Faces of Hope in the Fight Against Breast Cancer

A Welcoming Face

Don Sutenbach’s face might be the first thing you see when you walk in to the Edward Cancer Center.

He’s logged nearly 2,500 hours at Edward with his volunteer group, Faces of Hope.

“We will do the non-medical things in support of the patients and help out the nurses, the doctors,” said Sutenbach. “Let them concentrate on the medical stuff to get folks better and through their treatment. [We get] them pillows and blankets, offering them snacks, we have a lunch program.”

Family History

Sutenbach is himself a 17-year prostate cancer survivor. His daughter Jodi just finished breast cancer treatment for the second time, but the family’s journey with breast cancer started with Don’s wife Margaret, who fought the disease for 30 years before dying this summer.

She was a source of strength for Jodi when she was first diagnosed in 2017.

“The first thing I thought about was, wait a minute, Mom’s already been doing this for, at that point, 28 years. Hold on, there’s a way to get through this,” said Jodi.

Every Case is Different

Dr. Joseph Kash was the oncologist that treated Margaret. Jodi and Don knew they wanted the same doctors for Jodi’s treatment. But with cancer, Dr. Kash stressed that every case is different.

“Each individual you’re making that decision, that judgment of ‘how is the treatment working? What are the side effects? Is the benefit better than the downside?’” said Kash.

Jodi beat the disease, but at a checkup just two years later, doctors found a tumor in the same place.

She’s now regaining her strength after her latest treatment. As for Don, he continues to make an impact.

“Equal to the best”

“[I] don’t want to ever compare one person to [another] person, but he’s equal to the best of the volunteers here,” said Dr. Kash about Don. “Both from patient and staff standpoint. Don is and was somebody that went above and beyond in helping people.”

And soon, volunteering at the cancer center could be a family affair.

“Everyone did so much for me in this process and for my mom that I want to give back too,” said Jodi. “So as soon as I’m in a position to be able to do so, I want to be able to do it too.”

Two “faces of hope” in the fight against cancer.

Naperville News 17’s Casey Krajewski reports.

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