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Family Wellness Day event benefits Dayton-area cancer patients

April 23, 2018

According to the National Cancer Institute, in 2017 more than 252,000 women were diagnosed with breast cancer in the United States. Kettering Medical Center Foundation is working hard to support local cancer patients through awareness and fundraising efforts that keep the money right here at home.  As part of their efforts, Kettering Medical Center Foundation and Kettering Cancer Care are partnering for Family Wellness Day.

Family Wellness Day featuring the 24th annual Walk for Women’s Wellness is on Sunday, May 6 from 12-4 p.m. at the Kettering Cancer Center Pavilion on the campus of Kettering Medical Center.  This year’s Family Wellness Day features a great mix of vendor boutiques, food trucks, cooking demonstrations, a health fair, and of course, the walk, set to start at 2 p.m. The featured walk benefits the Women’s Wellness Fund, which helps medically underserved women in the community to receive cancer screenings and services.

Since its inception, the Women’s Wellness Fund has raised more than $1.2 million and provided services to over 15,000 women in Dayton and surrounding areas. The fund supports direct patient needs, providing mammograms, wigs, medications and other essentials during the breast cancer journey. The Kettering Medical Center Foundation works with the team from Kettering Breast Evaluation Center to distribute the funds to those who are in need.

The event has expanded from its original focus on women’s wellness to include the rest of the family. Cancer touches the patient as well as her family, friends, and everyone around her.  The growth of the event to encompass the entire family is reflective of the need to better support women going through the cancer journey.

“Every female cancer patient I have ever encountered has always been more concerned about how this impacts her children, husband, relationships, financial burdens, and so on,” says Elizabeth Koelker, Executive Director of cancer services for Kettering Health Network. “Sometimes women care more about the impact on the people around them than themselves. So we feel, to better meet the needs of the women we are helping, this event provides a fun, inclusive activity for the whole family.”

Cancer survivor Laura Grodrian is serving as community chair on the event.  “Beating breast cancer takes courage and faith. Without friends and family surrounding me with love and support it would have been a tough, lonely and scary journey. They helped me maintain my mantra: "Cancer will not steal my joy,” says Grodrian.

The featured speaker will be emergency medicine physician Carrie Baker, DO, who will share her story of cancer diagnosis right before she was to be married to her now-husband, Mike, a Dayton police officer. Hosting the Wellness Day event as honorary chair is Mix 107.7 radio personality Kim Faris.

“We have about 300 employees who have dedicated their lives to caring for cancer patients. One of the reasons we do this event is that our employees and patients see one another as family,” says Koelker. “This event is an outlet for our patients and staff to support each other in a non-clinical environment. I love seeing the energy between patients, survivors, staff, and physicians, and knowing that all the money raised comes right back into our program.”

Those who wish to take part in the walk are encouraged to register early and either start a team and invite others to sign up or join an existing team. You can click here to register for the walk online or call (937) 395-8607. Registration is $25 per person and includes an event t-shirt.

In addition to participating in the walk, you can be involved in a number of other ways, as well, like serving as a volunteer. Those interested in volunteering should contact Amber Rose, director of special events, at or call the number above.