This year’s Benefit Ball: Support cancer patients by enhancing integrative therapies

William and Kathy Hartman

“There wasn’t anything fun about chemotherapy, let me tell you,” says Kathy Hartman. Kathy has been through too much in the last year to sugar coat it. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in August 2016. The lump was fairly small, but after learning it had spread to her lymph nodes, Kathy began a long treatment process that involved six rounds of chemotherapy and 33 radiation treatments over many months.

“Dr. Ruggeri, my oncologist, he’s looking out for me and that feels good. When you have cancer, you need a doctor who is skilled and caring, because you’re scared. This is a hard journey,” she explains.

Kathy’s treatment has had some difficult side effects and she’s developed many secondary infections, one that landed her in Intensive Care late last year. She received her radiation treatments in Florida, to accommodate her family’s vacation. That experience made her incredibly grateful for the state-of-the-art cancer center waiting for her back in Wisconsin, at the new Aurora Health Center- Southern Lakes.

“The facility in Florida was nowhere near as beautiful as this new center. Plus, it’s so hard to travel during a snowy winter when you already aren’t feeling your best; so this is a great benefit to have right here in our own backyard,” she says.

Access to integrative therapies

Another benefit for cancer patients will be the access to integrative therapies like reiki, massage therapy, acupuncture and art therapy. This year’s Benefit Ball is raising funds to enhance those programs for cancer patients like Kathy, if they choose to use them.

Vashir Xiong is an acupuncturist at Aurora

Linda, during an acupuncture session with Vashir, at Aurora Health Center- Southern Lakes

Health Center- Southern Lakes. He’s had several cancer patients as clients; sometimes they have secondary issues like anxiety or depression happening at the same time.

“I had a client, Karen, who after only a few sessions noticed her anxiety was reduced. I always encourage them to communicate with their doctor, and they were able to reduce to her anxiety medication to once every two weeks. She was so grateful and said she felt ‘normal’ again,” Vashir explains.

Linda, a patient with fibromyalgia, migraines and other medical issues, travels from New Berlin to Aurora Health Center- Southern Lakes just to receive regular acupuncture treatments. “Acupuncture has helped with more than just my physical pain; it’s helped emotionally and spiritually as well. It’s a very special gift for the body,” Linda shares.

Having these integrative medicine resources available to patients is one more reason Kathy is so grateful for this new facility and the caregivers who call it home, “The staff and facility are both so lovely. People who contribute to this effort are really supporting a worthwhile cause.”

How you can help

Tickets are still available for this year’s Benefit Ball. This year also marks the 100 year anniversary of Aurora Lakeland Medical Center. In addition to supporting access to integrative therapies, you will also be helping us commemorate this significant anniversary. To make a gift or purchase a ticket to attend, CLICK HERE.

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