In Memory of Candy

Our Mission

As a cancer wellness resource center, we work hard to provide services to our cancer clients and their loved ones in a welcoming, supportive, and relaxing environment.

Our Story

A Cancer Wellness Resource Center for those Living with Cancer and their Loved Ones

The Cancer Wellness Center was founded in memory of Candice Vincent-Mamary. As a beloved mother, wife, daughter and sister, a renowned social worker, and a friend to all, Candy brightened every room she entered. She charmed everyone she met with her bright eyes, warm smile, and caring gaze. She had style and she had grace. When holding a conversation, she gave every ounce of attention, making each person with whom she spoke feel as though they were the most important person in the world, if only for a moment. 

Candy gave her time generously and indiscriminately. She loved her family and friends, as well as the children with whom she worked tirelessly. Admired by many for her integrity, honesty, and dedication to human rights and social justice, she was highly revered for her commitment and her accomplishments as a social worker. She still impacts the lives of those she helped. 

Candy led a very active and healthy lifestyle and was not a smoker. Still, in 1997, Candy was diagnosed with end-stage lung cancer. She was determined to make something positive out of a difficult situation. As she famously said, “No negativity in my aura.” Although she fought valiantly, Candy lost her battle with lung cancer only six months after diagnosis. Before she died, Candy reminded her sister, Penny, of her hope that some good might come from her fight against the disease. 

Penny made it happen for her sister. In 1998, at Penny’s kitchen table, friends and family gathered to form an organization that would become a valued resource center for those living with cancer and their families. This second home would forever be known as The Cancer Wellness Center at Candy’s Place.

Our First Location

The Cancer Wellness Center was first located in the Kirby Health Center in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. Unsurprisingly, it quickly flourished, providing a positive and loving environment for those living with cancer. The Cancer Wellness Center began offering special, gentle exercise classes and the “Look Good, Feel Better” program in conjunction with the American Cancer Society. For many, it was the most reliable place to find educational materials, supportive services, and community resources. 

Finding a “Home”

In 2005, The Cancer Wellness Center was able to further the dream. Through the generosity of Kim and Rob Mericle, and Mericle Commercial Real Estate Services, The Cancer Wellness Center was able to offer services and programs under a single roof. With 4,000 square feet of space, the organization was able to grow and welcome more clients than ever before. 

Again, in February 2019, the Mericle’s extended their kindness and generosity by providing an even larger space, with an additional 3,000 square feet, in the same complex. This location at 190 Welles Street resulted in a newly equipped fitness center, a brand new recreation room, including a pool table and large screen television, and plenty of space for rest and relaxation. Through the help of private donors and grants, annual fundraisers, and donations from individuals, corporations, and the community, The Cancer Wellness Center was able to find its true home.

What We’re About

With early support from The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, The Luzerne Foundation, and The Blue Ribbon Foundation, we have been able to fund a variety of essential programs and classes. From our humble beginnings at Penny’s kitchen table to our current incredible residence, hundreds of clients, survivors, caregivers, widows, widowers, and loved ones have benefitted from these services. 

The Cancer Wellness Center Board of Directors has carefully chosen to address the physical, emotional, and social needs of cancer patients in order to enhance their treatment. While great medical advancements have been made in cancer research, the disease’s emotional effects also require attention and care. By placing emphasis on the recovery and re-healing of the body, mind, and soul, The Cancer Wellness Center for greater quality of life before, during, and after treatment. 

Our goal is to make everyone who walks through the doors feel welcome, relaxed, and supported. New clients and their loved ones are sure to make life-long friendships with the Cancer Wellness Center staff and volunteers, while finding comfort and solidarity with fellow clients, survivors, and caregivers. Decades into this mission, people continue to find hope here. It’s exactly what Candy wanted. 

Our services are FREE to anyone 18 years or older with ANY cancer diagnosis. Up to 3 caregivers are FREE as well. Parents and caregivers of children with cancer are also eligible for our services. 

Penny Cunningham – Founder

Penny Cunningham founded the Cancer Wellness Center of NEPA in 1998 in memory of her sister, Candice, who passed away from lung cancer. Candy wanted a place for cancer patients and their families to feel comfortable and supported while undergoing treatment. Penny promised to fulfill her sister’s dream, thus the Cancer Wellness Center was born. 

Penny is a retired nurse and fitness instructor. She currently resides in Pittsburgh with her family. Although she lives miles away, you can still see Penny at the Cancer Wellness Center events throughout the year.