The Cancer Patient Support Foundation and the Colon Cancer Coalition are asking you to Get Your Rear in Gear, Virtual Style. On August 9th hundreds of Vermonters will head out to hike, run, bike, row, swim, golf and dozens of other ways to get active and take a stand to support local colon cancer patients and their families.
Click here for your free registration. For 10 years Get Your Rear in Gear has been held in Colchester. This year the event has become virtual but we invite you to use this opportunity to have your team made up of friends and family across the country. Stand in solidarity with our cancer patients and their families and remember those lost. Virtual Blue Mile signs can be purchased in memory of or in tribute to a loved one touched by cancer.
Together Colon Cancer patients and their families will know they are not alone.
Local foundations have stepped up to support cancer patients and their families during this challenging time. As the Cancer Patient Support Foundation had to make the difficult decision to cancel fundraising events including its hugely popular Culinary Classic, local foundations stepped in to make sure that the Emergency Fund which supports nearly 700 local families each year would not be impacted.
The Victoria Buffum Endowment and the Hoehl Family Foundation, both long time supporters of CPSF, offered additional funding to the Emergency Fund. The Emergency Fund provides financial assistance to local cancer patients.This fund helps patients take care of themselves and their families while they are in treatment.
Many families are forced to make decisions between feeding their children or paying for prescriptions; paying the rent or the cost of transportation to the hospital for treatment; or paying the light bill or the costly insurance co-pays. The Cancer Patient Support Foundation is determined that local families do not have to make those choices.
The Hoehl Family Foundation generously provided $35,000 to continue its support of the Emergency Fund.
"The Hoehl Family Foundation is proud to support the Cancer Patient Support Foundation. We truly believe in CPSF's mission and understand the need for their work in supporting patients and their families through an incredibly challenging time. CPSF thoughtfully supports each patient that comes through the door, and we are grateful for the work they do to help so many."
Hoehl Family Foundation Board of Directors
The Victoria Buffum Endowment provided $31,000 in addition to its annual $45,000 in support to ensure that local patients and their families have access to treatment and are able to take care of their families during this challenging time.
"The goal of the Victoria Buffum Endowment at the UVM Medical Center is to ease the burden of the individuals and their families moving through the challenges of treatment and recovery. We know the financial strain can be a large part of the burden, so we deeply value CPSF's dedication to directly helping patients through their Emergency Fund. We are grateful that through our grants to CPSF, we have been able to help hundreds of UVM Medical Center patients over the years."
Marie Wood, M.D., Chair, Buffum Endowment Committee at the UVM Medical Center and
Tom & Melissa Gauntlett, Committee Members & family of founder Victoria Buffum.
The Cancer Patient Support Foundation would not be able to provide the level of support if not for local foundations like the Hoehl Family Foundation and the Victoria Buffum Endowment.
Tim Kavanagh and Candy Weston thought they knew how to handle cancer. This was Tim's 3rd round but in the age of COVID cancer patients are facing even greater hurdles and unbelievable levels of stress.
"With this being our third journey with cancer we thought we were seasoned pros at the emotional, and physical toil it takes on the patient, caregiver and the family." Candy explains,"We couldn't have been more wrong especially with the added complications of Covid restrictions. To be going through this grueling process with limited access to family and friends is extremely difficult. Treatment routines have been greatly impacted. I'm not allowed to be with Tim during chemo and we remove his chemo pump at home. Chemotherapy are highly toxic drugs. It elevates the level of caution, unease, and fear when you're actively taking part in the treatment process in your own home.
We make the best of it but we never could have imagined we would have such significant added challenges. Cancer is challenging enough without restrictions to human contact and support."
Too many families know the pain of a mother diagnosed with cancer. This Mother's Day pay tribute to the mom in your life who has been touched by cancer. Whether your mom is recently diagnosed, in active treatment, is a survivor, or has been lost to cancer let's celebrate their amazingness. Share a story about your mom, and honor them this Mother's Day. Click here to share your story.
The Cancer Patient Support Foundation provides financial support for Vermont cancer patients and their families. Cancer patients are among those with compromised immune systems making them particularly vulnerable to COVID-19. Due to the current risk, many cancer patients, their families, and their caregivers are unable to work. Patients and their families need to follow CDC guidelines as to not risk exposure. The Cancer Patient Support Foundation is dedicated to helping Vermont cancer families during this difficult time. Though our staff is working remotely, we will continue to operate our Emergency Fund to make sure that all our families are supported during this challenging time. We did have to cancel the Culinary Classic fundraiser for this fund, so if you are able please consider supporting Vermont cancer patients and their families at https://www.cpsfvt.org/donate.html.
A breast cancer diagnosis at age 41 in 2018 tore my life apart and then put it back together again. Cancer presents serious physical, mental, emotional, and financial burdens, which are difficult to understand unless you have experienced it personally. Living in rural Vermont with family and friends far away made it even more difficult. Being relatively young, I realized the people I knew and loved, both in Vermont and outside, had no experience supporting someone with cancer, which added an additional layer of isolation.
Cancer is frightening and many people are not able to address feelings connected to deep fear and mortality, which often means avoiding the topic — or people with cancer. Well-intentioned words and actions can unfortunately have negative and hurtful impacts, part of why communication is one of the more challenging components of a cancer diagnosis.
From my personal experience facing breast cancer, I offer the following suggestions for how to communicate with a friend, neighbor, colleague, or family member with cancer.
WHAT TO DO
• Be In Touch for the Long Haul: Texts, messages, emails, voicemails, and cards help us know people are thinking of us. Don’t take it personally if we don’t respond, and don’t give up — we WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU and knowing that you care helps. Please understand that repeating our story can be very traumatic, especially in the early parts of a diagnosis or treatment. But, later on, we may really crave a conversation with you.
• Mail a Gift Package: Simple, useful, and soft gifts in the mail can add feelings of love and gratitude to the day. I really appreciated receiving homemade cards and art, cozy socks, tea, journals, window prisms, and anything that portrayed warmth, comfort, or light.
• Send Money or Gift Cards: Cancer is expensive and every bit helps. The financial burden impacts everyone, even if we have health insurance. Coop gift cards were a favorite and most of us need supplements and more nourishing foods, which are expensive.
• Don’t Wait To Be Asked For Help: Respect how the person with cancer and their caregiver choose to communicate. If there is a meal train, a care calendar, a Go Fund Me, or other form of support set up and shared through social media or community, consider yourself asked. Please don’t be offended if we are not able to reach out to you individually.
• Ask What Support is Needed: “Let me know if you need anything, I’m here for you” is a challenging statement to hear. As is offering support when you are not informed of what is needed. Ask the caregiver how you can help ease their burden and understand they may be inundated early on, so please keep offering throughout treatment and recovery. Can you start or manage a meal train, care calendar or Go Fund Me? Drop off fresh or frozen food? Give rides or pick up items at the store? Watch children and pets? Help do some yard work or housework? When might the person with cancer OR the caregiver want a visit?
WHAT TO SAY
• You actually don’t have to say very much at all. Stay in touch beyond the initial diagnosis and first stage of treatment and don’t disappear. Actions speak louder than words, so see above.
• Share stories. Tell us about something you really appreciate about us or positive impact we’ve had on your life. Or tell us about something happening in your life — it can be a welcome break to take the focus away from cancer.
• Talk to your own friends and family. Your feelings about health, illness, fear, and mortality are important to process with someone you trust, just not the person with cancer.
• Reframe questions:
- ASK “What are you doing today” or “How are you feeling today?” INSTEAD of “How are you?”
- ASK “What have you learned recently?” INSTEAD of “How have you been?”
- ASK “Where are you at in treatment?” INSTEAD of “Do you have to have chemo?” or “Are you in remission?”
PLEASE DO NOT
• Don’t assume. All cancers are different. There are many stages and types. Not all cancers are life threatening and not all treatments are the same.
• Don’t make it about you. Your own fear about mortality, the loved one you lost, the article you read, or your advice or opinions about our treatment plan or decisions are intimate details that may be appropriate if we’re having an intimate conversation, but not for you to send in an email or share when you see us at the store.
• Don’t give gifts with sugar or alcohol. Both of these feed cancer. But also don’t judge it we drink or eat sugar. In fact, please don’t judge us at all.
Cancer is overwhelming, especially at the beginning when everyone wants to help. A few months in is when I really needed the most love and support and at times it was hard to find. Losing friends and family to judgement and assumptions was very painful. Many people who I thought would be there for me disappeared.
However, one of the most beautiful parts of my journey was when people I didn’t know very well showed up and offered the acts and words I share above. I built new friendships out of my experience with cancer that are based in reciprocal compassion and for that, I am deeply grateful.
Connect with Rae and learn more about her experience with breast cancer at www.Facebook.com/RaeCarterEmpowr
You may think that you should be resting during treatment and not exerting a ton of energy on your body however, recent research actually shows the importance of exercising during treatment. Exercising during treatment can boost your physical functioning and your quality of life. For example, it improves balance which in turn reduces your risk of falling, improves blood flow to your legs which reduces your risk of blood clots, and it increases your self-esteem.
Okay we get it, exercise is good during treatment but HOW should I be exercising? Your ability to exercise and how you should be exercising depends on certain factors such as the type of cancer you have, the treatment you are receiving and your endurance level. Your doctor will be able to know what the best moves are for you but a helpful rule of thumb is to take it slow. Maybe one week you try to walk around the house a few times a day and the next week you try to walk down the street. Whatever the activity is it is important to consult with your doctor beforehand and listen to your body.
When diagnosed with Cancer it may feel as if your life has been flipped upside down. You feel several emotions and it is hard to know what to do next. During treatment among the various side effects, your body is going through so much physically and mentally. Simple tasks such as eating can be difficult. Whether you are experiencing nausea, dry mouth, loss of appetite, or any other factors that come with treatment we are here to give you some strategies to help you combat the problems that make eating difficult.
Eating during treatment can feel more like a chore than something you look forward to. From intense smells to your taste changing, and several other factors it is important to figure out what strategies will promote a diet that works for you. For example, instead of eating the normal 3 meal diet, try to snack more often throughout the day with 6 to 8 small meals. This will feel less overwhelming and will get you the daily nutrients you need to have a successful treatment.
Now you may be asking, what do I eat? High protein and starchy foods such as chickpeas, tofu, cheese, turkey, nuts, peanut butter, etc. are all good sources of nutrients. Avoiding intense spices such as garlic and serving food at room temperature or cold can help with the overpowering smell of food. However, while it is important to be eating foods that boost your immune system and give you strength, it is more important that you are eating than what you are eating. Therefore, if you want a chocolate bar for breakfast then eat a chocolate bar for breakfast and always have your favorite snacks on hand.
Save the date for the 5th annual Culinary Classic, November 16 from 5-9 p.m. at the Burlington Hilton. Click here.
You can be a Hope Hero to a local cancer patient and their family. A cancer diagnosis can be financially devastating. Many local patients struggle to not only access medical treatment but to meet the basic needs of their families. You can sponsor one local cancer family for $400 or $33.33 a month.
Some patients delay treatment simply because they cannot afford the gas to put in their cars; others make difficult choices between taking life-saving medications or feeding their children. The Cancer Patient Support Foundation (CPSF) has been providing emergency financial support for local cancer patients and their families in Vermont and Northern New York for more than 18 years. The need is growing.
“Many patients are unable to work while they are in cancer treatment,” explains Sarah Lemnah, Executive Director of CPSF. “They tell us they are more worried about the money than the cancer. As they struggle to afford the cost of transportation to hospital visits, prescriptions, and medical costs not covered by insurance they also grapple with how to take care of their families.” She continued, “Expenses like rent, food, childcare, and utilities still need to be paid and many of our patients have no income for months. It is heartbreaking to hear these families so stressed about the money that they are unable to focus on getting well.”
“Cancer changes your life in one day.” Cyndi of Waterford, VT explains, “I went from having a great job able to work 40 hours a week with two incomes to only one income, and it was all a blur.” You can be a hero to patients like Cyndi and her family. For each Hope Hero donation, a custom Vermont Teddy Bear with our “Hugs, Hope, Happiness” logo will be given to a local patient in treatment, or you can give to someone in your life touched by cancer. Cancer does not discriminate; CPSF’s patients range in age from 2-93 years old. You can make sure that one local family receives the support they need to get through this difficult time and know that they are not alone.
CPSF has seen an increasing need. In just three years there was a 268% increase for Emergency Fund dollars. More than $382,000 was awarded to local patients in Vermont and Northern New York from 2017-2019; and more than $2 million since the fund’s inception. Each year more than 600 families are supported by CPSF thanks to the generosity of our donors in Vermont and Northern New York.
Support a local cancer patient and their family. All funds stay locally in Vermont and Northern New York. For more information go to www.cpsfvt.org/hero or call 802-488-5495.
The Cancer Patient Support Foundation (CPSF) is an independent nonprofit organization which supports cancer patients and their families, in Vermont and Northern New York in a time of extraordinary need, by providing financial assistance, underwriting counseling services, and acting as a resource during diagnosis, treatment, and recovery.