AMERICAN CANCER SOCIETY FOUNDATION
July 28, 2009
1-800-227-2345. That is a phone number that is just as important to us as 911. The American Cancer Society. Our lifeline to knowledge and hope. My father and three uncles died of lung cancer. My grandmother had breast cancer. A friend of mine had skin cancer, another friend has lymphoma. I had ovarian and cervical cancer. But no cancer has affected me more than what has attacked my little sister. Brain cancer.
My baby sister has been fighting this disease for over 15 years. She lost her job, lost her medical insurance. Lost her ability to financially support herself. Lost her ability to drive, lost her car. Lost her home, lost her freedom, lost a lot of her friends. She had a second surgery in Feb. 2008. After she finally started to wake, she had a lot of difficulty recuperating. There were so many things to take care of. So many decisions to be made. Where do we start? What was going to happen next? Our mother, father and I were at the hospital and were strangers in town. We knew no one. How could we make decisions; we all lived in different states? As a Warren Township Relay for Life participant for the past few years, I knew exactly where to start. We called 1-800-ACS-2345. Carolyn was the friendly voice on the other end of the line. She made us feel welcome; she did not rush us off of the phone. She began by letting us know that we were not alone and that they were there to help us in any way they possibly could. She guaranteed that we would not have to go through any more confusion or apprehension on our own. She began by getting our name and address so that she could send us the information we needed quickly. She then started to help us assess our resources and needs. She went step by step explaining each and every detail of an organization that was referred to us. She gave us phone numbers, addresses, websites, emails, contact names, what they could provide us, hours of operations so that we could make educated decisions on what was needed.
Carolyn provided us with information on financial assistance for her rent and the outstanding medical bills that were mounting daily. Carolyn provided information for obtaining medical supplies, support groups, transportation for therapy, volunteer pilots providing transportation to and from Washington, DC at the National Cancer Institute. She provided us with numerous resources starting with long-distance caregivers to a foundation founded for my sister’s specific type of cancer, the National Brain Tumor Foundation. She had information on housing for the family while we stayed in Charlotte, at no cost to us. She gave us information on how to find a case manager to help organize all of her doctor appointments and treatments. How to schedule meals on wheels, pharmacy supplies delivered to your home, visiting nurse, housekeepers, insurance representatives, financial attorney to ward off the bill collectors. How to enlist volunteers to help, pre-plan for schedules and supplies, cooking, cleaning, bathing, communicating with your health care team and even our local bank.
So many items that never entered our mind but we DID need. We felt such a relief that we had a game plan and could actually see things falling into place with organizing, thus taking the load off of my sister so that she could focus on herself and getting better.
I am happy to say that my sister has moved to an apartment in Tennessee near our mother. She is able to cook simple meals and clean. She still has a small issue with her balance but that is improving. Her great personality is coming back and I so look forward to razzing my little sister again! Her short term memory has its ups and downs but the doctors have given us encouragement. I’m so proud of her and I love her so much! It’s amazing how far she has come in such a short time.
So if any volunteer for the Relay for Life or employee of the American Cancer Society questions if they are doing the right thing, you don’t think you can spare the $20 right now to donate, think again. Please reconsider. The lives you change and affect, may be your own. Or maybe someone you will never meet in your lifetime. Either way, by the help you provided either monetarily or volunteer wise to the American Cancer Society, WE now have hope that tomorrow is going to be better than today.
I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...
giving my sister back her quality of life by providing endless resources to her and her caregivers. She would not be able to live on her own without the help they provided.
Ways to make it better...
If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...
Reach out into the community more to educate them about the wonderful services offered.
What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...
Seeing direct results of our efforts through Relay For Life, caregiving to cancer patients and the legislative decisions actually put into place by their efforts.
The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...
Empathetic, generous, patient, helpful. They never asked for anything in return!
If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...
help so many more cancer patients that dont even know they are being helped by the American Cancer Society. Providing a better quality of life for patients by better care is essential for the families too.
Ways to make it better...
I had known about the American Cancer Society years before. I could have helped my father more with better resources than what he had.
In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...
Getting the word out on what they have to offer.
One thing I'd also say is that...
I understand there are several non-profits out there doing wonderful jobs but you cannot find anyone, anywhere that has not been touched by cancer in one form or another. EVERYONE will need some sort of cancer assistance eventually.
When was your last experience with this nonprofit?
Volunteer & Volunteered to help raise funds for ACS and was a caregiver to my sister.