Lemons of Love virtual golf outing helps Mount Prospect group deliver chemo kits to cancer patients
When you receive a cancer diagnosis, sometimes the smallest gesture by a friend or family member can have the biggest impact. Just ask Jill Swanson Peltier of Mount Prospect.
When she was diagnosed with stage III colon cancer in 2014, it was a gift full of items to help make getting her chemo treatments more bearable.
It was the idea of that gift that launched Lemons of Love, which shares chemo care packages with cancer patients around the world.
Cathy Mataloni, program manager for Lemons of Love, talks about the organization and the Lemons on the Links fundraiser.
Q: What is Lemons of Love? Give a brief overview of what the organization does and who you serve.
A: Lemons of Love, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, was founded in 2014 when Jill Swanson Peltier was diagnosed with cancer.
Our mission is to deliver care packages, provide programs and make moments for anyone impacted by cancer. We support diagnosed individuals though our care packages and provide care for survivors and loved ones through psychosocial programs.
We believe everyone impacted by cancer should feel loved, supported and empowered to live better with a diagnosis.
Q: Where do the majority of your donations come from?
A: The majority of our donations come from individual donors and private foundations. Because our founder works in the racing industry, Lemons of Love has always been generously supported by the motorsport community.
Q: How many people per year do you serve?
A: In 2019, we served 4,600 cancer patients through our care package program and 180 survivors, caregivers and loved ones through our Lemons of Love Cancer Resource Center programs.
Q: What are some of your programs?
A: Since 2104, Lemons of Love has shared more than 16,100 care packages around the world.
• The Lemons of Love Chemo Care Package helps manage treatment's short-term side effects and bring a smile. During November, we share a special Veterans' Chemo Care Package with those in treatment at area VA hospitals.
• Our Kids' Holiday Care Packages are shared with any sick child, and their siblings, who are in the hospital during November and December.
Most of our chemo care packages are funded through philanthropy and delivered as gifts to hospitals and oncology centers. (Funded in part by corporate partners, third-party fundraisers and Lemons of Love events.)
In addition, packages can also be mailed to individuals by request and with a donation. To send a package to someone in cancer treatment, we ask that people go to our website and make a donation to cover the cost of the package and shipping.
A Lemons of Love Box is $65, while a Lemons of Love Tote Bag is $90.
In 2018, we opened the Lemons of Love Cancer Resource Center in Mount Prospect to offer free programs for anyone impacted by cancer, including Yoga4Cancer, nutrition and survivor education.
We also offer private head shavings, utilizing local stylists who volunteer their services. In addition, volunteers and corporate groups help us fund and fill care packages at our building.
Q: Tell us about the virtual golf outing. How does it work? How much does it cost?
A: After we had to cancel our fifth annual golf outing this year, we decided to make our Lemons on the Links outing a virtual event.
It's a flexible and fun way to support us while doing something people already love to do. Participants can golf anytime, anyplace and with anyone they choose.
To sign up, register on our Classy page and make a $50 (minimum) donation per golfer. Funds raised allow Lemons of Love to share chemo care packages with someone in treatment.
Q: How can people participate?
A: It's easy to participate -- just register your foursome, donate, then golf. Visit www.classy.org/campaign/virtual-golf-lemons-on-the-links-2020/c299714.
Our virtual outing began Sept. 14 and runs through Thursday, Dec. 31. Golfers who register and donate will receive a Lemons on the Links golf towel and will be eligible for prizes.
Q: How can readers help if they can't participate in the event?
A: Nongolfers can sponsor our event or make a donation on our Virtual Golf Classy.
Q: What else would you like readers to know?
A: Lemons of Love was founded on the premise that a small act of kindness can make a big impact. Today, it's still the guiding principle behind everything we do.
We believe that creating powerful moments for people impacted by cancer is not only important, but necessary.
To learn more about Lemons of Love, visit lemonsoflove.org/.
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Lemons on the Links
What: Golf outing to benefit Lemons of Love
When: Now through Thursday, Dec. 31
Cost: $50 (minimum) donation
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What's in a Lemons of Love Chemo Care Package?
Each Lemons of Love Chemo Care Package is packed in a painted box or reusable tote and contains:
• Organic body lotion for dry chemo skin
• Lip balm for chapped lips
• Purse-sized tissues
• Organic lemon drops for metallic chemo-taste
• Nuts for protein
• Ginger tea for nausea and insomnia
• Dark chocolate bar for sweet cravings
• Bottled spring water for hydration
• Superhero socks because you are one
• Lemin Superior Lemonade for when life gives you lemons
• Hand-drawn happy picture for smiles
• Lemons of Love reusable BPA-free water bottle
• Lemons of Love silicone bracelet
• Handmade donations like chemo hats and port pillows, as available