A day of pampering, support for cancer patients and survivors
By Sue Ellen Ross Post-Tribune correspondent May 3, 2013 3:16PM
Certified executive chef for Methodist Hospitals Pamela Ward hands out carrot-brussel sprouts-walnut salad samples as she talks with Regina Barnett of Merrillville (left) during the annual Spring Spa Day at Methodist Hospitals Southlake campus in Merrillville , Ind. Saturday April 27, 2013. The event pampers women being treated for cancer and cancer survivors. | Stephanie Dowell~Post-Tribune
Updated: June 7, 2013 6:05AM
When Ann Peters was diagnosed with breast cancer more than 36 years ago, there wasn’t much opportunity to socialize or even just to talk with patients like herself.
All that has changed, the Crown Point cancer survivor has found.
Methodist Hospitals, for its part, recently hosted the annual Spring Spa Day to provide women who are being treated for cancer, or who have survived cancer, a day of pampering, empowerment and health education.
“This is such a wonderful event, women are able to network while having fun,” Peters said from her Pink Ribbon Society booth. “Women definitely need support from each other.”
Peters joined 11 other vendors, including the American Cancer Society and the Women’s Boutique, as they discussed various topics with more than 100 visitors.
“This is great,” said Gary resident Arlessie McNeil as she received a Reiki treatment from Ellen McCullough of Schererville. “Women need to know they are not going through this (cancer) alone.”
In addition to the opportunity to purchase a handbag or scarf, those attending were treated to a paraffin hand treatment, bone density screenings, chair massages, and a unique Healthy Eating and Cooking demonstration.
“Our main tool is cancer-fighting foods,” said oncology dietician Leela Chigurupati. “We can use these foods in various recipes.”
Hospital Chef Pam Ward also was present at the demonstration. She had prepared three salads and a dessert, all laid out decoratively on her worktable.
But before the audience could sample the beet salad with apples, brussel sprouts slaw, cauliflower, cabbage, carrot salad and mini-cupcakes, they listened to Chigurupati discuss ways to eat healthy and inexpensively.
The delight of the demonstration was the four-tiered serving platter piled with mini-cupcakes.
“These aren’t your ordinary cupcakes,” Chigurupati said. “They are made with beet puree, low-fat butter, vinegar and a very small amount of all-purpose flour.”
Once the sampling began, the salads and cupcakes were well-received by all.
“I’ve never been to this particular kind of food demonstration before, and this is an important subject,” said Delores Scott of Gary, a six-year cancer survivor. “I have congestive heart failure and gout, so it’s important to watch my diet.”
Spa Day was begun six years ago by Methodist employees Maria Bates, oncology research coordinator, and Jennifer Sands, mammography manager.
“We were looking for an event to pamper and provide support for our patients,” Bates said. “Our first year began with one vendor — the Pink Ribbon Society — and 55 attendees.”