A legacy of helping OTHERS

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Cook family honors “amazing person” through support of wellness program

Jane Borg Cook was a successful business executive, civic leader and loving wife, mother and friend. “My wife was an amazing person,” says Rob Cook. “She still is.”

When Jane died in August 2008 after a long battle with breast cancer, her family looked for an appropriate way to honor her memory. Rob Cook says he and his children were determined to carry on what Jane would have done.

Wellness immediately came to mind. “Mom always believed the best medicine was to be active physically, mentally and emotionally,” says daughter Jennifer Davis. “Regular exercise and proper nutrition helped maintain her quality of life for 9 ½ years after her cancer diagnosis.”

Rob Cook approached Community Cancer Center Director Kimberly Ivester, who was developing a wellness program to help cancer patients cope with physical, social and emotional challenges. Exercise classes, nutrition guidance and holistic therapies would be available to patients at a minimal cost. “I asked what it would take to offer them at no cost,” recalls Cook. “That’s how it started.”

Cook, together with daughters Jennifer and Katy and son Robbie, made the initial donation. Other family members and close friends eventually tripled that amount. The Cook Cancer Wellness Program opened at St. Luke’s Hospital in August 2009 and moved to the Community Cancer Center in 2012.

The Cancer Wellness Program, includes the ability to work one-on-one with a professional such as a dietitian, social worker or cancer exercise specialist as well as participate in group classes such as yoga, Pilates and Tai Chi, and cooking demonstrations. “One thing I’m most proud of,” says Rob Cook, “is the Center will take any cancer patient as long as they are under a doctor’s care. It doesn’t matter where they receive treatment or where they live.”

Today the Cancer Wellness Program is so popular Rob Cook says it is bursting at the seams. His next goal is to ensure enough money is available to sustain the program well into the future. “There’s an ongoing need for programs such as these,” explains Cook. “Everybody I talk to knows someone who has had cancer and would benefit from this extra support.”

Mary Klinger, president of UnityPoint Health St. Luke’s Foundation, says your donation to the Cancer Wellness Program will help improve and enhance the quality of life for those affected by cancer. Adds Rob Cook, “We all agree Jane would love the concept of providing a place where all cancer survivors could go to be safe, comfortable and loved.” Through the Cancer Wellness Program, Jane Borg Cook’s legacy continues to inspire other cancer patients and help them thrive.

For information on how you can help, call St. Luke’s Foundation at (319) 369-7716.

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