Written by Dymond Redd, Marketing & Communication Associate at the Cancer Wellness Center
Eileen Weil first came to the Cancer Wellness Center during her chemotherapy treatment, at the insistence of her sister. She was placed in a support group to help her as she went through the most difficult time in her life. Facilitated by CWC staff, Eileen and the other group members learned coping skills and techniques to face the challenges and stress that accompany a cancer diagnosis. What Eileen did not know was that the group she joined would become her close friends that she stays in touch with to this day, 13 years later.
Eileen was diagnosed with breast cancer and though she found the right doctor and surgeon, a cancer support system was still the vital missing piece she needed.
The CWC support group was formed to encourage discussion among people with a similar type of cancer and who were in the same place in their cancer journey. Eileen’s group was 9 diverse women, exploring different conversational topics such as gratitude, forgiveness, and mindfulness. Currently, when group members are five years removed from active cancer treatment, they graduate from CWC’s programs and services. Eileen’s group valued the strength of their connection and decided to stay together in an unofficial format after their own graduation from the Center. They call themselves the Wellness Group and still meet once a month to discuss their lives and implement the mindfulness practices they learned together. Two group members have relocated, but their connection remains strong. As Eileen so eloquently explained:
“You cannot go through your cancer journey alone. You need help, guidance, and a setting where it is a safe place to know that you are not alone and that you will come out on the other side. I find CWC to be warm and welcoming and it is a comfortable place to deal with your journey.”
Eileen has always felt it is important to give back to her community and has been giving to the Cancer Wellness Center for more than a decade. Her parents were role models and set the example early on and has stayed with Eileen to this day.
“Giving back is a part of my life. I think that if you can give of yourself or your money, that it is important to support a Center like this.”
Eileen was a city person, but a second marriage brought her to Glencoe 25 years ago. While she did not have children in her first marriage, her husband has 3 sons, who are all married and live locally. Eileen is proud to be a Grandma to 9 beautiful and loving grandchildren. She has continued her active community involvement doing yoga twice a week, including private lessons with CWC’s instructor, Barbara Shapiro; participates in canasta games and book club; and was the former sisterhood president of NorthShore Congregation Israel. Where Eileen used to be a patient at Glenbrook Regional Hospital, she is now an information volunteer. Similarly, Eileen would regularly attend programs and services as a participant at CWC during her treatment, and now she is a frequent attendee at signature Center events such as Library Luncheon and the Better Together Benefit.
Specifically, the Library Luncheons are a favorite of Eileen’s because she finds the speakers interesting and engaging. She enjoys that the speakers talk about life, not just medical issues in the cancer community. Eileen plans to buy a table for her and her Wellness Group to go together next year.
Even when she is unable to attend CWC events, Eileen wants to show her support to CWC and will offer donations and tribute gifts to the Center on behalf of her family. Since 2009, Eileen has a been an active donor to the Center because she wants to ensure it is around for future generations who need our programs and services, like she did.