About Us

  • About Us
  • Our History
  • Jill’s Story
For Those Impacted By Cancer

About Lemons of Love

When someone you know is diagnosed with cancer, it can be difficult to know what to say or do. If you’re the one living with cancer, it can be challenging to find others who understand what you’re going through. At Lemons of Love, our mission is to share love with anyone impacted by cancer. We’re here to be your words of encouragement when you don’t know what to say and to connect you to a community of support.

Lemons of Love was created in 2014 when Jill Swanson was diagnosed with colon cancer. As she began chemotherapy, a friend gave Jill a small gift with items to help her through treatment. Inspired, Jill began her own little lemonade project of filling and sharing thoughtfully selected items with others in treatment.

Today, Lemons of Love is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that delivers care packages to hospitals and oncology centers and provides personalized care packages for individuals with a donation. We offer free programs for anyone impacted by cancer at our Mount Prospect, Illinois location and provide one-on-one family support at our building in Plymouth, Wisconsin. Both locations allow us to welcome our community to support our mission.

We Are Here To Help

Building A Community

Founded in 2014, Lemons of Love began as a way to turn life’s lemons into lemonade. Lemons of Love began sharing chemo care packages with patients in hospitals. In 2015, we created a donation-based program that allowed individuals to send a package to a loved one. Next, we added two annual care package programs; a Veteran’s package in 2016 and a kid’s holiday package in 2017.  Expanding our mission to support anyone impacted by cancer, we opened our Mt. Prospect, Illinois location in 2018 to provide free programs, both in person and virtually. In 2021, we opened our newest location in Plymouth, Wisconsin, offering one-on-one family support to those newly diagnosed. 

Jill's Story

My Little Lemonade Project

When I was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2014, I underestimated the impact it would have on me. Walking into my first treatment, I didn’t realize how it would make feel. Although I had family with me, I realized that no matter how big of a support network you have, cancer is a lonely business. What I needed was to connect with other patients who understood what I was going through.

I asked a friend to make tote bags and filled them with items that had helped me manage some of treatment’s side effects—organic ginger tea to help with nausea, organic body lotion for dry skin, and lemon drops for the metal taste that happens from chemotherapy. I also added a happy picture from a small child and a pair of superhero socks, to hopefully bring a smile to its recipient.

I began sharing the care packages every time I went for treatment. The first woman to accept my gift asked if she could hug me. She did, twice! It was amazing. I felt like I was taking the lemons that life handed me and making the sweetest lemonade I could. Sharing the packages not only helped me to get through my own treatment, it connected me to other cancer patients who were sitting next to me. I didn’t realize that I was starting a movement—a way to share love with someone impacted by cancer.
 
Today, every time we send out a care package, I feel that connection all over again. The original intent of a Lemons of Love Chemo Care Package remains, it is a gift of love, hope, and togetherness from one survivor to another.
lemons of love

Our Team

  • Our Team
  • Governing Board of Directors
  • Professional Board

Jill Swanson

Owner of FAST Cooling, an auto racing manufacturing company, Jill Swanson has worked with the Motorsport community for almost 30 years. Jill has two grown children and a stepson, splits her time between Mount Prospect, IL and Elkhart Lake, WI.

Maren Paige

Maren stumbled upon Jill and Lemons of Love in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin about 3 years ago. Since meeting, Maren has found her role in marketing, as well as wearing a few other hats across the organization. She has seen the way cancer can impact lives and Lemons of Love is how she help share some love with those affected.

Cathy Mataloni

Cathy develops programs, works with community partners and coordinates volunteer efforts. One of the best parts of her job is getting to meet the many cancer survivors and supporters who come to the Mt. Prospect building. Cathy joined Lemons of Love in 2018 and lives in Mt. Prospect with her husband, Tom.

Lisa Rietmann

Lisa has been connected to Lemons of Love since 2016, and has been part of Lemons of Love team since 2020.  Lisa has had 14 years of experience in fundraising for different organizations including a large hospital system.  Lisa is a cancer survivor, and has seen Lemon’s of Love’s impact first-hand. Lisa is passionate about supporting Lemons of Love, and supporting those who are in treatment. She lives in Florida with her husband, son and cat.

Loretto James

Loretto James is Jill’s Mom and biggest fan.  Loretto spends her free time supporting Lemons of Love by filling the care packages, both boxes and tote bags. She fills them up with all of the good lemony stuff and tops them off with all the love she has to share.

Charlene King

2021 President
2018-present

Charlene's Bio

Todd Lamb

Active Board Member
2020 - Present

Todd's Bio

Bill Knee

2021 Vice President
2020 - Present

Bill's Bio

Bethany Porter

2021 Secretary
2021- Present

Bethany's Bio

Maureen Erbach

Active Board Member
2020 - Present

Maureen's Bio

Kelly Olsen

Past President, 2016 - 2020

Kelly's Bio

Building Our Board

You’re Invited!

Upcoming Events

lemons of love

Making An Impact

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Care Packages

Since 2014, we’ve shared more than 19,000 care packages in all 50 states and 16 other countries.

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Wellness Programs

With the opening of our Cancer Resource Center in 2019, we’ve provided wellness programs, partnering with Wellness House of Hinsdale and Northwest Community Hospital in Arlington Heights.

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Volunteers

We have utilized more than 1,600 volunteers to support our fundraisers, events and package filling needs.

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