A new facility called the Erie Cancer Wellness Center plans to open in mid-September to provide support and programs for people and their families facing the emotional, physical and spiritual challenges of living with cancer.  "Our mission is to support people right here in our own community who are living with cancer as well as the people that care for them with non-medical support programs and services - completely free of charge," said Executive Director Sarah Humphrey.

Work is underway to transform 45-hundred square feet of space in an office plaza at 2212 West 15th Street, near Pittsburgh Avenue, for the mission of the new non-profit cancer wellness facility.   "Our cancer centers do a phenomenal job of treating cancer through surgery, chemotherapy and radiation -- but what's missing are those non-medical support services to help them deal with the emotional and psychological side effects and that's where we really hope to come in," Humphrey said, "and help those people and families with those types of side effects."

The space will become the hub for support programs and services for people facing a cancer diagnosis as well as those who love and care for them. The services will include counseling, support groups for specific types of cancer, cancer massage, yoga, Qigong, and meditation classes, educational lectures, book clubs, art and music therapy, and even a wig salon for those losing their hair from cancer treatments.  "So we are creating a beautiful compassionate space where anybody who's lost their hair because of chemotherapy can come in and have a wig styled just for them, completely free of charge, we are really excited about our wig salon," Humphrey said.

The center will host an open house in August, but guests need to register in advance.  

They plan to have initial services and programs underway by mid-September.

The executive director said she has visited similar free-standing cancer wellness facilities in Pittsburgh and Cleveland.  They keep their programs and services free by raising 80% of their costs through private donations and fund raising events.  That's the model Erie plans to follow.

To donate or learn more about the new non-profit Erie Cancer Wellness Center, click here.