Cancer centers teach nutrition as strong weapon in the fight
By Ginger Brashinger Correspondent September 4, 2013 10:46PM
Karen Ford (from left) , Cancer Support Center director of development; Chris Rosandich, CSC nutrition and wellness coordinator and program manager of offsite locations, and Kathy Kahlhammer, chairwoman of the Hometown Hoedown fundraiser share a cancer-fi
If you go ...
What: Hometown Hoedown
Cancer Support Center Fundraiser
When: 6 to 11 p.m. Sept. 19
Where: CD & ME, 23320
S. LaGrange Road, Frankfort
Cost: $25 per person includes buffet dinner
What: Silent auction, raffles, live music
Information: Kathy Kahlhammer at (815) 341-1238
Updated: October 7, 2013 12:57PM
The Cancer Support Center locations in Homewood and Mokena are encouraging their clients to use a powerful weapon available to everyone in the fight against cancer.
“I think cancer patients and their families are passionate about healing and putting the cancer diagnosis behind them,” said Chris Rosandich, a program manager and nutrition and wellness coordinator for the center. “One aspect of that is their diet ... one thing that they can control, so it’s something that many people are focusing on to help them through the healing process.”
Rosandich said her focus was not always on diet and nutrition as a way to fight cancer.
About two years into her work at the center, Rosandich attended a meeting at which several nurses were discussing the low percentage of cancer patients in which a hereditary factor was a cause of the illness.
“So when I heard that 80 (percent) to 85 percent of the time cancer is environmental, I was shocked by that,” Rosandich said. “That started my journey investigating the connection between cancer and diet.”
Her research validated what Rosandich heard, so she changed her focus at the center to include nutrition as a way to boost clients’ immune systems.
For the last four years, programs at the center have included nutrition classes and juicing and smoothie demonstrations, a quick way to get healthy foods into a daily diet, Rosandich said.
Monthly cooking demonstrations by Rosandich and Leslie Susralski, of Orland Park, are held at the Homewood location. In October, Rosandich and Donna McKenna, a certified nutritionist, will offer cooking demonstrations at Grace Fellowship Church in Mokena.
“I think the reason people get so excited about the classes is because they learn what cancer-fighting foods are and how to incorporate those into their diet,” Rosandich said. “That’s not always an easy change to make.”
The Cancer Support Center has gone beyond its walls with its mission of awareness and support, center director of development Karen Ford said. For example, the centers have a direct relationship with Advocate South Suburban Hospital in Hazel Crest and The University of Chicago Hospital Cancer Center at Silver Cross Hospital in New Lenox.
Also, Ford said, at an event at Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, the Cancer Support Center made and distributed 300 cancer-fighting smoothies.
The healthy drinks were made possible through funding from the annual Hometown Hoedown held in Frankfort for the past 20 years.
Kathy Kahlhammer, of Frankfort, who has chaired the event for 17 years, said that at the Mokena center, all of the wigs and accessories, counseling for children, and books and materials for the resource library were funded by the Hoedown.
At both sites, she said, nutritional programs and some of the costs of individual and family counseling also are funded by the Hoedown. Since 2007, $200,000 of Hoedown funds has been donated to the Cancer Support Center.
Ford said the centers have come to rely on such donations.
“The services are available at no cost to participants, but not free to the Cancer Support Center,” Ford said. “The Hometown Hoedown helps fund additional expenses.”
This year’s Hoedown is Sept. 19.
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