May 12, 2011 07:28PM
● By Anonymous
In 2009, Anne Arundel County recorded more than 11,500 cancer cases; almost 7,000 of those cancer patients survived. The journey of all those afflicted with cancer is long and difficult…for everyone involved. Dr. Sullivan saw firsthand what her patients, their children and spouses needed—support, a safe haven, people to talk to who knew what they faced and how they felt. She began gathering support for her dream. When Janet Richardson-Pearson and her husband, Admiral Bill Pearson, learned of Sullivan’s plans, in the words of Janet Richardson-Pearson, “a match made in heaven” was formed.
Richardson-Pearson turned over the keys to a lovely, recently renovated, federal-style farmhouse on the edge of Annapolis. Wellness House has free use of the house as long as they need it. Additionally, Wellness House is being given two acres of land situated nearby on Crystal Spring Farm property, also owned by Richardson-Pearson, where a permanent facility, specifically designed for the needs of the Wellness House community, will be built.
In this sunny, peaceful haven important work is underway, serving cancer patients and their families. Every space is utilized with ten programs underway; more than 100 volunteers help and serve close to 300 members. There were more than 1,000 member visits in 2010.
Children are a major focus. While Kelly Sullivan’s dream is to eventually provide childcare for the children of cancer patients undergoing treatment, presently Wellness House provides enrichment and support activities for children, designed and supervised by licensed educational therapists. Children’s Lives Include Moment of Bravery (CLIMB) combines activities, crafts, journaling and talk-therapy for children ages five to 13. The middle schoolers’ program offers time to talk, tutoring by teacher-volunteers and socializing. A similar program has recently been launched for teens as well.
While the kids are giggling and weeping, eating cookies and making cards and flower arrangements for their sick parents, the adults—cancer patients, spouses, caregivers and friends—find help too. Massage therapy, yoga, and therapeutic art classes afford opportunities to sit down and simply talk within the supportive
community of Wellness House.
Executive Director, Jeff McNight, Sr., observes, “Our goals for the future are to go deeper, not broader. We are working to offer more programs, more support to more families stricken by the Big C.” No doubt, the dream that began with Dr. Sullivan’s patients will be fully realized by the dedicated staff, volunteers, members, donors and friends of Wellness House. Contact them at www.annapoliswellnesshouse.org or 4190-990-0941.