Last year, a brother and sister sought a way to help a family member struggling with cancer. The two siblings came to our organization unsure of what to expect. As the two entered the building, they walked across the brick â€œmemoryâ€ path. The path consists of many bricks purchased by loved ones who either lost someone they love to cancer or have a loved one currently fighting against cancer. Inscribed in the bricks are messages honoring those courageous people. Before the brother and sister entered our building, they gazed down to see a brick with the inscriptions of both of their grandparentsâ€™ names. They realized Cancer Services was not unfamiliar to them; Cancer Services had already touched their lives, and they did not even know it. They felt a wave of relief rush over them as they realized they came to the right place.
Every year, thousands of people are diagnosed with cancer in Northeastern Indiana. Nearly everyone knows of someoneâ€”a family member, a friend, a co-worker, a neighborâ€”who has been affected by this disease. Our mission here at Cancer Services is to provide practical resources and emotional support to individuals diagnosed with cancer, to their families and to the community.
How do we do this?
At Cancer Services, we provide nutritional supplements, financial assistance to help cover the cost of medical/hospital bills, transportation to appointments, and counseling services to both our clients and their loved ones. We make it our mission to help our clients fight cancer and to assure them they are not alone.
In order to continue with our mission, we need help from those people who understand what it may be like to struggle through cancer or who knows what it is like watching a loved one battle this life-altering illness, while wishing they could do something to help alleviate the pain.
Consider dedicating a brick mentioned earlier in this post for someone you love who is currently fighting cancer or for someone you lost to cancer. These bricks include the name of your loved one and a message of â€œIn honor ofâ€¦â€ for those currently fighting cancer or â€œIn memory ofâ€¦â€ for those who lost the fight to cancer. These cost is $100 with funds contributing to our mission to help those people affected by cancer.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call us at 260-484-9560 or visit the Cancer Services website at cancer-services.org. Thank you for taking the time out of your schedule to read this post. Your gift WILL make a difference in our community.
by Amber Recker, development director
For the past few weeks, the first thing I’ve done every morning when I get into the office is pull up the Lapper website to see how much money we’ve raised for much-needed programs for people with cancer in our community. Today, our total surpassed $45,000. That will go a long way in supporting families dealing with the health crisis that is cancer.
Those who know me best, know how much this organization means to me. My job here is much more than a job- it feeds my soul because I know that every ounce of energy I put in directly and positively impacts someone in our community who needs help. Our entire team feels that way and we have the great honor of sharing a small part of the cancer journey with our clients; their strength, in the face of fear and great challenges, inspires us. That is why we do what we do.
You too can be inspired by joining us for Lapper 2011. Walk alongside those who have faced a cancer diagnosis and continue to thrive. We cannot do what we do without generous supporters like you. Even if you can’t walk, consider making a donation to the event and know that your treasure will be put to good use. Here’s a glimpse of what your donation provides:
- $50 provides a wig for someone who is going through treatment
- $100 provides one month of nutritional supplement for a client
- $500 provides a year’s worth of prescriptions, food and co-pay assistance to a client
- $850 provides one hospital bed
- $1,000 provides one year of emotional support
By Gail Hamm, Program Director
â€œâ€¦â€¦and wonder if I will be one of the survivorsâ€¦.â€
Recently a Cancer Servicesâ€™ client made the following comment on the evaluation she returned to us: â€œâ€¦ (I) wonder if I will be one of the survivorsâ€¦â€
This is a concern of most people who hear, â€œYou have cancer.â€ You do not know in that moment of stillness, what to expect next. It takes your breath away. Life stands still. In a split second, you remember all the dire stories you have ever heard, and forget the successes.
But the truth is, that everyoneâ€™s experience, while similar to othersâ€™, is really unique for that individual. You may or may not have the usual side effects. For some, the treatment and after effects are not significant to them. For others, the experience is so momentous that life is measured as â€œbefore cancerâ€ and â€œafter cancer.â€
At Cancer Services, we use the term â€œcancer survivorâ€ to mean anyone affected by cancer, from the moment of diagnosis forward. And it includes caregivers, as well. The term â€œcancer survivorâ€ was first used by Dr. Fitzhugh Mullan, who was diagnosed in 1975 with mediastinal seminoma. In 1985, he wrote an essay for the New England Journal of Medicine titled â€œSeasons of Survival.â€ In that article, he wrote of the uncertainty of the life of a person diagnosed with cancer. He coined the term â€œcancer survivorâ€ as an all-encompassing term identifying all people affected by cancer in any stage of survival. In a later interview on public radio, he said he wished that there were a better or more descriptive term to use. Even he recognized that people with cancer live in a sort of limbo, not knowing if they will survive the experience.
If there is a day when you need the reassurance that indeed you are a survivor who is surviving, just call your Cancer Servicesâ€™ Client Advocate. He or she is here to listen to you, to encourage you, to help you find the answers you need in order to better cope with your unique situation.
Cancer Services of Northeast Indiana is the first place to call after a diagnosis of cancer : (260) 484-9560 or toll free (866) 484-9560. â€¦.Serving people with cancer and their families since 1944.
Bring your family and join other cancer survivors at Lapper and Survivors Day at Foster Park, May 21. Lapper starts at9 am and the party for Survivors Day starts at 11 am. Fun, food, and festivities!
by Gail Hamm, program director
â€œI strongly feel that the people at Cancer Services have done their best to make me feel supported and you all have kept in touch with me to make sure that I am ok. Thank you for reaching out to me when I didnâ€™t reach out to you.â€ ~ A Cancer Services client
Clients say it better than I can. When you are diagnosed with cancer and do not know what to do next, call Cancer Services. A friendly, knowledgeable professional advocate is here to assist you.
Knowledge is power. Knowing what to expect before you travel the unknown paths of treatment and recovery can lessen the stress and help you heal faster. Dealing with financial issues, employment issues and day-to-day pressures is so much easier when these concerns are shared with a Cancer Servicesâ€™ client advocate.
The first call to make after a diagnosis of cancer is: (260) 484-9560 or toll free (866) 484-9560
by Lynette Fager
On Oct, 8, 2009, Sally Garrett Smithâ€™s life changedâ€”she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Less than a month later, she had surgery and soon after, she began radiation treatments. As a hair stylist, one of the things that hit the hardest about cancer for Sally was the almost certain reality that she would lose her hair.
But Sallyâ€™s response? â€œGet over it, girl!â€
She was determined that cancer would not define her, so she decided to give back. During her radiation treatments at Parkview Hospital, someone mentioned Cancer Services of Northeast Indiana and its Wig Salon. Sally told her husband, â€œWhen I get through this, maybe I can go over and help with the wigs or something.â€
And help she did. After she completed radiation, Sally contacted Cancer Services and said she wanted to be a volunteer, particularly in the Wig Salon. Cancer Services jumped at the opportunity because at the time, no one was in charge of the Wig Salon.
Sally spends a few hours a week styling wigs and â€œmaking them look great so that when women who have lost their hair come in, they can see the style, colors and options available.â€
But Sally understands that there is more to this journey than just finding a pretty wig; a womanâ€™s self-esteem is at stake. Thatâ€™s why she makes sure that anyone entering the Wig Salon knows that they can come to the salon where she works and have their hair cut or shaved and their new wig styled and fitted for free. Not only does this make it easier for women going through a cancer journey to feel better about themselves, but Sally also points out that this gives her a chance to build relationships with these women.
â€œI didnâ€™t lose my hair and I thank God for that, but I want to spare the women that do lose their hair as much pain as I can,â€ says Sally. â€œI want to help them keep their dignity.â€
When Kent passed away in October of 2008, he was only 62. He left behind his wife, Denise, and three daughters: Erin, Anna and Ashley. He had four sisters, one brother and countless in-laws and friends. Most participate in Cancer Servicesâ€™ Lapper each year. Many come together physically to walk, others walk with them by contributing financially. They even have family members contribute to the Lapper and walk in North Carolina the same morning they walk in Fort Wayne.
Kent was able to remain at home largely because of the emotional and financial support given to the family from Cancer Services.
â€œCSNIâ€™s staff was empathetic and made us feel like we were the only client they had,” Denise said. “Peter was Kent’s advocate. When we would stop to pick up tube feeding supplements, Peter would ask how much we needed and then carry them out to our car without delay. The tube feeding pump was a big help when Kent left the hospital. He eventually was able to give himself bolus feedings of which Cancer Services provided the supplies. When you have a family member affected by cancer, you need help from someone who understands.â€
The Lapper is one way for all who loved Kent to honor him and to pay it forward to Cancer Services so they can help other families in need.
Kentâ€™s daughter, Erin, summed it up beautifully: â€œI think about my dad every day — for no reason and for every reason. I don’t think about having good days and bad days anymore. Some days are just different. The day of the Lapper is one of those different days. His birthday, any holiday, and even the anniversary of his death are also different. Different isn’t good or bad, my life just isnâ€™t the same as I knew it before cancer.â€
Team Kent participates in the Lapper because it is an annual day that is all about Kent. It gives them the opportunity to come together in support of a good cause and in remembrance and honor of a great man. It is important to them that his life and the loss in his death are never forgotten by those he loved. That Saturday once a year, helps to ensure that it doesn’t.
â€œCancer Services of Northeast Indiana did a great deal to help my dad and our family during his illness,” Erin said. “Their positive impact on our family continues every summer when they provide us with our very own special Kent Day. Thank you to everyone who makes this event possible.”
In response to requests from clients and family members, Cancer Services will begin offering evening hours until 7:00pm on Monday nights starting January 10. A Client Advocate will be available to meet with individuals and provide access to all the services offered. We know life during cancer is complicated and we want to help. This is one more way Cancer Services is here for you.
Hours of Operation:
Monday 9am to 7pm, Tues-Friday 9am to 5pm
by Gail Hamm, program director
Sitting with a client or family member who is expressing deep emotion can be uncomfortable. But it is equally uncomfortable for the person who is opening her heart and expressing her deepest feelings. Cancer Servicesâ€™ advocates experience this opportunity on a daily basis. I say opportunity, because it is an opportunity. It’s an opportunity to actively listen and not have to offer advice or solutions; an opportunity to share sacred space with another human being.
What do you say to a man who has just told you that he has two months to live? What do you say to a mother who has just told you that her daughter will never see her sixth birthday? Advocates do not take this responsibility lightly. They realize the sacredness of the moment. It is all about being. Being present, being thoughtful, being in a listening mode. It is not necessarily about doing.
Care and compassion, empathy and acceptanceâ€¦..being with our clients and their families is the greatest gift Cancer Servicesâ€™ advocates can give.
Join us on Friday, September 24 for Friends for Lunch, which is designed for those interested in learning more about Cancer Services. It includes a light lunch, tour, and a brief question and answer session. We value your time, so the program will last only one hour. Please call or email Amber for reservations if you are interested. (260) 484-9560, firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you can’t make it this month, don’t worry. We host Friends for Lunch the 4th Friday of every month.