The folks at Cancer Care Services have a tremendous commitment to help - and even bigger hearts!
Cancer Care Services Staff
President & CEO
Melanie Lara, CPA
Chief Financial Officer
Vice President of Operations
Finance Coordinator (AR)
Vice President of Philanthropy
Laura Misuk, MPA
Director of Grants & Advocacy
Community Engagement Manager
Donor Engagement Manager
Social Workers & Client Activities
Tracey Willingham, LMSW
Vice President of Client Programs
HIPAA Security Officer
James Earl II, LBSW, MPA
Director of Outreach and Health Equity
Margaritta Jackson, LBSW
Program Director/Social Worker
Annie Presley, LCSW, OSW-C
Niels Falk, LMSW
Program Manager, Social Worker
Intern Task Supervisor
Martti McMurry, MSW
Community Social Worker
Fernanda Valadez, BSW
Bilingual Community Social Worker
Brianna Silva, LPC
Child, Teen, and Young Adult Counselor
Client Connection Manager
Volunteer and Program Coordinator
Targeted Outreach Navigator
Community Health Worker
Kayla Plocar, LMSW
Arlington Social Worker
Dacia Whitaker, LMSW, OSW-C
Clinic Social Work Manager
Erinn Anderson, LMSW
Clinic Social Worker
Brittany Thornton, LBSW
Clinic Social Worker
Christi Jackson, LMSW
Clinic Social Worker
Emily Swearingen, LMSW
Clinic Social Worker
Lindsey Graham, MSW
Rural Clinic Social Worker
Lisa Hall, RD, CSO, LD
Registered Oncology Dietician
Caryn Fields, MS, RD, LD, CNSC
Registered Oncology Dietician
Our Mission and Organizational History.
Mission Statement: Cancer Care Services supports cancer patients, cares for the caregiver, and empowers survivors to reduce the impact of cancer in Tarrant County.
Inclusiveness Statement: We actively seek to promote access, equity, and inclusiveness, and to discourage discrimination based on race, ethnicity, gender, age, sexual orientation, or other factors which deny the humanity of all people. Cancer Care Services’ policies reflect the principle that organizational performance is greatly enhanced when people with different backgrounds and perspectives are engaged in an organization’s activities and decision-making process.
First ratified by the Board of Directors in 2010, this statement was updated and re-approved in 2018. We welcome your input and participation as we continue to work to fulfill our mission of supporting cancer patients, caring for caregivers, and empowering survivors to reduce the impact of cancer in Tarrant County. Please share your thoughts with us by emailing James Earl, CCS Director of Outreach and Health Equity.
History: In 1946, a group of Fort Worth physicians observed that many low-income cancer patients faced challenges – both fiscal and practical. Together with other community leaders, they created a unique and inventive organization for cancer patients. Cancer Care Services (CCS) has been a distinctive resource in the local cancer support arena ever since with a history of “firsts”: CCS opened the first breast and cervical cancer detection clinic in Tarrant County, paid the salary of the first oncology nurse at John Peter Smith Hospital, and hired the first oncology social worker in Tarrant County. As a perpetually evolving organization, Cancer Care Services added registered oncology dietitians in 2013 and licensed counselors in 2017 to the multidisciplinary team. We added advocacy to our service menu in 2019 and conducted visits with State lawmakers to encourage their support of the Cancer Prevention Research Institute of Texas reauthorization and the subsequent public approval of needed funding. In 2020, CCS hired a financial advocate for those impacted by the financial trauma of cancer in Tarrant County.
Cancer Care Services’ collaborative approach uses a social work navigation model to reduce disparities and distress to improve outcomes. Cancer Care Services also offers support for those who do not need navigation or financial assistance, but are solely in need of emotional and educational resources. Our efforts optimize patient access to care and enhance the efforts of healthcare professionals. We level the playing field by improving the community’s capacity to care for and sustain under-resourced patients and their families – after all, we are here on earth to care for each other.
Unlike coronavirus, cancer is not contagious. But for the 9,588 residents of Tarrant County who will receive a cancer diagnosis in 2020, cancer is a physical, emotional, and financial challenge. Today cancer is the leading cause of death in Tarrant County, and it is expected to be the leading cause of death in the United States by the end of 2020.
The direct cost of cancer in Texas was $40.3 billion in 2018, 5% of which ($2.2 billion) was incurred by patients and their families as out of pocket expense (The Perryman Group). The American Journal of Public Health reports that 530,000 American families were impacted by medical bankruptcy in 2018, and GoFundMe reports that it hosts more than 250,000 medical campaigns per year – raising more than $650 million to help pay healthcare expenses.
These are sobering statistics for our community especially in this time of new and widespread uncertainty. However, Tarrant County is fortunate to have a specialized resource dedicated to addressing the financial and emotional challenges a cancer diagnosis brings – at no cost to clients.
In addition to the staggering number of people impacted by cancer, the Community Oncology Alliance found that Americans fear the expense of cancer treatment as much as they fear dying from the disease. Sometimes referred to as the “Healthcare Mortgage,” the financial trauma of cancer often results in lower adherence to treatment regimens, reduced spending on basics such as food or clothing, and a decrease in overall sense of well-being. According to a study presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology, financial trauma resulting from out-of-pocket cancer treatment costs increases the risk of death by 79%. This is why we provide financial assistance to those in need (e.g. health insurance assistance, medication copay assistance, transportation assistance and nutritional supplements). We also hired a financial navigator to help our clients avoid the devastating impact of bankruptcy – as well as helping clients understand their medical bills, select appropriate health insurance coverage, negotiate payment plans with providers, and much more.
Providing holistic survivorship services are paramount because the number of cancer survivors is growing rapidly, alongside population increases: Texas has 882,400 five-year cancer survivors who were diagnosed between 2008 and 2017 (Texas Cancer Registry). Our proactive Survivorship program is led by staff, and augmented by volunteer cancer survivors. These specialized survivorship programs are offered in addition to the comprehensive emotional and financial support that we provide to patients, caregivers, and survivors impacted by all cancer types, of all ages, all ethnicities, all genders, sexual orientation, physical ability, language and socio-economic status.
Board of Directors
Joseph Austin, JD
Associate Attorney | Padfield & Stour, LLP
Jesse Booher, CPA – Board Chair
Shareholder | Alexander Booher & Assoc.
Cameron Brown, D.Min.
Staff Care Chaplain| Cook Children’s, TCU, FW Fire Dept.
Stevie Dawn Carter, PhD
Founder | Stevie Dawn Inspires, LLC
Nanny Christie, PhD, LPC
Director of Public Events | City of Fort Worth
Rosemary Galdiano, RN
Manager, Wellness for Life Services | Texas Health Fort Worth
Karen Garcia, CPA
Audit Supervisor | BKD
VP Community Engagement | Arlington-Mansfield YMCA
John Hernandez, MBA
SVP Client Strategies | CMP
Travis Hopkins, MBA
Director of Business Development | FuseMind Inc.
Principal – Strategic Growth Consulting Services | TJH LLC
Investment Manager | Bank of Texas
CEO | Brittain Kalish Group, LLC
Advancement | TCU
Cristy LePori, RN
Manager Outpatient Infusion/Thoracic Oncology Navigator | Texas Health Harris Hospital
Control Manager | JP Morgan Chase
Personal Trainer | Ridglea Country Club
NextHome Real Estate Advisors
Entrepreneur | Cowtown Capital LLC
Ann-Margaret Ochs, DO
Medical Oncologist | Texas Oncology
Jane Oderberg, LMSW
Project Coordinator, Geriatrics | UNT Health Science Center
Financial Advisor | Raymond James, Southside Bank
Aura Recuero-Little, MBA, CFRE
Database Manager | JPS Health Network
Financial Planner, Insurance Agent
AVP Branch Manager | Southside Bank
Louann Schulze, D.Ed., LPC
Retired – College Administrator/Counselor | TCC Trinity River Campus
Sue Shields, RN
Retired Director Cancer Program | Texas Health Hospital
Robert Sturns, MBA
Director, Economic Development | City of Fort Worth
Cathy Trinh, MBA
Management Instructor | Tarrant County College
President | Congressional Black Caucus Foundation
CEO | North Texas Area Community Health Centers
Community Health/Healthy Start Program Manager | UNT Health Science Center
Thank you to the following foundations and organizations for helping us further our mission through their generous financial support during 2018.
Aegon Transamerica Foundation
Paul E. Andrew Foundation
Arlington Tomorrow Foundation
C. B. Baird Foundation
The Capper Foundation
Amon G. Carter Foundation
Colleyville Women’s Club
Joe and Jessie Crump Foundation
Ken W. Davis Foundation
M. S. Doss Foundation
The DuBose Family Foundation
Jeanne and Roy J. Grogan Charitable Fund
HNC Living Foundation
The Hodges Foundation
The Holland Foundation
The Hyde Foundation
Lockheed Martin AERO Club
The Lowe Foundation
Ronald McDonald House Charities of North Texas
The Morris Foundation
Network for Good
Marty Potishman Lard Trust
Ed Rachal Foundation
Sid W. Richardson Foundation
The Ryan Foundation
Guido and Ruth Shumake Charitable Trust
The Sportsmen’s Club
The Walsh Foundation
Gil and Dody Weaver Foundation
Thank you to the following corporations for helping us further our mission through their generous financial support during 2017.
Allstate Insurance Company
Apex Capital Corporation
Fit Body Boot Camp
Fort Worth Country Day School
Junior League of Fort Worth, Inc.
Quilters’ Guild of Arlington
Sigma Lambda Gamma Omicron Beta
Southlake Women’s Club
Susan G. Komen Greater Fort Worth
The Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders
Troy and Associates LLC
Unity Church of Fort Worth
UNT Health Science Center
Heroes of Hope Corporate Mission Partners: