Naperville Mom is Bringing Joy to Orland Park Cancer Patients
Naperville mom Joy Harmon visited the Northwestern Medicine Cancer Center in Orland Park on Tuesday, June 13 to deliver care packages to patients receiving treatment.
Joy was diagnosed with breast cancer at just 39 years old. As a mom to two young kids, her diagnosis was daunting, but four years later she’s in remission and focused on giving back.
Bringing Joy began when, during one of her chemotherapy appointments, Joy and her sisters wanted to find a way to say thank you to the staff working through the holiday at the infusion center.
Joy reached out to her community, hoping to put together gift bags with hand sanitizer, socks, gift cards and more. The response was overwhelming, and within a few months, Joy had delivered hundreds of her Bags of Joy to staff and patients at the Northwestern Medicine Cancer Center in Warrenville over the next few months.
“As this has grown, I’ve seen how cancer patient stories might be different, but sometimes all anyone needs is someone to laugh with, cry with, or express frustration with,” says Joy. “We understand each other through these shared experiences, and Brining Joy has given me the opportunity to be that for some patients.”
On Tuesday, Joy dropped off bags with patients during their appointments in Orland Park and supplied the cancer center with enough bags to hand out for the next several months. All of their gifts are purchased through donations, and patients and their families who have been inspired by Joy’s mission often help package them for distribution.
“The chair can be so isolating, it’s just nice to know that someone is thinking about you and that you’re not alone,” says Amy Greene, MSW, adult oncology social worker at the Northwestern Medicine Cancer Center in Orland Park. “That’s what makes what Joy does so special.”
Joy says, “You’re always searching for the why – why did this happen to me? Why did I have to get cancer? I think Bringing Joy is my why.”
Joy hopes to keep connecting with more patients as the reach of Bringing Joy continues to grow. She now delivers her Bags of Joy to ten cancer centers in the Chicago area. On Friday, June 23, Bringing Joy will host their annual fundraiser. To learn more or donate, visit bringingjoy.org.
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