FORTY FORTY, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) – When it comes to dealing with cancer, getting well sometimes goes beyond a surgical procedure or a doctor’s prescription. Thousands of patients have turned to a local facility the past two decades to help fill an important void.
Candy’s Place found itself on the verge of closing in 2018 from lack of funding. But now it’s thriving again and helping clients like a Harveys Lake man who is receiving a vital layer of support in his health journey.
At first glance, it may seem like a billiard hall. But 35-year-old Mike Hage was shooting pool somewhere you might not expect. It’s Candy’s Place Cancer & Wellness Center in Forty Fort. He finds himself using this facility a lot these days nearly three years after he was stricken ill. “I was having a seizure when it happened and I woke up and I had 70 staples in the side of my head.”
Diagnosed with stage 3 astrocytoma, Mr. Hage’s brain cancer treatment required surgery, radiation and chemotherapy. Not being up to full strength took its toll in several ways. As he received treatment from Candy’s Place Certified Reflexologist Dave Jenkins, Mr. Hage said, “Through the cancer I’ve been a little bit lethargic so it’s nice to get loosened up.”
Reflexology is one of the therapies Mr. Hage enjoys that doesn’t cost him a penny. But he almost passed on these free services. He feared the resources were not intended for men. Candy’s Place Cancer & Wellness Center Director Lisa Orlandini said, “There is still the misconception that we are just for women.”
It’s a misconception Candy’s Place has worked hard at this year toward changing. It’s relocated within the 190 Welles Street Plaza to 3,000 more square feet to include what’s billed as a man cave that features a pool table. “Yeah, it really feels like it’s made for me,” said Mr. Hage.
The facility has also added new strength training equipment. Its staff vows to be there for any cancer patient — man or woman –18 and older. Ms. Orlandini said, “We’re here to offer a little bit of everything and then see what meets their needs.”
For Mr. Hage, those needs span from the physical to the emotional to the social. “I’m missing a little more brain than I used to but I’m pretty happy and I’ve got things to do in my life.”
Candy’s Place exists because of generosity from the community. It’s next big public event is a fundraising walk set for Saturday, May 18th.
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