FAYETTEVILLE, Ga. (October 6, 2010)—When Rene Christensen was diagnosed with breast cancer 12 years ago, she and her family began a long and bittersweet journey that ended in April 2010. Thankful for the role Cancer Wellness at Piedmont Hospital and Cancer Wellness at Piedmont Fayette Hospital played in improving the quality of her life during her illness, she and her husband George Christensen, D.M.D., decided to set aside a portion of their savings so that others may enjoy the same services closer to home in Fayetteville, Ga.
“Rene’s illness was a journey that I often characterize as a roller coaster ride,” Dr. Christensen said. “Most of the time, we were going up. But sometimes we would go down. And just when we thought it might not get better, sure enough things would go up again.”
During the journey, Rene benefited from therapeutic massage, counseling and a variety of other activities at Cancer Wellness at Piedmont Hospital in Atlanta. As the program grew at Piedmont Fayette Hospital, she was able to take advantage of some programs there as well. She often remarked how nice it would be to have a similar facility with expanded resources closer to home.
“We made the decision last fall, as Rene came to the realization that the roller coaster might not go back up, that this is what we would do with some of our resources,” Dr. Christensen said. “Cancer Wellness enabled us to enjoy much of that roller coaster journey, and I would not trade those twelve years for anything.”
The Christensen’s donation funded the Rene Christensen Memorial Library, which opened along with the complete Cancer Center at Piedmont Fayette Hospital. It is an educational resource for anyone whose life has been affected by cancer. Computers, books, magazines and other media help visitors research a variety of topics related to cancer.
“This library will be one of the most utilized areas of Cancer Wellness,” said Darrell Cutts, president and CEO or Piedmont Fayette Hospital. “When a person is diagnosed with cancer, resources like libraries and the Internet are an invaluable first step towards understanding the disease, treatments and recovery.”
Cancer Wellness at Piedmont Fayette Hospital recognizes that treatment is more than just surgery, chemotherapy or radiation treatments. Cancer is a highly complex disease that affects the whole person. Recovery is different for each case and each individual.
In addition to the resource library, Cancer Wellness programming includes the Wellness Cafe for regular cooking demonstrations, group activity rooms hosting a variety of free events as well as counseling and spiritual support from highly qualified staff. Thanks to generous community support, Cancer Wellness programs are free to anyone affected by cancer.
For George and Rene Christensen, the center’s availability to anyone free of charge was an important part of their decision to give.
“Rene and I were fortunate, but for some people it’s a real challenge,” Dr. Christensen said of the financial burden that often accompanies many cancer treatments. “A big part of our motivation to be a part of Cancer Wellness at Piedmont Fayette Hospital is that this is something available to people whether they can afford it or not.”
The entire Cancer Center at Piedmont Fayette Hospital would not have been possible without the generous philanthropic support of the community. To learn more about some of the individuals and organizations that helped make this center possible, visit facebook.com/PiedmontCancerCenter.
Visit the Cancer Center video library and watch Dr. Christensen talk about Rene and the Cancer Wellness Center.
For more information on the center including a complete listing of upcoming wellness programs, visit piedmontfayette.org/littlec.