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A Christmas Tree for Cancer
12/17/2014

90-year-old Patient Wants to Share the Joy of the Holidays

A beautiful 12’ tree sits proudly in the treatment center at Presence Cancer Care in Joliet. It not only celebrates Christmas, but it represents life with and after cancer.

Adorned with ribbons of every color representing the different types of cancer, it brings joy and hope to patients and their families. The tree was donated by a friend of the Shepich family, and Lucille Shepich, the 90-year-old matriarch of the family who is currently in treatment for lung cancer, cheerfully cut and tied pink, pearl, yellow, lavender and more ribbons to represent breast, lung, bladder, and all cancers. Lucille wanted every cancer patient to be able to connect with what the tree represents, including those who lost their battles.

“We added feathers to represent the angels,” Luann Midlock, one of Lucille’s daughters said. Luann, Mary Jo Shepich and Jerry Shepich joined their mother to present the tree to the Presence Cancer Care center as did Kim Midlock, clinical nurse manager at Presence Cancer Care and Lucille’s granddaughter-in-law. Family friend 89 year-old Loretta Brncich also helped with making and donating ornaments for the tree.

Lucille had been frightened when she first was diagnosed with lung cancer, but her oncologist, Dr. Nafisa Burhani, quickly put her at ease with a low-key, honest approach. Lucille said she had two choices: do nothing or undergo chemotherapy. She chose the latter, scoffing at the notion of giving up.

Lucille plans to go back to Las Vegas to celebrate her 91st birthday in April, but first there is the joy that comes with Christmas, and she wants to help share her happiness with all affected by cancer.

 

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