The Wickstrom Auto Group Showroom will set the stage for a very special social event that we are all invited to attend at the Wellness Place Golden Birthday Gala on Saturday, October 19th. Founded in 2000 by two Barrington breast cancer survivors, Wellness Place is celebrating 13 years of providing cancer-related counseling, education and support to those who reach out for help. Though it will surely be a night to remember, the impact of this Golden Gala will touch many lives in our community as the organization continues to offer its services, free of charge, to anyone seeking support when they find out they or someone they love has cancer.
The Wickstrom family in Barrington welcomed the opportunity to support the cause by opening the doors of their beautiful Jeep showroom on Northwest Highway as the setting for the 2013 Wellness Place Gala, which has been held at Chicago venues in recent years. Event co-chairs Jodie Barbera and Christine Tilles are planning to transform the showroom for the elegant evening affair with cocktails, dinner, a live auction, music of the Lloyd Dobler Effect and dancing right here in the heart of Barrington.
But in the midst of the social scene, Wellness Place will take a moment to recognize one Barrington resident for his unwavering commitment to championing their cause over the years. They are awarding Orthopedic Surgeon and 1983 BHS grad, Dr. Greg Brebach, with this year’s Foglia Loyalty and Commitment Award. And rather than wait for the party to meet him, I recently visited with Dr. Brebach and his wife Elissa, who is also a doctor, and their two young children at their Barrington home.
Greg and Elissa can personally attest to the impact Wellness Place has had here in Barrington. Greg has been involved since the very beginning and has devoted his time by serving on the Wellness Place board for seven years.
One of the first things Greg told me during our visit is that Wellness Place’s growth in recent years speaks volumes about the need in our community and beyond.
“Wellness Place is helping more people than ever. Our clinical staff is well versed in all types of cancer, we provide grief counseling, help people deal with the expectations of cancer and the emotions that come with a diagnosis. It’s a not-for-profit organization, families who come to Wellness Place are not expected to pay a dime, it’s run entirely on the charity and good will of others and it is a beautiful mission.”
Wellness Place provides over 7,000 services a year at their Palatine headquarters and via satellite offices they’ve opened in Crystal Lake, Arlington Heights and Park Ridge. Executive Director, Pam Reiss, says Dr. Brebach has been instrumental in that growth.
“Greg has been a tireless supporter and board member for over seven years. He truly exemplifies the leadership, volunteer, and philanthropic qualities this prestigious award was founded upon.”
But the Brebachs also have a very personal connection to the mission behind Wellness Place. Not only is Greg’s wife Elissa Brebach a radiologist specializing in breast imaging and diagnosing cancer at Centegra’s Gavers Breast Center, she has faced cancer herself.
“I am a melanoma survivor, I carry the breast cancer gene and a lot of my relatives have had breast cancer so I kind of understand what patients are going through when they are told they have a diagnosis and I can also attest that all of the education and support that you receive outside of your medical treatment is crucial.”
Elissa says she is particularly motivated to support Wellness Place in its efforts to increase awareness about breast cancer, family history and options available to women who may be at higher risk.
“We’re working hard to educate younger women who may not be showing up for their annual screening mammograms to research their family history and find out if they’re high risk. Angelina Jolie helped with bringing awareness, but gene testing is fairly new, there’s not a lot of information out there and I think a lot of women feel like they don’t have a good resource. There are so many choices to be made and Wellness Place provides somebody they can go to and really find answers that may be difficult to get from your primary care physician, the internet or friends.”
Proceeds from the this year’s Golden Birthday Gala will provide much needed funds to sustain the programs and counseling services that Wellness Place provides, free of charge, to individuals, families and caregivers affected by cancer.
To purchase tickets online, CLICK HERE. If you are unable to attend but would like to make a donation, CLICK HERE. And to learn more about the organization’s history and mission, CLICK HERE for background we’ve published at 365Barrington.com or visit their website at WellnessPlace.org.