A group of Lake Barrington women have been gathering together on Wednesday nights for 17 years to get their nails done, eat snacks, drink some wine and talk about life.
One of their own, Denise Oetinger, was diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumor last fall. The disease, radiation and surgery have taken their toll on Denise, but she is an inspiration to her friends.
The women are sponsoring Team Denise which will run in the May 19, at the Arboretum of South Barrington.
“I participated in the Wellness walk/run last year, but now this year it will have a whole different meaning,” Barbara Aievoli said .
Aievoli said the Tanglewood Estates group started when Michelle Wuertz, was pregnant and prescribed bedrest.
“The whole neighborhood was new so a few people wanted to get together without leaving the neighborhood. Cindy Lobocki would do nails every Wednesday. We would put the kids to bed, have snacks and wine and talk about whatever was going on,” Aievoli said.
Years later, the children revealed that they would hide on the stairs and listen to the gossip, she said.
Aievoli lived in a different section of the subdivision, but was invited to join the group by Denise because their children went to preschool together.
The ladies got much more than a manicure on Wednesdays. They found lasting friendships and support through times of struggle.
“Over time, the group swelled to 14 to 16. They are now my best friends,” Aievoli said.
“In the beginning, the talk would be about how you were raising your children. Husbands were always a big conversation. We would talk about upcoming birthdays. We complained about husbands a lot less over time,” she said.
Two of the women are now grandmothers.
“Back then everything was about us, now we’re catching up with everyone else. It is kind of funny that way,” Aievoli said.
“We’ve had well more than our share of tragedies,” she said.
There were two divorces in the group and two children were involved in serious car accidents resulting in brain injuries. One of the women recently had a lung transplant. Aievoli’s mother had Alzheimer’s.
Aievoli has been involved with the Wellness Place as a caregiver. Last year, she walked in the Run/Walk. Her daughter was disappointed, so she told her she would run this year. Little did she know back then that she would be running for Denise.
Proceeds generated benefit Wellness Place cancer-related counseling, education and support programs which are provided free of charge to survivors, families and caregivers.