This might seem a bit removed from CLE on the Cheap’s mission to bring you free and low-cost ways to have fun in Greater Cleveland, but bear with me.
When I think of the many free resources our community has, I can’t help thinking about The Gathering Place. For those who are unaware, The Gathering Place offers a variety of free programs and services for people affected by cancer. That includes people in treatment, people in remission, caregivers and other loved ones.
Obviously, cancer is not fun. But The Gathering Place offers support and activities geared for people dealing with this time-consuming, expensive disease. All the support and activities are free, and some are fun.
In the past three years, I have gone to The Gathering Place for lectures, used its library, participated in cooking and exercise classes and received massage, reiki and reflexology tailored for cancer survivors. (Sidebar: You are a survivor as soon as you’re diagnosed, because you’re still here.) The lectures and books were informative, the cooking class was fun and the massage, reiki and reflexology were soothing. I can’t honestly categorize the exercise as fun, but it seemed to be fun for some of the other participants. I would call it useful and important, though. Cancer and treatment zap your energy. As strange as it might sound, exercise helps relieve fatigue.
The Gathering Place has locations at 23300 Commerce Park in Beachwood and 25425 Center Ridge Road in Westlake (in the Corporate College West building) and generally offers the same programming at both. It puts out a quarterly calendar that includes activities at both sites and at The Gathering Place Richman Family Wellness Center, 23295 Commerce Park in Beachwood. The website also has a resources link. That link is how I found out about Caring Bridge, another free resource for people dealing with cancer.
If getting so many things for free makes you uncomfortable, you can donate here. There also are donation boxes at each facility. The Gathering Place relies on donations and volunteers to operate and to provide its many free programs and services.