Loss propels Hinsdale woman into helping others overcome

The death of Molly Haunty's friend and sister-in-law in 2015 launched her into a group to which no one wants to belong. Like so many others, Haunty's life had been touched by cancer.

"Cancer is pervasive, unfortunately," Haunty said.

As her sister-in-law, Nancy, battled metastatic breast cancer, Haunty said she admired her friend's ability to continue living right up to the end. With help from her community, Nancy was empowered to travel, run and even climb a mountain while also fighting cancer. As a supporter and member of the Wellness House Board of Directors, Haunty is committed to providing that same life-giving support to others.

Since 1990, Wellness House has provided cancer patients and their families with resources, tools and support that extend beyond their medical treatment. Nutrition, exercise, stress management and emotional support are among the many programs aimed at meeting the psychosocial needs of those facing cancer and their families.

Shortly after the loss of Nancy, Haunty was introduced to the work of Wellness House by fellow Wellness House board member Anna Fiascone.

"I could not have written my name down fast enough," said Haunty, who stepped in to chair the wine auction portion of the 2016 Wellness House Ball. By 2018, she was co-chair of the ball itself, helping to raise more than $670,000.

This year, as a new member of the Wellness House Board, Haunty is co-chairing the annual Walk for Wellness House (see Page 30 for details). Set for Sunday, May 2, the event will be a hybrid of the traditional walk and the virtual event held in 2020.

Prior to COVID-19, thousands would gather at the Wellness House to begin their one-mile trek through the streets of Hinsdale. This year, participants will walk in small groups during reserved one-hour time slots. While some will step off from Wellness House, others will stroll through local forest preserves or a location of their own choosing.

Registration is open now at events.wellnesshouse.org.

Walk for Wellness House has set a goal to raise $550,000, but Haunty said the event isn't only about raising money.

"I think the walk, first and foremost ... is to celebrate the amazingness of the Wellness House," she said.

Haunty said she's impressed with how Wellness House has pivoted not only its fundraising methods through COVID-19, but also its programming. Hundreds of programs are now available online, making them accessible to people everywhere.

Just as a cancer diagnosis reaches far beyond the patient, the work of Wellness House reaches far beyond the immediate community.

As the entire Haunty family embarks on their own Wellness House walk on May 2, it will be with Nancy in mind.

"She was one of the kindest people I've ever had the privilege of knowing," Haunty said. "I hope Nancy knows the impact she had not just on me, but on her community."

- story by Sandy Illian Bosch, photo provided

Author Bio

Sandy Illian Bosch is a contributing writer to The Hinsdalean