Lemons for Love website.(SOURCE Calypso Lemonades)

Read the entire press release here.


Meet Sarah Montgomery. Lemons of Love is going to the races in 2016, bringing back Sarah Montgomery in the Lemons of Love MX5 Cup Car. See how Sarah got involved with Lemons of Love.

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