Dust swarms and hammers echo in a musty former tax office under renovation but Jill Swanson Peltier is envisioning a bright room with a crackling fire and comfy chairs where cancer survivors find solace.
Saturday marked an onslaught of demolition work at the future home for Lemons of Love in Mount Prospect as Peltier, the group's founder was joined by a team of volunteers.
This fall she plans to open a cancer support center in a transformed building.
"We'll have support groups for people going through chemo, for survivors, and for caregivers," Peltier said. "We'll have a salon room for people to do private head shavings."
Other features will include a library and space for volunteers to assemble and create items for Lemons of Love's signature care packages for people undergoing chemotherapy.
More than 4,200 hand-stitched bags containing comforts such as ginger tea for nausea, "superhero" socks, and lemon drops to remove the taste of chemotherapy have been delivered since Peltier started the charity after being treated for colon cancer in 2014.
Now in remission, she recalls "the first thing that goes is your taste buds. Some one gave me lemon drops and it helps your taste buds come back to life; you can taste a cheeseburger again."
A new nonprofit is putting a fresh spin on an old idiom while helping cancer patients squeeze some joy out of their medical journeys.
"When life gives you lemons, laugh out loud," cancer survivor and Lemons of Love Northwest volunteer Sarah McLain said Friday.
The ladies (and one gentleman) of Lemons of Love Northwest have embarked upon a venture to show those in the throes of the disease that they're not alone.
They hand-craft tote bags and fill them with items cancer patients need — tissues, water bottles, lip balm, lotion — as well as a few sweet surprises, like chocolate-covered blueberries or inspirational pictures drawn by local elementary school kids.
About once a month, these love-filled bags are delivered to cancer centers such as Kootenai Clinic Cancer Services and Cancer Care Northwest. “Everybody loves the picture,” said Cathy Kobs, who founded the LOL Northwest branch with friend Sue Edwards. “That’s the first thing they say. They’re not ‘get well’ pictures, just happy pictures."
Jill Swanson Peltier, founder of Lemons of Love, a non-profit organization offering care packages for those going through chemotherapy treatments, hosted a luncheon with Michelle Parnell at Parnell’s home in Lake Forest in early September. The day featured lemosas (lemonade and champagne), as well as tea and lunch. Peltier, the president of Des Plaines-based F.A.S.T, a purveyor of goods for the motor sport community, invited professional race car drive Sarah Montgomery to deliver captivating tales of her time on the tracks.
Over 300 walkers and runners participated in the Second Annual Lemons of Love Pink Lemonade 5K Second Squeeze on October 2, 2016 at Lions Park in Mt. Prospect
Lemons of Love will hold its second Pink Lemonade 5K Run/Walk Sunday, Oct. 2, at Lions Park, Lincoln and Maple streets, in Mount Prospect.
Runners, walkers and supporters are invited to enjoy the morning's events while raising funds to help Lemons of Love create cheerful, lemon-themed care packages that promote peace and healing for those fighting cancer. The packages are delivered to local hospitals and sent to cancer patients nationwide.
"We've surpassed our goal of delivering 3,500 chemo care packages and are well on the way to reaching 4,000 by the end of 2016. The Pink Lemonade Run/Walk will help us get there," says Jill Swanson Peltier, a cancer fighter and owner of Fresh Air Systems Technologies in Des Plaines. Peltier was diagnosed with stage three colon cancer and went through chemotherapy two years ago. The experience made her realize that no one should feel alone while enduring chemo, and she was inspired to create Lemons of Love, based on a simple idea: "When life gives you lemons, you make lemonade."
Race car driver Sarah Montgomery, left, and Jill Swanson Peltier, right, deliver a Lemons of Love bag to a cancer patient at an oncology center in Lafayette, Louisiana, where Montgomery is from.
Jill Swanson Peltier of Mount Prospect is the ultimate multi-tasker.
Late last week she returned from distributing care packages to a cancer center in Evanston, before jumping back into being president of a Des Plaines company that manufactures products for the motor sport community.
In her spare time, she helps organize fundraisers for the nonprofit organization that compiles these care packages, Lemons of Love.
All this, and Peltier is a cancer survivor as well.
"It's one of those crazy twists in life," Peltier said on Friday during a rare break in her day. "I never dreamed that I would be doing this and that (Lemons of Love) would take off like it has."
She already had a successful business. Peltier owns Fresh Air Systems Technologies, which makes cool suits for race car drivers and specialized helmets that bring fresh air to drivers instead of dirt.
The company's products are used by drivers in the NASCAR and Formula 1 series, to monster jam truck drivers and even stunt men on movie sets.
July 2, 2016 by Community Contributor Jenny Kustra-Quinn
Lemons of Love will hold its inaugural Lemons on the Links Charity Golf Outing on July 22 at Chevy Chase Country Club in Wheeling, Ill. The event will help the organization meet its goal of delivering 3,000 chemo care packages to cancer patients this year. The golf outing will have a shotgun start and feature several contests on the course, including a $10,000 hole in one, infamous helicopter ball drop and luxury car hole in ones sponsored by Laurel BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi of Westmont. A reception will be held following the golf outing, with a barbecue buffet, awards, prize baskets, wine pull, Rolex watch drawing and a D.J. The cost is $150 per golfer (including a box lunch, cart, shirt, food and drink tickets, and reception), or $45 to attend the reception only. Tickets can be purchased at www.lemonsoflove.org/links2016.
Members of the Prospect High School varsity girls soccer team deliver chemo/cancer kits to Northwest Community Hospital last month.
From Journal & Topics Newspapers Online, By RICHARD MAYER Assistant Managing Editor
June 15, 2016
Mount Prospect preschoolers and high school students continue to step up to help those battling cancer.
Students from St. Mark Preschool and Enrichment Center hosted a lemonade stand during their annual May 13 Walkathon where proceeds went to the school as well as local organization Lemons of Love.
Mount Prospect resident Jill Swanson founded Lemons of Love while going through treatment for colon cancer. Initially, she was looking for ways to bring hope, joy and love back into the lives of the patients she saw at her regularly scheduled treatments.
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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