CI Hero: Dunlap cancer survivor rallies friends, family; donates 114 blankets to Illinois CancerCare

CI Heroes

DUNLAP, Ill. (WMBD) — Providing armor in the form of a blanket to those currently on their cancer journey.

After a 2017 diagnosis of esophageal cancer, Dunlap’s Cathy Pusch received services provided by Illinois CancerCare.

“Somebody had brought me a blanket, and I thought it was more of just like a comfort item,” said Cathy Pusch. “Just something to kind of make you feel a little more comfortable during that first time, but I had come to realize really quickly…it’s because you get really cold.”

In celebration of her four-year cancer-free anniversary, she called on friends and family to help give back to the Peoria center.

“My goal was 20 blankets, and I had 30 right away,” said Pusch. “Then throughout the next month, I had friends and family, friends I hadn’t even spoken to since high school, obviously connected with this. It was something so small, but very personal to them, and everyone just really wanted to support and be a part of that.”

As blankets began filling up shopping carts and green totes, Pusch’s daughter Chloe said seeing her mom spearhead a donation event puts words into action.

“My mom always says ‘be brave, and be kind,’ and I think it’s really nice that everyone found a way to connect to it and help out with the whole cancer care center,” said Chloe Pusch.

The executive director for Illinois Cancercare’s Foundation said her donation sparks hope for current patients.

“We need that ripple effect,” said Tonda Thompson. “We need that tribe. As a foundation, we can only reach out so far. Our donors and our volunteers really take our mission to a much broader circle and then we’re able to help current patients that are fighting cancer today and that is just extremely important to feel loved and hugged by those around you.”

She said blankets provide more than warmth.

“What Cathy has done is just beautiful, because those patients who are newly diagnosed need their armor stronger than ever,” said Thompson.

In all, Pusch’s donation brought in 114 blankets. Each changing the lives of current patients one blanket at a time.

Through this submission form, you can nominate someone you know to be our next CI Hero.

More About Illinois CancerCare
Illinois CancerCare, P.C. is a comprehensive practice treating patients with cancer and blood diseases. Our focus is providing state-of-the-art treatments for our patients in the fight against these diseases while staying on the leading edge of breakthrough research and medicines. We are one of the largest private oncology practices in the nation, and we’re proud to say we have helped countless individuals overcome this disease to live healthy, inspiring lives.

Illinois CancerCare was founded in 1977 by Dr. Stephen Cullinan in Peoria, Illinois. Since then, our practice has grown to include 15 physicians and 14 different clinic locations. Our care team also includes 30 nurse practitioners and 80+ nurses – 40% of them certified as OCNs (Oncology Certified Nurses) – and more than 500 full- and part-time staff members.

More About Illinois CancerCare Foundation
The Illinois CancerCare Foundation is committed to funding Research, Education, and Awareness of a disease which affects 1 in 3 people. As we fight to find cures through nationally recognized research initiatives, it is our strong belief that our patients must have available to them every possible weapon in their battle. To make a difference, the Illinois CancerCare Foundation will seek support from the community by communicating these needs.

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