Month: July 2019

From the Desk of Reception Volunteers

Reception Volunteers

From the Desk of…

Cancer Care Service’s Reception Volunteers

There’s no way to know exactly what brings a person to our door before they arrive. But there is one way to let anyone struggling with cancer know they’ve come to a place where they will be welcomed and respected, and that is to greet them with a smile.

Without necessarily instructing them to do so, the many volunteers who staff our reception desk throughout the week each have developed this same standard procedure – and while it may seem common sense, the satisfaction they derive from the simplest of gestures is immense.

“In the world we live in, too many people are plugged into their phone, tablet, and themselves. Less and less are people plugged into others and what is going on around them. When clients come in I always greet them with a smile and make a personal comment to them. I try to make them feel special and important when they walk in the door at Cancer Care Services.”

“I was in the same boat in 2013-14, going through cancer myself, and can relate to much of what the clients I see coming in are dealing with. You never know when just a simple thing like that can brighten someone’s otherwise dark day. Sometimes people just need someone to take the time to look up, see them, and listen for a minute.” – Nancy

Or, when the phone rings, “I am the first voice that a client will hear when they finally have time to pick up the phone and call. I want to make sure that I am as helpful and happy for them, to make their experience at Cancer Care Services as positive as possible from the very first contact.” – Jackie

These volunteers don’t take anything for granted. Some even tailor their wardrobe to suit the occasion, “I try to present a cheerful welcome as people come in the door because I know from experience that sometimes it can be little things like bright colors (rather than medical scrubs) that can add up to make a big difference in someone’s otherwise difficult day.” – Gena

Of course, Cancer Care clients come in all ages, ethnicities, and genders – from many different backgrounds but all with cancer in common. Just like our clients, our volunteers come from a variety of backgrounds and experiences. Many are cancer survivors or caregivers; others are former healthcare professionals. Not all of them, however, understood the breadth and depth of what Cancer Care Services makes available to our community until they started spending time in the building.

“Cancer Care Services provides such a variety of support – for all. Cancer Care fills in some of the gaps that are lacking in our healthcare system.” – Marilyn

“I learned that the organization supports caregivers and survivors as well as patients. I don’t think caregivers always know that they need support too so the fact that Cancer Care Services works to make people aware of their programs is so important.”

“I was really touched to learn how Cancer Care supports children who are dealing with cancer in their lives with play therapy and other events specifically geared toward children and their family units.” – Gena

“Cancer can strike anyone, in any walk of life, at any time in their life. I have learned that once you “beat” cancer, there are still so many mental, physical, and financial challenges that need to be dealt with for many years after. I am so grateful to be able to share the knowledge that Cancer Care exists and is here to help people of all types.” – Jackie

“As a volunteer, I have learned a lot more about how Cancer Care Services works – more than I knew when I was working as an RN Case Manager making referrals for my patients. I wish more local Case Managers and Social Workers could spend just a few hours in the Cancer Care building to better understand how the agency can help lighten the load for many; it really is an oasis in the midst of dysfunction in the healthcare system.” – Marilyn

In some instances, laughter may be the best medicine, but around the offices of Cancer Care Services, a smile is a powerful tool we use on a daily basis. It’s part of our culture because it serves as an outward expression of hope, comfort, and connection between human beings finding their way.

“I love helping connect clients to resources they need through our social work team, but I also really love my one on one time with them at the desk, too. I was lucky one day to have a set of donated Texas Rangers baseball tickets to give to a family for free; they were so surprised and cried tears of happiness at the opportunity to spend some time away from doctors and simply focus on being a family and having fun. I still smile when I think about it.” – Jocelyn

If you would like to become one of our reception volunteers, fill out our online volunteer form today to get started.

We shall never know all the good that a simple smile can do.
– Mother Teresa

The Cost of Cancer

The cost of cancer is often expensive.

What is the cost of cancer treatment?

According to many who work in oncology, immunotherapy “is the future” of cancer care. The American Society of Clinical Oncology defines immunotherapy (also called biologic therapy) as a type of cancer treatment that boosts the body’s natural defenses to fight cancer.

But sadly, the miracle is often unattainable because the cost of cancer treatment can be unaffordable unless the patient is fortunate enough to have an insurer willing to approve expensive coverage. For instance, the well-known drug Keytruda (pembrolizumab) is priced at $4,800 per dose (100mg/4mL vial). The drug is typically administered every 3 weeks, for a period as long as two years, depending upon the patient’s response and other conditions. The cost of cancer treatment quickly adds up to tens of thousands of dollars!

While we sadly cannot offer a solution that would make these new cancer therapies affordable for all, we feel strongly that we cannot lose sight of those who are impacted by the disease today, here and now, in our community. While there are hundreds upon hundreds of research entities across the nation planning new strategies in the war against cancer, the battle on the front line rages on. You likely know someone saying, “I’ve got it – now, today. What do I do?”

Cancer Care Services can provide a safety net (for those who qualify for financial assistance), a cushion to soften the blow when people find themselves up against this devastating disease. Even with health insurance, it’s all too common to hear stories of entire life savings being spent on the cost of cancer treatment. (The number one cause of personal bankruptcy is medical debt.) And you may be surprised to know that Cancer Care Services provides navigation services for everyone, no matter your income level.

The truth of the matter is that a cancer diagnosis can throw anyone into sudden, unexpected, and debilitating financial jeopardy. The financial stress of cancer is proven to increase the risk of death in cancer patients by more than 70%. That “financial toxicity” leads to patients worrying that, even if they survive, they’ll have nothing. Or worse yet, the longer they survive, the less their family will have. These are deep, dark fears that, honestly, you can help Cancer Care Services alleviate. Our team of social workers provide expert guidance that is difficult to find in an out-of-hospital setting.

So while researchers are doing amazing things in the lab, we are proud to be doing some amazing things right here in Tarrant County. We invite you to come take a tour of our offices and meet some of the social workers and clients who can tell you their real-life stories. Because reducing the devastating impact of cancer on an individual’s life can have a healing effect as profound as any miracle drug.

If you need help with the cost of cancer treatment, please contact us at 817-921-0653 or our online form to see if you qualify for our financial assistance or navigation programs.