2020 Walk for Wellness House

Stepping by Grace

Why We Walk

Up until a year ago, when Julie would take the train into Chicago to meet me and the train stopped at Hinsdale Highlands, she’d wonder who lived in the giant house just north of the tracks. Little did she imagine how often we’d be stepping through its doors.

Our lives changed forever in April 2019 when an emergency room doctor told me, “Your liver is full of tumors.” A few days later, when I nearly died, we had to choose whether to even attempt treatment. The next morning, when we said “yes,” nurse navigators visited my room in the Critical Care Unit to tell us about supportive resources for people with cancer.

This year as never before we have come to regard every step we take—with our feet or in our minds—as a gift. Teams of family, friends, and skilled professionals have helped us to take each step.

Last summer Julie and I began to visit Wellness House and sample its offerings, including library books, informational lectures, and group sessions for mind-body practices and mutual support. I began to attend a group for people who are living with metastatic cancer; in the winter, Julie joined me. There is a lot of wisdom in this group of “exceptional” survivors and caregivers, all showing up every Friday to listen, encourage, and learn from one another. Our facilitator’s warmth and perceptive insights call out the best in us.

Wellness House has become a real blessing for us. The breadth and quality of its programs, led by ecumenical and interfaith professionals from around the globe, and its consistently gracious and hopeful atmosphere, help us over and over again to choose life.

For the time being the giant house is closed, but its programs are continuing online to keep the promise, “You’ll feel better inside.” Interestingly, now that it has been forced by the pandemic to be online, there has been a 50% increase in people connecting to Wellness House.

All the Wellness House programs are offered gratis—for free. In the midst of the myriad scares and stresses of cancer it is a relief to be able to learn and cope without having to worry about paying.

This is possible through generous gifts from individuals and organizations. Up until this year, Wellness House held an annual physical fundraising walk. On June 28, 2020, the walk will be virtual: you can walk any number of steps you want in any space you choose. You can also support the effort by making a financial contribution. I intend to walk 10,000 steps on June 28. I hope that you will match my steps with a penny, a nickel, a dime, or even a dollar.

Will you join our team and take the next steps?

Mark

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