Cancer Patients Toast Life, Love at Special Dinner

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Byline: Kelly Womer Daily Herald Correspondent

Roger and Cara Keller celebrated Valentine's Day a week late with a romantic candlelight dinner for two. They also made a toast to their love for each other and life.

Almost three years ago, Cara was diagnosed with bladder cancer and was faced with the reality of life and death.

"It was an incredibly scary experience," said Cara, who lives in Hickory Hills.

The couple decided to beat the cancer together. After three operations and chemotherapy, Cara will return to the doctor in a few weeks for the latest prognosis.

Meanwhile, the Kellers are thankful that they have each other and the Wellness House in Hinsdale, where they were among 25 couples coping with cancer who gathered recently for a special dinner.

The two-story house usually hosts support groups, educational seminars and individual counseling. But for the "Some Enchanted Evening" dinner, guests found tables for two beautifully set throughout the house.

"Events like this give you a chance to get close and be with your significant other," Cara said. "It makes it seem like Valentine's Day."

For the first time, the Wellness House catered a dinner for couples who could enjoy a full-course meal served by volunteers. After dinner, Hinsdale singer Kim Frankoveglia - whose father died of cancer - performed for the guests.

"It's a night just to be pampered and to honor the couples who are in all stages of cancer - some terminal and some who are fine," said Jeannie Cella, associate director for programming at Wellness House. …