Throughout this issue, we’re talking about wellness and preventive measures to stave off illness and infection. Another significant part of health is how we treat and fight diseases like cancer after diagnosis. That’s where Annette Walker and City of Hope Orange County come in. Walker, one of Orange Coast’s Kickass Women this year, is the president of City of Hope Orange County, which opens its Lennar Foundation Cancer Center in Irvine this month. “It almost seems unreal after working on paper for four years and through COVID-19 and everything else,” she said in the weeks leading up to the center’s opening.
Walker says it will be the most advanced cancer diagnostic and research center in Orange County, so patients will get top-level care right here at home. But she knows the significance of the $1 billion project is more than finishing construction. “We aren’t just putting up a building,” she says. “We’re putting up a place where life is going to happen. It’s very special.” There are many players involved in this endeavor, and Walker is mindful of it all. “I’ve learned so much about the art between contractors and the fire department and California Department of Public Health and everyone. It’s like a ballet. The challenge is keeping them all going so one thing doesn’t hold up the rest. I’ve developed so much respect for the construction industry.”
That camaraderie is crucial for success, and it turns out a sense of community is also one of the most important facets of well-being. Strong relationships with friends and family lead to less stress, a greater sense of purpose, and a longer life. So as you check out 10 local experts’ advice about diet, exercise, sleep, and other healthful habits (Page 80), be sure to treasure your social ties, too. We think our community is a special one, and we want it to thrive.