We're sure that Orange County Supervisor Harriett Wieder is proud of many projects she has sponsored in her long years of public service. But we can't imagine one more fulfilling for her and beneficial to the community than her latest effort to bring a Wellness Community to Orange County.
For Wieder it's a labor of love and devotion to the memory of her sister, Estelle, who died two years ago of cancer--but not before she experienced the hope, help and improved quality of life that the Wellness Community concept offers.
The nonprofit, independent program is based on a principle that cancer sufferers need not be resigned to death. It promotes the concept that recovery might be enhanced, and the quality of life certainly improved, if cancer patients worked with their physicians in the fight to recover rather than being hopeless, helpless, passive victims.
For some patients, the fear of cancer causes as much suffering as the disease itself. The Wellness Community tries to provide its patients with the psychological, sociological and philosophical support they need to learn to live with their illness without panic.
The concept has worked well in Santa Monica and the Manhattan Beach area where hundreds of cancer patients meet each week in a comfortable homelike setting to exchange feelings and thoughts. Orange County could use some of those meetings that battle cancer and celebrate life with hope, not despair.