Although they have never met in person, cancer patient Yanet Castaneda Santos feels very connected to everyone at Waterford Place Cancer Resource Center. And although she has never set foot in the building, she says, “I feel like it’s my other home.”
Yanet, 44, began participating in Waterford Place programs in April, after the transition to virtual programming due to COVID-19. Since then, the Romeoville resident, who speaks only Spanish, has successfully completed treatment for breast cancer but continues to participate in every Waterford program she can, including educational presentations, support groups, connection calls, meditations, craft workshops and cooking demonstrations – all held virtually.
“It has helped me a lot,” she says. “I feel stronger after finding a support group and other programs at Waterford Place. I have found a place where I feel better.”
Waterford Place Cancer Resource Center provides services and support, free of charge, to anyone impacted by a cancer diagnosis. All programs are now virtual and include: information and education programs; support groups; wellness programs like yoga classes and cooking demonstrations; mind, body and spirit programs to reduce stress; and salon and spa services that include virtual wig-fitting services and oncology skin care consultations.
“After a cancer diagnosis, you feel that there isn’t a place or anyone who can understand you,” Yanet says, “but thank God this place exists. I don’t know what would have happened to me without it; my experience would have been very different.”
Yanet enjoys the weekly Connection Calls which allow her to share day-to-day feelings and experiences with other Waterford Place participants. “I know that they understand me,” she says. The weekly calls are offered in both English and Spanish, as are many of Waterford’s programs.
Saying she would recommend Waterford Place to other cancer patients, Yanet explains, “Everyone needs strength and support to face this disease. Here is where you find people who can understand and empathize with you because they are going through the same situation as you. This is a center that changes our lives. It’s my special place.”