Giving Comfort to Cancer Patients​

Written by Nora Wallace on in LVMC News

The mission of the charitable organization known as “Lemons of Love” is to provide support and community to those impacted by cancer.

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The mission of the charitable organization known as “Lemons of Love” is to provide support and community to those impacted by cancer.

“We believe all people living with cancer can benefit from the power of human connections,” the founders say.

Lemons of Love raises money to create care packages filled with carefully-selected products to help ease the short-term side effects of treatment. They are designed to brighten a cancer patient’s day.

Recently, Lompoc Health - Hematology-Oncology practice was the recipient of some of the nonprofit’s signature bright yellow care packages.

The sturdy yellow boxes are designed specifically for people undergoing treatment. They are filled with body lotion for dry chemo skin; lip balm for chapped lips; tissue paper for tears or runny noses; lemon drops for metallic chemo-taste; herbal tea bags for nausea and insomnia; chocolate bar for sweet cravings; water for hydration; colorful theme socks for cold toes; hand-made knit cap for cold heads and a Lemons of Love “Fighter” silicone bracelet. Each box also includes a “Happy Picture” to provide a bit of cheer. The organization also packs special bags and other containers, as well as the boxes.

Lompoc Health was the recipient of the boxes thanks to the work of Emily Bertsch, a Certified Family Nurse Practitioner at the Hematology-Oncology practice of Dr. Donna Walker.

The founder of Lemons of Love, Jill Peltier, has been a business owner in the automotive racing industry. When she was diagnosed with Stage 3 colon cancer and undergoing chemotherapy, she received a care package from a friend. This gift inspired her, and she knew that other cancer patients would also benefit from the simple gifts. She chronicled her experience via a blog (#makingcancersuckless), and the nonprofit Lemons of Love was born.

Emily met Jill about four years ago when their paths crossed at a fun car racing event called “The 24 Hours of Lemons,” where teams participate in an endurance race with $500 cars. Jill was promoting and fundraising for Lemons of Love, and Emily was spectating and on the support crew for the team of her husband, Matt, who was participating in the race. Last month, Matt’s team raced at Buttonwillow Raceway Park while Emily volunteered to secure donations for Lemons of Love.

“These are a little comfort care package that targets specific needs chemo patients might have,” Emily explains.

Lemons of Love is set up to allow a care package donor to have a box or bag delivered to a patient’s home, or as a surprise at a specific treatment center, such as Lompoc Health’s Hematology-Oncology building.

“Sometimes, it’s difficult to know how to help family, friends, and co-workers who are diagnosed with cancer and going through chemotherapy,” the organization notes. “Sending a Lemons of Love chemo-care package is a great way to show your support from near or far.”

If you’d like to donate a care package to someone you know undergoing treatment at Lompoc Health’s Hematology-Oncology office, Emily and the staff will gratefully help you arrange delivery. For more information, visit lemonsoflove.org.

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Author: Nora Wallace, Public Relations

Nora Wallace was hired as LVMC’s Public Relations Coordinator in October 2014. She previously was employed as a newspaper reporter for 25 years at the Santa Barbara News-Press, primarily covering North County news. At LVMC, Nora is also responsible for the management of the Blue Coat hospital volunteers. She is a graduate of Santa Barbara City College and earned a Bachelor’s of Arts degree in journalism from San Francisco State University.

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