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Wendy's Story of Hope


- Wendy

‘I need someone to talk to.’ That’s what I remember thinking time and time again as I grappled with the emotional baggage of cancer, but I didn’t know who to turn to. Noticing my struggles, one of my oncology nurses recommended RiverBend’s counseling services.

Unsure at first, but willing to try it out, I made the call and scheduled a session with a counselor, and I’m so happy I did!

With her help, I’ve learned how to hold onto hope to get me through some of my toughest days. She understands the gravity of what I’m going through and listens without judgement. I look forward to my regular check-ins with my counselor and always feel better after each session.

One of the best remedies for a heavy heart is finding someone strong enough to help you carry it. RiverBend’s counseling and support services are designed to help lighten the load of uncertainty and emotional distress that comes with cancer.

RiverBend’s team of licensed counselors provide counseling services to clients with individual sessions aimed at helping survivors deal with anxiety, depression, stress management, lifestyle changes, decision-making and coping with a serious condition.

When a client or their loved one first sits down with a RiverBend counselor their immediate goal is for the client to feel heard. Counselors listen and validate clients’ fears and concerns, but also help them recognize their resiliency.

RiverBend’s licensed counselors work hand-in-hand with the organization’s client advocates to connect survivors and their families with programs, resources and direct assistance. This coordinated level of support and focus has led to many great things, such as clients overcoming anxiety or depression, a parent explaining their diagnosis to their children, and survivors learning to manage their side effects.

RiverBend’s counseling services provide survivors a safe and non-judgmental environment where they can talk about their concerns. Clients and their loved ones are encouraged to learn more by calling (574) 287-4197.


Marilee's Story of Strength


- Marilee 

When I was told I needed a certain kind of cancer treatment I knew losing my hair was inevitable. I also knew I wanted a good wig and comfortable head coverings to have on hand, but I had no idea where to find them. My first thought was maybe a beauty salon could help me. Luckily, a friend of mine referred me to RiverBend.


RiverBend’s wig consultant was lovely to work with and assisted me with picking out a pixie cut wig and getting it perfectly styled and fitted. There is a certain strength I feel when wearing it, even on my toughest days my wig helps me feel good about myself.

Hair loss can be one of the most emotionally triggering side effects of cancer treatment.


For many survivors, changes in their appearance caused by cancer are difficult for them to cope with. It’s normal for survivors to feel insecure or sad over losing their hair. Wigs can give survivors the strength they need to overcome those feelings. Wigs also give survivors a sense of control and normalcy which is necessary for rebuilding their self-confidence.


At RiverBend, survivors are often referred to our wig salon from medical practitioners or they learn about it through the relationships and connections we already have with them.

The process begins with a simple conversation with our wig consultant where hair color and style preferences are discussed. Clients get more and more comfortable with the idea of wearing a wig as they learn about their options and get fitted for their wig.

Through grants and private donations, RiverBend is able to offer wigs to survivors at no charge. It’s an important part of our organization’s programming and continues to help our clients live well with cancer.

If you would like to help Marilee and survivors like her continue to build self-esteem and strength during their cancer journey please consider donating to RiverBend Cancer Services by clicking here.


Lori's Story of Peace

- Lori 

Survivors often call cancer ‘The Big C.’ For me, I refer to cancer as my ‘Big Three’: Hodgkin’s disease, thyroid cancer, and most recently lung cancer. Overwhelmed and weighed-down by the stress of it all, I started RiverBend’s Art Therapy program earlier this year before the removal of two lung lobes.


This form of therapy has helped me process major moments throughout my cancer journey and it continues to be a positive expressive outlet for me. Art Therapy gives me peace of mind and helps me cope with life amidst physical and emotional trauma.

Helping clients process and manage the psychological side effects of living with and recovering from cancer is a necessary part of improving their quality of life and providing them peace of mind. Art therapy is a program at RiverBend that’s helping survivors explore and express their feelings in a unique way.


Lori along with many other survivors benefit from the healing effects of art therapy via remote sessions with RiverBend’s art therapy counselor. They connect every week to discuss their art then explore and process their feelings. Art supplies are also routinely delivered to client homes to keep them well stocked for therapy sessions.


“Art Therapy is a form of emotional support; a creative tool clients can use to channel and calm some of the chaos surrounding cancer,” explained Dave Labrum, RiverBend’s Art Counselor. “Clients don’t need to be artfully gifted to benefit from this program although the pieces that evolve from therapy sessions are always beautiful in their own right.”


This type of therapy has proven to be particularly helpful to clients who may not be comfortable with RiverBend’s talk therapy options.


Through personal artwork and encouragement from our trained counselor, survivors learn to explore and process their feelings.


  • Decrease anxiety

  • Promote relaxation

  • Nurture self-expression

  • Process emotions

  • Build coping skills

  • Connect survivors

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