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Pedaling with purpose

Wheeling for Healing fundraiser will benefit Community Memorial's Cancer Care Center

Aug. 6, 2012

Menomonee Falls - When West Bend resident Barb Theisen was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2010, stress was one of many overwhelming emotions.

Despite the frightening diagnosis, she said her stress was minimized every day she went in for treatment thanks to the Cancer Care Center at Community Memorial Hospital.

In an effort to continue providing that level of care and staying up-to-date with treatment-based technology, the Community Memorial Hospital Foundation is hosting its annual Wheeling for Healing fundraiser Saturday. All registration fees and donations directly benefit the Cancer Care Center. There are three route options with staggered starts - a 4-mile route beginning at 9 a.m.; a15-mile route at 8:15 a.m.; and a 32-mile route at 7:30 a.m.

Event helps hospital evolve

With constant research and evolving technology, the fundraiser continues to be an integral part of the work done at CMH. Through money raised in past years, the Cancer Care Center was able to purchase a linear accelerator, which is the treatment unit that delivers radiation to cancer patients, said John Koenig, director of Froedtert and The Medical College of Wisconsin Cancer Network.

Theisen was diagnosed with cancer in early August 2010. She describes her treatment process as "seamless."

After two benign lumpectomys and zero history of cancer in her family, the diagnosis came as unexpected news. Despite the shocking diagnosis, Theisen said her treatment through the Cancer Care Center mitigated much of her stress.

"They had everything taken care of and they still do in my post care," she said. "I never ever had to be concerned about letting one physician know what was going on with the other one."

Support helps patients heal

In September 2010, Theisen began radiation treatment.

"They completely prepared me for any of the issues or what could have happened with radiation therapy so I knew what to expect and I knew what to do if any issues came up or how to prevent them," she said.

Koenig said CMH has multiple support mechanisms for patients. In recent years, the care center was remodeled to accommodate for multidisciplinary care. This means patients not only have oncologists on site, but also dietitians, spiritual caregivers, psychologists and advanced practice nurses all in one place.

"All the services a patient needs are right here. A patient no longer has to navigate through the hospital, there is less stress when they know they go to one place and all the people are coming to them and that's what multi-discipline is about," Koenig said. "There are all these people who can discuss the best treatment approach and communicate it back right away.

Theisen said having all her doctors in one place made her treatment process run smoothly.

"Sometimes the support groups don't get as much credit as they should get," she said. "The radiation tests, the nursing staff, they were all 150 percent. I never felt insecure and I always knew everything was covered."

Theisen is a living example of someone who has benefited from cancer research and ever-evolving treatments.

The 15th annual Wheeling for Healing fundraiser, Koenig said, is one way the Cancer Care Center is able to continually expand the service they provide and stay up-to-date with technological advancements.

"It's phenomenal and we need to keep that going because there's a lot more me's around and I would like everyone to have as good an experience as I did," Theisen said.

So far, there are 870 riders signed up for the event. For information or to register, call (262) 257-3761 or communitymemorialfoundation.org.

IF YOU GO

WHAT: Wheeling for Healing, biking fundraiser

WHEN: Saturday; 4-mile route begins at 9 a.m.; 15-mile route begins at 8:15 a.m. and a 32-mile route begins at 7:30 a.m.

WHERE: Community Memorial, N8085 Town Hall Road

WEBSITE: communitymemorialfoundation.org

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