This year, more than 1.6 million people in the U.S. will be diagnosed with cancer. 1.6 million. Just this year. Chances are, you know someone who’s living with cancer. Or giving care to someone with cancer. I know I do. My neighbors do. My friends do. My Facebook friends do. As if the cancer wasn’t enough to deal with, many of those who are diagnosed aren’t able to pay for much besides the cancer treatments- the costs of treatment alone even with insurance is staggering… which means the little luxuries we may take for granted that might make life a bit easier, or seem more normal? Not there. Or at least, there’s just not money left for those luxuries. I’m writing this post today on behalf of Giving Comfort, a nonprofit program that provides patients in need with their Comfort Kits. These kits are packages specifically for cancer care- filled with items to help give comfort during cancer treatments.
There are 12 different kinds of Comfort Kits available for purchase or donation. The McKesson Foundation’s nonprofit program, Giving Comfort, provides these Comfort Kits to patients in cancer treatment centers, hospitality houses and support communities. Consumers can also purchase kits for gifts, with the proceeds going towards making kits for others in need. Living with cancer is bad enough. Having to exhaust so many financial resources to get through cancer treatments is just so unfair, and it really does take a financial (and emotional) toll on most families. I think Giving Comfort is a pretty amazing program that gifts to gift and takes proceeds to continue to give more.
There are kits for younger boys and girls, teen boys and girls, men and women (with a few options for each), one called simply “Thinking of You,” and also, one for caregivers. I really like that caregivers are included in the Giving Comfort program- I know that often the caregivers sacrifice so much and don’t often have the time nor take the time to do something nice for themselves. I was asked to choose a Comfort Kit for someone and while I’m not able to disclose her name, there’s a young girl in a neighboring community who’s been through so much with cancer and as soon as the Teen Girl Kit arrives at my house, I’ll be bringing it along to a friend who can deliver directly to Miss A. I’d reached out to my friend because her mom’s been going through treatments and I thought it might be a nice thing to brighten her day, and Kim told me about Miss A– we both agreed she’d be the perfect person to gift this kit to.
There are so many stories in so many of our lives of how cancer has touched us. There’s a woman in church, Nancy, who’s been undergoing treatment for brain cancer- she’s at church whenever she’s feeling up to it. She’s missed a bit, but there’s so many members who check in on her and update the rest of our congregation. Today a few of the kids on the varsity soccer team were helping out at the K-1 soccer program, and I noticed they all had shirts on with the same message printed on the back ” In honor of Nancy.” It never just touches the person who’s fighting that cancer. The ribbons, the shirts, fundraisers, prayers, events…you can see just how far those tentacles reach when you see those who come together to fight alongside their family, their friends, their neighbors.
My friend Christie was diagnosed with Cervical Cancer about 5 minutes before a press trip we were both SO EXCITED to go on last year. We were talking about sneaking in a quick trip to the parks the day the event started because she was local and I was flying in early, and then all of the sudden she was like “can I call you” and my heart broke into eleventy billion pieces for her ten times over. She did come on the trip and we made it super fun and then she went and kicked cancer to the curb but you can read her story on her site. She’s lucky. I”m lucky I can call her my friend. (I also need to call her, so Christie, clear a few min next week please!)
We all know someone. We do. If you are one of the very few who don’t, you are lucky.
I’ve talked with you all before of baby Jamie. My friend and fellow MOMS Club member Kelly’s little girl, she was 2 weeks older than my littlest one, and was diagnosed with a really rare liver cancer at just 11 weeks old. Jamie lost her fight at 5 1/2 months. Jamie’s parents started Jamie’s Run (The JK5K) just a few months after her death, to raise funds for Connecticut Children’s Medical Center. In year one, they raised funds to help support the cancer treatment center. In years since, including 2013, they’ve raised funds to support both the financial and emotional burdens placed on families during treatments. I can honestly tell you that until Jamie came into our lives, I hadn’t fully experienced nor had a clue just what cancer can do — it’s tentacles just reach into every part of a family’s life.
That’s the thing about cancer. It really does have tentacles that just reach and reach into so many parts of your life. Missing work or school because of feeling ill- or because your loved one is feeling ill and you need to care for them. The added expenses of copay after copay, medications, additional medications to ward off side effects from treatment, gas to get to those treatments, parking costs, the list gets very long, very fast. All of these added costs just seem so unfair when a family is already dealing with such a huge thing like cancer, you know?
I’m thankful for programs like Giving Comfort that are able to offer some kind of relief and give a little comfort to those who are undergoing cancer treatments. I hope you’ll visit them and support them by liking their page, perhaps purchasing a kit or donating for a kit to go to someone else in need.