The Victory Center
NURTURING HAVEN FOR PEOPLE FIGHTING CANCER
Every community should have The Victory Center – a nurturing haven where people who are fighting cancer can go for support, exercise, nutrition, guided meditation, counseling, art projects, aromatherapy, massage, energy healing and reflexology – all available at no charge.
This is not a dream but a happy reality in Toledo, Ohio.
The mission of this exceptional nonprofit is “reaching out to cancer patients and their families – providing love, support, compassion, hope and laughter.”
The Lovell Foundation helped launch this now-thriving program in 1995 and has continued to support the pioneering project ever since.
“The services they offered were so soothing and calming. The staff and therapists were so loving and caring,” said Bonnie, who went on to serve as a volunteer at The Victory Center, then became a member of the board.
“I was overwhelmed with the kindness that was shown and the things that were offered – all perfectly free,” said Raina. “This is a place where you can just express your feelings and talk with people who’ve been there.”
Balancing Mind, Body & Spirit
“Chemo just tears you apart and beats you down. But at The Victory Center you come and get a treatment and it makes you feel like a person again,” said Robert, who has Hodgkin’s disease. “I could get my mind relieved – and that was the greatest thing ever – because if your mind’s not right, you’re not going to be able to beat this thing.”
Lori sought out The Victory Center when her breast cancer returned five years after her initial diagnosis. “I came for the support group – because I needed some answers to questions that I wasn’t getting from people who had not been through this.” She found what she was seeking.
“Our purpose is to comfort and balance mind, body and spirit during the fight against cancer,” said Executive Director Dianne Cherry, who joined the staff in 2010.
To date, the Lovell Foundation has provided $473,400 to The Victory Center for support groups, educational programs, healing touch, massage, Reiki, reflexology and other integrative therapies, as well as temporary staff support. The Victory Center addresses three key missions of the foundation – mental health, integrative medicine and cultural/spiritual enrichment.
Sherri, who is fighting ovarian cancer, said, “You leave here as a new person – like a whole weight has been lifted off your shoulders. I can’t describe it. It’s wonderful.”
Amazing Volunteers, Staff, Board
“This grassroots organization has grown exponentially because of volunteers, because of amazing staff support and superb board members who believed so strongly in this tiny agency that has grown and grown over the years,” Cherry said. “I had never heard of a place like this that provides such direct service for folks going through something so difficult – and everything is free.
For 18 years The Victory Center has raised the funds needed to provide a wide range of non-medical services at no charge to cancer patients and their families in northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan.
“Any kind of non-medical support a client could imagine is available at the center. The providers of services are impeccable in their specialties and amazing in their compassion,” one patient said.
“What I see is joy,” said exercise instructor Lori Brandt. “The friendships and relationships that a center like this provides, as well as the other therapies, are so important to their healing.”
Sue came to the center while recovering from bilateral breast surgery, chemo and radiation. “I learned many tools to strengthen my spirit, to brighten my days with positivity, and to spend less valuable energy and time on anxiety and fears. I remain so grateful.”
Free to Cancer Patients & Loved Ones
The Victory Center is a cheery facility that has worked hard to maintain its warm and non-clinical look and feel.
The core staff of five is supplemented by more than 20 therapists – all of who volunteer at least half of their time – and about 50 active volunteers, many who have used the center’s services. The board of directors is an active hands-on fundraising board.
More than 8,000 units of service are provided each year to about 500 cancer patients and family members. The annual budget is roughly $500,000 – funded entirely by foundation grants, private support and special-event fundraisers. The Victory Center receives no government funding and no insurance reimbursements.
Crystal said, “When my father was diagnosed with Stage IV colon cancer at the young age of 60, I had nowhere to turn. I found The Victory Center and my father enjoyed all the healing touch and massage therapies he could in the short time he lived from diagnosis to passing. I cannot imagine how much harder the experience would have been if we had not found The Victory Center. It is a wonderful safe haven – not only for cancer patients but their families as well.”
Steph said, “I have found peace of mind, body and spirit through one-on-one interactions with every person at The Victory Center who has spent time with me. Every city should be so fortunate to have a place like our Victory Center – a little piece of heaven at a time of upheaval.”