Supporter Spotlight: Lynn Viater
To meet Lynn is to be an automatic friend. Her zeal for getting things done is infectious, so when she takes on a project, you can be sure she’ll have an army of helpers alongside her. Consequently, her involvement has had a significant impact on RiverBend’s Wellness House, the survivors who take part in our programming, and the staff.
“My passion has always been oncology, especially pediatric oncology. That’s been my driver,” she says. It’s a passion that comes from her very core. She and her husband Chuck were living in Chicago with their four daughters when their youngest, Claire, was diagnosed with primary liver cancer. At just 15 months, it was a very serious, very rare disease that threw everything they knew in question.
Throughout treatment, Lynn and her family became actively involved in Claire’s pediatric unit, first visiting with other families going through treatment and decorating for holidays. Eventually, Lynn worked on a taskforce to raise significant funds for the pediatric oncology department. Following their subsequent move to Michiana, she began working in the pediatric oncology program at Memorial Hospital of South Bend as a family advocate. Then she was asked to establish and lead the first Ronald McDonald Family Room. Later, it was on to St. Joseph Regional Medical Center to further build the pediatric specialty clinics, the women’s breast center and other women’s health initiatives.
When she met Kate Voelker, who first introduced her to RiverBend, it was like meeting a kindred spirit. Both women work tirelessly to see to it that those who are fighting cancer have the tools they need to thrive. “We’re both advocates for those with cancer,” she said. “It was natural that I’d want to help RiverBend in any way I can.”