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."
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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