Yellow Brick Place, a future cancer resource and wellness center for the Mahoning Valley, is offering a glimpse at its plans from 1 to 4 p.m. July 15 at Austintown Township Park's Stacy Pavillion. The new nonprofit will disclose its plans to open a free cancer center that will bring answers to those inflicted with the disease.
"The motto of Yellow Brick Place is, 'There's no Place like Hope,' said Donna Detwiler, co-founder. "We believe people will seek treatment medically, of course, but we want to provide them with resources beyond that."
According to Donna's daughter Courtney Detwiler, there are non-profit organizations in Akron and Cleveland that offer a one-stop location for cancer patients to get answers and direction at no charge. She said her mom simply wanted to bring that to the Youngstown area.
Photo special to the Town Crier
Jack Savage of Liberty, Anna Aey of Canfield, Donna Detwiler of North Lima, and Barb Kosensky of Youngstown, are busy preparing for this Sunday’s introduction to Yellow Brick Place, a planned nonprofit cancer center that will offer free help to those inflicted with the disease. The event will be held at Stacy Pavilion in Austintown Township Park.
"Our goal is to have a facility cancer patients can come to for answers and services, including helping their families who are often forgotten," Courtney said.
The whole idea became serious back in 2010 when Donna received the Athena award. The cancer survivor gave a speech that included her dream of having a facility in the Mahoning Valley that would offer free help and services. In the audience was another cancer survivor, Anne Aey of Canfield. After the awards ceremony, Aey contacted Donna and the dream began to turn into reality.
Also joining the women was Jack Savage of Liberty, whose wife died after a battle with cancer.
"Christina fought a courageous battle against brain cancer for 10 years," Savage said.
He has since compiled links and other resources and created "Christina's Garden," a local non-profit.
"Our commitment began when we realized there were thousands of resources out there for cancer patients but the information is of no value if people don't know about them. We're trying to get the information to the people who need it," he said.
Although a physical facility does not yet exist, the founders still want to get the word out and begin fundraising to make it happen. They have filed for their 501(c)(3) status and are hoping to begin fundraising later this year. The goal is to raise $200,000 to get the Yellow Brick Place off the ground.
Courtney said the intent is to have one paid staff member and between 300 to 500 volunteers to help run the facility. Examples of what the new organization could do is to offer direction for those needing services, or offering some of the services themselves. It could be as simple as providing child care for a cancer patient who is undergoing therapy, or simply providing answers to a family's cancer questions.
To showcase everything the Yellow Brick Place plans to offer, the founders and a board of 15 volunteer directors decided to hold a public media day where Valley residents could come and see the vision.
"We are making our private hopes and dreams public," said Aey. "We are hopeful that others will come out and try to enjoy media day for Yellow Brick Place. Whether a person has been touched by cancer, has lost a loved one to cancer, or has been recently diagnosed, we want them to come and share some fellowship."
Courtney said Sunday's event is not a fundraiser, but is more of an introduction into what Yellow Brick Place is all about. Families attending will enjoy face painting, games and activities for the children, live entertainment, refreshments and the comedic story telling of John Hudson entitled: "At Least I Hope."
"Our goal this Sunday is to reach out and show the community what our goals are," Courtney said.
As for Donna, that goal is to reach out to others and let them know someone is there who knows what they are going through and to offer a helping hand.
"You can't give up," Donna said. "You have to keep fighting. We want those who have been touched by cancer to know that at Yellow Brick Place, there's no place like hope. "