Published February 14, 2008
night at Wellness
Bird Ryan and his wife, Terry, enjoyed a special night
Friday in a place he helped build.
More than 15 years ago when Wellness House was constructed, Ryan
volunteered his time to install the elevator. He had no
particular connection to cancer.
“It seemed like a great community service thing to do,” he said.
Now Bird, who is being treated for colon cancer, participates in
Wellness House programs. He and Terry particularly
enjoyed Some Enchanted Evening, a special Valentine’s
Day dinner for couples.
“The event was fabulous,” Bird said. “We got to meet a lot of the
other people behind the scenes — quite a few of the
board members, the people that work there during the
In addition to good company, the Ryans enjoyed good food. They each
chose a different entree so they could sample the
parmesan crusted chicken and the cheese ravioli. They
appreciated listening to the live music.
“They just put on a fabulous evening for couples to help them try
to reconnect,” Bird said.
Linda and Steve Scamardi probably wouldn’t have gone out for a
Valentine’s Day dinner if they had not been invited to
Some Enchanted Evening.
“People that are going through cancer and all of that are usually
stuck in a position where they don’t get out very much,”
Steve said. “This was just a real nice night for us to
be able to do that. It was wonderful. They had a nice
dinner and music and it was a real nice time.”
Linda, who has been coping with ovarian cancer since last fall,
said everyone at the dinner was made to feel special.
“They didn’t miss anything from the time we got there. They had
valet parking. Then we had hors d’oeuvres and a cocktail
hour. We had our own individual table that had
candlelight and flowers. Whatever you wanted, they were
they to help you.
“They treated everyone at each table like they were the only one
there and just made it a special night for everybody,”
The care and kindness demonstrated at Some Enchanted Evening are
typical of how Wellness House staff treat participants,
the couples said.
“I didn’t know them from beans and they’ve treated myself and my
family very well,” Bird said. “I hope to get back to
work someday, but for now its nice to know that I can go
over there and talk ... and the kids can go over there
Linda cared for her mother before she died from endometrial cancer
12 years ago, so she’s grateful her husband has a place
to go to talk about his feelings. And the programs
they’ve attended have helped them cope with other tough
situations, such as the recent loss of Steve’s father.
“A lot of the classes that we’ve been going to for support for
cancer are really life lessons and life support for you
in general,” she said.
As grateful as Bird is to the friends and neighbors who have helped
his family in so many ways, he appreciates the
opportunity to talk with other people who know exactly
what he’s going through. He also appreciates the
unforeseen benefits of his offer to install the elevator
so many years ago.
“If I was to say 15 years ago that I would be using the Wellness
House for myself I would have been shocked,” he said.
“In a way, it’s all one big circle.”
— Making a Difference is a yearlong
partnership between The Hinsdalean
and Wellness House to increase awareness about the
which works to encourage, educate and emotionally
working to overcome the affects of cancer in their work.