Mimi Surloff by no means forgot her late husband Stewart’s want as he fought lung most cancers in 2001.
“‘I want there was someplace that folks may go that was non-medical and simply get the assist they want after they don’t have it,’” Surloff recalled him saying.
There was The Gathering Place in Beachwood that opened in 2000, however Stewart was too sick to journey out of Summit County, the place he lived.
In his reminiscence, Surloff based Stewart’s Caring Place: Most cancers Wellness Middle in October 2004 in Akron utilizing some cash Stewart had left to the Akron Jewish neighborhood. These with most cancers, their households and mates may obtain a spread of 150 providers and applications together with assist teams and counseling, monetary and authorized consultations, wigs, household occasions and a meals pantry – all without spending a dime.
Since January 2020, the middle has serviced 1,000 households from 15 counties.
And with the COVID-19 pandemic altering 2020’s definition of “regular,” the middle is functioning fully digital to supply for these affected by most cancers so they’re able to proceed to obtain assist, Surloff stated.
“It’s extra necessary than ever, as a result of folks (affected by most cancers) are so susceptible to start with, and every thing is more durable for them,” stated Surloff, a resident of Copley and member of Temple Israel in Tub Township. “The pandemic simply provides one other layer of issue, so we all the time attempt to make our providers as stress-free as doable. It’s extra necessary than ever to only stay a useful resource that’s as simple to entry as doable for them.”
From Zoom yoga to an at-home youngsters’s camp to drive-thru meal pickups from the meals pantry, the middle has needed to adapt to digital and distanced strategies of offering its regular scheduling. The middle did have to scale back its record of providers and applications as a result of digital restraints, Surloff stated.
“We’ve scaled again some, however we’ve tried to evaluate that are a very powerful and doable for folks just about,” Surloff stated. “I feel the workers may be very artistic and simply tailored from level A to level Z. It’s all operating fairly easily; we haven’t actually hit any snags.”
Wig fittings have been modified to be digital, the place folks ship images of themselves to the middle and describe what type wig they need. The middle then packs a bag of some selections, units it exterior the middle for pickup at a chosen time and the person is ready to take the wigs residence to strive on. They’re capable of borrow two wigs at a time. As soon as returned, the middle cleans the wigs.
The middle additionally needed to digitize its two fundamental fundraisers, the Hope Stroll and the Butterfly Gala. The fundraisers earned quantities much like non-pandemic numbers.
When the pandemic is lastly below management and folks can return to the middle, they received’t discover it at its 16-year rented tackle.
The middle’s board began a $three million capital marketing campaign to lift cash for an tackle of its personal in 2018, and are available early fall, Stewart’s want could have a bigger location of its personal at 3501 Ridge Park Drive in Copley.
“Our dream was all the time to have our own residence,” Surloff stated. “At first, we thought the place we had was fairly massive and would final us a very long time, however then we realized we have been outgrowing it due to the variety of folks coming to us for providers.”
The brand new facility can be 12,000 sq. toes in comparison with its present 7,400 sq. toes. It’ll characteristic therapeutic arts and music suites, a useful resource library, session and assist group rooms, a youngsters’s room, workers and volunteer places of work, a board room, a instructing kitchen, a therapeutic arts backyard, a sensory backyard and a mirrored image pond, in addition to new know-how.
“Stewart’s mantra was that there’s all the time extra to most cancers than chemo and radiation,” Surloff stated. “He believed you can nonetheless have an important high quality of life if in case you have the precise helps in place. A part of our mission was to supply that, to reduce the medical, tough elements and intensify different qualities of life – the issues you can construct in if you’re occurring this journey.”