However, Eilers found, not everyone was so lucky. And while there were several organizations aimed at helping cancer patients and their families with one facet of treatment or another, there wasn’t a resource where someone could find all of those services in one place.
The kits obviously are made for chemo patients by people who have been there – they include items such as mints to help ward off “metal mouth” and a rinse to help alleviate mouth sores.
But of all the tips, supplies and services provided, sometimes the most important thing is an ear.
“Yesterday, I got a call from someone who just wanted me to come keep her company,” said Sonna Evans, service coordinator for Chemo Crew.
Even when people ask for someone to do the grocery shopping, Eilers said, she and Evans make sure to dispatch a volunteer who also is a cancer survivor to do the job. “Sometimes, it really helps just to talk to someone who has been there,” she said.
“Sometimes, the patient doesn’t want to talk about it,” Evans said. “And that’s OK. But the family still wants to be there.”
There are plenty of other volunteer opportunities, as well. People are needed to pack the Chemo Kits, and Evans and Eilers said they really could use someone with website and marketing experience.
“We are ready to go to the next level,” Eilers said.
To donate, go to www.modbee.com/donate2bod
AT A GLANCE
ADDRESS: 3430 Tully Road, Suite 20-256, Modesto, 95350
CONTACT: (209) 216-6271, [email protected]
MISSION: To offer hope and help to local cancer patients and their families by bridging the gap between patients’ needs and services offered in the community. The group is made up of survivors, caregivers and loved ones whose lives have been changed due to a cancer diagnosis. They hope that patients can see and feel support from people who have walked the journey and can help navigate the social aspects of a cancer diagnosis.
PROGRAM LIST: The organization offers a free kit for cancer patients that includes: “Chicken Soup for the Soul for Cancer Patients,” list of resources and personal supplies for comfort (130 kits distributed in the first year, 450 in the second). Volunteers offer home care, transportation and grocery shopping to ill patients. Also on tap are educational panels and presentations to bring awareness and information to patients.
▪ In 2015, two education Resource Series events will be presented focusing on nutrition, fitness and frequently asked questions from cancer patients; funds needed for speakers and advertising.
▪ Expanding the chemo kit distribution
▪ Creating a Crew Member Resource Guide; also, a booklet with contacts for services to assist in the daily living of cancer patients
▪ Website development
▪ Developing a crew support program; crew support coordinators will follow up with patients and track the progress during and after treatment.