CPSF REACHES $2 MILLION DOLLAR MILESTONE IN FUNDS AWARDED TO LOCAL CANCER PATIENTS AND FAMILIES
The Cancer Patient Support Foundation (CPSF) announced that they have reached a $2 million milestone in funds awarded directly to local cancer patients and their families. CPSF’s Emergency Fund is the only fund that serves the entire state of Vermont and Northern New York helping local cancer patients and their families with emergency financial needs to access medical treatment and assist with their everyday expenses.
“Many cancer patients are unable to work during treatment or work reduced hours meaning while their expenses rise their income goes down.” According to Sarah Lemnah, CPSF Executive Director, “Many of our patients tell us they are more scared about their finances than the cancer. Cancer patients and their families struggle with the cost of transportation to the hospital, medical co-pays and deductibles, prescriptions, housing, utilities, food, and childcare. The foundation is proud to have reached this milestone of having awarded $2 million directly to local cancer patients. The foundation supports over 500 local families each year. Last year alone, CPSF awarded nearly $190,000 to 509 local families.”
Each patient supported by the foundation has an amazing story about their journey through treatment and the impact CPSF has had on them and their family.
When Cathy Connors of Burlington, a 52-year-old mom of 2, was diagnosed with breast cancer it was "overwhelming," Luckily her employer said they would hire a temp while she was in treatment, stating "they didn't want her to worry about losing her job." However, not long after as Cathy sat in the emergency room sick as could be with a blood infection she got a text from her boss to check her email. She checked her email only to find that she had been terminated. “I felt betrayed. Where was the support I was promised?” CPSF awarded Cathy funds to help her get thought this most challenging time. As Cathy states "this fund helps us survive another day."
Susannah McCandless, a 40 years old from Vergennes, has been living with cancer since 2009 when she was diagnosed with a rare form of Leukemia. So rare that no one had ever seen it at UVMMC. Susannah thought she was going to die as the doctor read the diagnosis from the website. After spending a month in a Boston hospital with family members taking time off from work to be by her side she started the slow return to normal live. “Managing this disease is a fulltime job. It could have easily bankrupted my family even with good insurance. I had my total body radiated and lost 40%of my body weight in 2 months. Cancer changes not only your health but your day to day reality. Access to resources like CPSF eases the burden, helping shift your focus from making ends meet to get well.” Changing focus from worrying about paying the bills to getting well is imperative for patients and their families. For James Schumacher, a 53-year-old from Barre, his lung cancer diagnosis came as a huge shock. “I had just moved back to Vermont from Florida and I thought I had pulled a muscle. It was a tumor pressing on a nerve. At first, they said the x-ray was fine and then the nurse came running after me. I had to have 4 ribs, 27 lymph nodes and ½ of a lung removed.” James has had no income for over a year due to his treatment and recovery. As the bills stacked up he was worried about what the future held then he got a call that funds were available. I “broke down crying, it helped me concentrate on myself, have a good attitude even when the radiation was so bad I couldn’t swallow applesauce. You don’t want to have to worry about bills; the support helped me get through it.”
CPSF supports families during their most difficult time when little things become huge. The winters get cold in Wolcott, especially when both husband and wife are diagnosed with cancer and are unable to work. Amy and Francis Hill have been used to being on the giving end, not receiving. Francis who formerly owned an excavation company talks about donating an $18000 project for a customer who was down on their luck. CPSF was able to help them get firewood to heat their home for the winter. Amy shared “I do not know what we would have done without it. Seeing firewood is like Christmas.”
For over 16 years the Cancer Patient Support Foundation has supported 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.