Barb and Pat Nevins of Homewood are looking forward to a fun day on Sunday, Oct. 2, when they join the volunteer ranks at the Cancer Support Center’s Walk of Hope. The 2016 Walk of Hope kicks off at Irwin Park, 18120 Highland Ave. in Homewood, at 10:30 a.m.
Barb and Pat Nevins of Homewood are looking forward to a fun day on Sunday, Oct. 2, when they join the volunteer ranks at the Cancer Support Center’s Walk of Hope.
The 2016 Walk of Hope kicks off at Irwin Park, 18120 Highland Ave. in Homewood, at 10:30 a.m. A cancer survivor celebration begins at 10 a.m. Supporters will walk either a one-mile or three-mile route. Organizers are hoping walkers will meet the $100,000 fundraising goal. Registration opens at 9 a.m.
“We’ve been involved because it’s what people need. When you see the kids, when you see the adults, when you see 40 people wearing the same T-shirt in honor of someone and you know that they want to give back to the center for me that’s the neatest part about being a part of this,” Pat said. “These people are so supportive of the center and they want to have it continue to be there to help others.”
“What I like the best is it gets the whole community involved. I love the walk,” said Barb, who has been a volunteer since the first walk in the mid-1990s. “We know it’s helping.”
The Nevinses received the Cancer Support Center’s 2005 Humanitarian Award for their ongoing volunteer efforts at the walk, the annual golf outing and other major Cancer Support Center events.
The walk has changed over the years. Barb remembers dressing as the Tin Man from the Wizard of Oz for one walk. For about a dozen years she planned the walkers’ routes.
The need for the walk has remained the same – funding the programs of the Cancer Support Center that are offered free of charge to all in need.
The center’s major role is to offer support to those dealing with cancer. Programs assist not only the person dealing with the illness but their family, coworkers, neighbors and anyone else touched by their experiences.
In 2015, The Center provided more than 11,880 hours of programming. More than 300 women who were losing their hair due to chemotherapy received free wigs, scarves and hats. The Homewood office is at 2028 Elm Rd.
“It’s not a medical center,” said Pat. “It’s a center for people.” Someone going through cancer treatment can find counselors, cancer survivors and others who can offer comfort and information.
“Cancer was a word you never said, because if you said it you might get it,” Pat remembers. “It’s the big C with all the stigma attached to it, so people were afraid to talk about it.”
Today, people are open about their experiences and share them with those who walk through the door of the Cancer Support Center.
“The center is what people need – information, comfort, activities to get your mind off it – whatever you need to get you through what you’re going through,” he said.
“I just think we’re so fortunate to have the Cancer Support Center in our backyard,” said Barb, who survived breast cancer twice. She used the Cancer Support Center’s services the second time.
Registration is $35 for walkers 15 and older; $15 for children ages 5 through 14; under age 5 is free. All are welcome to Irwin Park on Sunday. Along the walk and at the finish line will be pet therapy dogs. A DJ will entertain, various restaurants are offering food samples and volunteers will work at the kids activities.
The Homewood-Flossmoor Chronicle is a sponsor of the walk. Participants are invited to come to the Chronicle table and take a selfie with our Chronicle frame for posting to your social media site.