Lake Central High School Dean of Students Erin Novak knows firsthand that the power of positive thinking can make a big difference on a cancer journey. Co-workers at the school have rallied to donate $2,594 generated from their t-shirt fundraiser to the Cancer Resource Centre in Munster.
“I was diagnosed with Stage 1 breast cancer in December 2015 at the age of 36 and have since undergone surgery and reconstruction,” Novak said. “Another co-worker, who is the same age as I am, was diagnosed with Stage 3 breast cancer in August of 2016. On the day my coworker had her surgery, I asked staff at Lake Central High School to wear pink to show support. Many suggested that we should have our own staff breast cancer awareness shirt. So, I designed the “Believe” shirts. The front of the shirt reads ‘Believe, We Are LC’. The back of the shirt reads ‘I Believe That We Will Win,’ a cheer our students chant at sporting events. We sold 260 shirts to coworkers.”
The shirts were printed in Lake Central High School’s print shop, under the direction of Jereme Rainwater. Students in the graphic design class made the print screens and spent many hours ensuring that the shirts would print correctly. Since the initial fundraiser, another coworker has been diagnosed with breast cancer, and staff continues to wear their shirts to show support for their colleagues and raise awareness of this disease.
“Everyone should have someone there for them on their journey and to know that they are not alone,” explains Novak. “I first met nurse navigator Dotty DeWitt before my surgery. She helped to explain what a breast cancer patient goes through and about the variety of treatment options to consider.”
DeWitt is part of the support team on staff at the Community Cancer Research Foundation. The Foundation and its Cancer Resource Centre work with the hospitals of Community Healthcare System to advance cancer care in Northwest Indiana. This team offers exceptional coordination so newly diagnosed patients can be seen by multiple specialists soon after diagnosis to fully explore their options for care. To help with this process, Breast Health Navigators such as Dotty DeWitt make appointments, coordinate follow-up testing and answer questions.
“She is someone I can call with my concerns,” Novak said. “It is very comforting knowing that I have someone like her to rely on.”
Community Healthcare System offers some of the most advanced treatment technologies and services to not just fight cancer, but to care for the whole person – mind, body and spirit. Since first opening its doors in 2003, the Cancer Resource Centre has offered all of its services free of charge to all who enter. The Centre is funded from generous donations and grants, in-kind contributions and volunteer support.
Anyone who needs help coping with a cancer diagnosis is invited to the Centre where they will find a welcoming atmosphere, encouragement and valuable resources. Individuals may check out books, view videotapes and other educational material within the library or conduct internet searches to obtain research concerning diagnosis, treatment and general information. Groups gather to share experiences in social and professionally-led groups for support. Mind-body programs including yoga, Reiki and empowerment drumming, help patients deal with the complexities of cancer treatment, and rise above the stresses and difficulties of the journey.
The Cancer Resource Centre is located at 926 Ridge Road in Munster. For more information on the mind-body-spirit programs and a complete listing of upcoming classes and events, visit www.cancerresourcecentre.com or call 219-836-3349.