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Source of strength

Medical center's support program offers fitness classes and counseling while allowing patients to build friendships.

August 21, 2010|By Joyce Rudolph, joyce.rudolph@latimes.com
(Tim Berger )

Cancer patients and survivors find respite from treatment and build friendships with those facing similar trials in a program offered at Glendale Adventist Medical Center.

Weekly dancing, yoga, knitting, jewelry-making and journaling classes along with support groups and counseling are offered through the Cancer Services program in two locations near the medical center.

All the services are free and open to everyone, even those receiving treatment from other care facilities, said Teryl MacDougall, Positive Image coordinator.

MacDougall meets with patients to assess the programs best suited for each patient or survivor, she said.

"I listen to the patients, and I look to find what they need and I find a match for them," she said. "I started with just showing them wigs, and the program grew to makeovers and yoga classes and then a whole schedule of weekly classes."

A special room in the Cancer Services building has been set aside for those in the program.

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Ingeborg's Place Apart does just what the name says.

"It provides patients and survivors a place to go and relax before or after their medical treatments," MacDougall said.

Upon their first visit, patients can try on wigs in varying lengths and styles or opt for a head scarf. They are also presented with a blanket they can take home that was made by volunteers with the National Charity League, Glendale Chapter.

Funds for the programs are raised by community events, such as the educational forum "Evening of Hope" on Oct. 14. There will be three speakers — two patients talking about their journey through breast cancer and a doctor. There will be vendors selling items with a percentage of sales going to cover the cost of the event, MacDougall said.

For reservations, call (818) 409-8218.

Participants are enthusiastic when they talk about all the programs and especially enjoy the fellowship, which they said offers solace through the hard times, most importantly, when a friend passes away.

Guadalupe Mendoza, of Los Angeles, has been meeting with the Wednesday support group for two years. She was diagnosed in July 2008 with breast cancer and in 2009 had one breast removed, she said.

She originally came to MacDougall to be fitted for a wig and knit hat, but the program's offerings drew her into a more active role, she said.

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