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Help Patients in Need

Want to find out how you can make a difference in the life of a cancer patient? Learn more about making a tax-deductible gift to NCH's Cancer Patient Assistance Fund.

A Helping Hand

Popular fund helps NCH cancer patients

Supported entirely by charitable gifts from the community and the Northwest Community Healthcare (NCH) family, the Foundation's Cancer Patient Assistance Fund provides emergency financial aid for financially strapped cancer patients in treatment.

Most recipients of the cancer assistance fund are working, but they may have more expenses or become too sick to work. A spouse may have to quit work to care for them, creating overwhelming financial challenges. Few options exist for help with household bills, so the NCH program fills a void—and the application process is easy and fast. Kim Jensen, NCH oncology social worker, administers the program. "We process applications quickly, so our patients can stop worrying about finances and focus on getting well," Jensen says.

Established more than a decade ago by NCH cancer floor volunteer Diana Bloem, the fund provides short-term grants to about 30 patients each year. The grants help cover expenses such as rent or a mortgage, utilities, child care, groceries, car repairs and gasoline purchases. "Our cancer patients are brave people," Bloem says. "No one struggling with this disease should have to worry about whether there is enough gas to get to the doctor's office—or if there is food in the pantry. They need help now."

NCH employees agree with Bloem. The Cancer Patient Assistance Fund is a popular choice during the Foundation's annual Employee Giving Campaign. About 25 percent of employee donors choose to support the Cancer Patient Assistance Fund. Many say they choose the fund because even a small gift can make a big difference—and they know the money goes directly to those in need.

One grateful patient who receives aid is Angela. Diagnosed with breast cancer last summer at age 47, she works for a small company with limited benefits and health insurance premiums that keep increasing. Maintaining monthly payments for her car, insurance, rent and cell phone—on top of medical expenses—became a source of anxiety during Angela's treatment. "Sometimes I wondered, 'Should I refill my gas tank or pay for my prescriptions?'" Angela says. "The grant I received really helped a lot."

Angela has a message for Cancer Patient Assistance Fund donors. "You have made my road to recovery easier in an extremely difficult situation," she says. "It's such a beautiful thing that people like you choose to help others. I will never forget your generosity."

Angela reports that she is feeling better and her strength and energy are returning.

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Last Updated 04/10/2009