Russ Illes is a 64 year old father of two grown daughters with three granddaughters. His youngest daughter was diagnosed with ALL at age 3. Over the last 30 years the cancer has returned a total of six times. Each time taking a different form.
Russ has undergone therapy of one sort or another for 15 years and been involved with the Living with Cancer Support Group at South Shore Hospital in Weymouth, Ma. He was a volunteer in cancer hospice care for 8 years.
He is co-founder, leader and participant of a men’s support group that has been together for 24 years.
Russ has been involved with the “Friends of Hope” project at South Shore Hospital in Weymouth, Ma. from inception through implementation. The mission of this project is to give children, ages 4-10, whose parent or grandparent has cancer, a voice. The project is based on the book The Moon Balloon by Joan Drescher and training is provided by the author.
In addition to his volunteer work with the Friends of Hope, Russ has volunteered his time at the Magical Moon Foundation in Marshfield, Ma. which supports children with brain tumors and other life-tchallenging illnesses.
Based on his 34 years of experience, there is nothing in the community specifically aimed at supporting fathers of children with life-threatening illnesses. Russ’s goal is to create a safe place for dad’s to begin a “conversation”.