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91. Wellness Place Community Cancer Walk/Run Stories of Strength

91. Wellness Place Community Cancer Walk/Run Stories of Strength

Home Newsroom 91. Wellness Place Community Cancer Walk/Run Stories of Strength

The 4th Annual Wellness Place Community Cancer Walk/Run is coming up this Sunday, May 19th, at The Arboretum of South Barrington and they’re expecting a great turnout with dozens of teams walking to celebrate cancer survivors and those who have been touched by cancer.

Wellness Place Community Cancer Wak/Run - Photographed by Susan McConnell
Wellness Place Community Cancer Wak/Run – Photographed by Susan McConnell

As race day approaches, we’re getting to know more about some of the teams taking part in this year’s event and the people they’re walking to support.

Wellness Place Community Cancer Walk/Run Participants - Courtesy of Wellness Place
Wellness Place Community Cancer Walk/Run Participants – Courtesy of Wellness Place

Participants include Barbara Aievoli (seen below, left, in purple), who has been getting together for “Nail-Nite Wednesdays” with her friends and neighbors in Barrington for the past 15 years….

When this group first formed, the idea was to hire a manicurist, go to one person’s house and have an evening without babies, wipes and diaper bags. As years went by, conversations about teething were replaced by PTO discussions, prom date choices and college dreams. The group has supported each other through incredible challenges like divorce, job loss, injury and illness.

This past year, they had to address the topic of brain cancer when one of their group’s members, Denise Oetinger, was diagnosed and had surgery last October. Although the disease, radiation and surgery have taken a toll on Denise, she continues to be a source of inspiration to her friends who are walking to support her in this year’s Wellness Place Walk/Run.

Denise Oetinger (center) gains strength and support from her freshly-manicured friends who recently attended "Nail Nite" at Wellness Place - Photo Provided
Denise Oetinger (center) gains strength and support from her freshly-manicured friends who recently attended “Nail Nite” at Wellness Place – Photo Provided

Somewhat ironically, last year, even without a connection to cancer, Barbara participated in the Wellness Place Community Cancer Walk/Run. As a member of the Barrington Junior Women’s Club, she and a group of women joined the race and learned about the programs and services of Wellness Place. Barbara feels fortunate that, when her friend Denise was diagnosed, she knew exactly where to steer her for support and services, at no charge.

This year, the “Nail-Nite Wednesday” group has evolved once again. They have created “Team Denise,” and are fundraising for and participating in the Walk/Run on May 19. Come out and join them — they’ll be the ones with the perfect manicures!

Post - Wellness Place Walk - Denise Oetinger Story of Strength

Another supporter you’ll find walking in this year’s Wellness Place Walk/Run is Syed Hussain who says it’s all part of the healing process. “I have no choice but to move forward, because the kids don’t stop.” Syed lost his wife, Debbie, to cancer a few short months ago.

Syed's Children - Photo Courtesy of Wellness Place
Syed’s Children – Photo Courtesy of Wellness Place

Now, a single father to three young children, Syed is facing challenges he never imagined.

“Debbie found Wellness Place for all of us. Honestly, there couldn’t be a better resource to help my family through this journey,” said Syed.

After Debbie’s diagnosis, she encouraged the kids to attend art therapy with her at Wellness Place. Even in her absence, the sessions continue.

In fact, weekly art therapy sessions are now combined with family yoga therapy, one-on-one counseling and on May 19, Syed and his children (ages 4, 5 1/2 and 7) will join his mother, brother and close friends for the 4th annual Wellness Place Community Cancer 1 Mile Walk and 5K Run at the Arboretum of South Barrington.

“We are walking for the kids.

The loss of their mother will never go away, but Wellness Place is arming them with words and tools so they have explanations for the many different kinds of feelings they have in their hearts.

Life has to move on.

Please join us as we walk together into our future.”

And another story of strength behind this year’s Wellness Place event is that of Janina and Liz Locascio of Hoffman Estates. Janina has a passion for health and nutrition.

She works at the Buehler YMCA, writes a blog about healthy living and recently enrolled in school to become a registered dietitian. “My passion is due 100 percent to my mother’s journey,” says Janina.

Last year, around New Year’s, Janina encouraged her mother, Liz, to take control of her health. “I felt my mom would be healthier and happier if she became more active.” Her mother agreed and made a New Year’s resolution. She lost about 35 pounds.

“This weight loss saved my mom’s life,” says Janina. Due to her slimmer physique, Janina’s mother became aware of a lump in her breast. The good news: They caught Liz’s cancer early.

Liz and Janina Locascio - Photo Courtesy of Wellness Place
Liz and Janina Locascio – Photo Courtesy of Wellness Place

This year will be the second that the “Liz Locascio Team” will participate in the Wellness Place Community Cancer Walk/Run. Liz and Janina have also joined Wellness Place’s training program for the event, known as the “Go the Distance Team.” As members of this team, Liz and Janina meet a group of Wellness Place supporters weekly for supervised training sessions developed to help individuals meet their goals for the event. “Wellness Place is helping us every day to lead healthier lives,” says Janina.

Join Janina, Liz and the rest of the Liz Locascio Team on May 19. They look forward to sharing the day with you. (And, you can follow Janina’s blog at MoreOatsPlease.com.)

So lace up your shoes and get ready to join the crowd. This year’s event is happening this Sunday, May 19th, at The Arboretum of South Barrington. The cost to participate is $30 for adults, $20 for those between age 6 and 17 and there no charge for kids ages 0 to 5-years-old. The event includes a 5K run and a 1 mile walk. Registration start at 8 a.m. on Sunday, with the opening ceremony scheduled for 9 a.m. After the race, there’s a beautiful balloon release ceremony every year to honor survivors and those who have been touched by cancer.

Wellness Place Balloon Release - Photo Courtesy of Facebook.com/WellnessPlaceCancerSupport
Wellness Place Balloon Release – Photo Courtesy of Facebook.com/WellnessPlaceCancerSupport

All donations will be used solely for the purpose of fulfilling the Wellness Place mission, “To provide education, support and understanding at no charge to those affected by cancer.” Proceeds raised from this event will fund programs and services to all who enter the doors at Wellness Place at 1619 W. Colonial Parkway in Palatine.

Wellness Place - 1619 W. Colonial Parkway - Palatine, IL
Wellness Place – 1619 W. Colonial Parkway – Palatine, IL

The personal accounts above are just three of many stories of strength behind participants in this year’s Wellness event. CLICK HERE to view all teams, to register or make a donation. To learn more about Wellness Place, you can reach them by phone at 847-221-2400. You’ll find more information if you follow them on Facebook or visit their website, at WellnessPlace.org.

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