With Thanksgiving just around the corner, I am taking time in this blog post and the one next week to share information about some of the organizations for which I am thankful. They make my job easier, and more importantly, make me more effective as a navigator. I hope too that young adults living with cancer and their families may read this and get ideas for their own journeys.
LLS is the world’s largest voluntary health agency dedicated to blood cancer. The LLS’ mission is to cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease and myeloma, and improve the quality of life of patients and their families. LLS is a national organization with local chapters in Hunt Valley, MD and Arlington, VA. LLS provides all patients with $150 annually to assist with transportation, medicine, wigs, parking fees, cute scarves, massages, diapers… whatever a patient might need! Anyone can receive these funds; a small compensation for a cancer diagnosis, but every little bit helps. LLS also has a co-pay assistance program that provides a significant amount of money for certain diagnoses (my only complaint is that currently the acute leukemias are not covered). Our local chapter has one of the most dedicated and contentious social workers (her official title is Patient Services Coordinator), the fabulous Tracy Orwig. Tracy coordinates blood cancer support groups in area hospitals, including UMGCC and works with me on our Y.E.S. Program at the Y of Central Maryland Stadium Place.
HopeWell strives to create a community for all people with cancer, their families and friends, that encourages an exchange of information, the development of a support system and presence of hope. HopeWell is located on a peaceful property in northern Baltimore (City-County border) and programs are housed in a restored farm house and a newly built Amish-style barn. Programs include traditional support groups as well as yoga and art classes. There are groups for families and children as well as singles facing cancer. Everything about HopeWell is relaxing and uplifting for those living with cancer as well as those serving cancer patients. In two weeks I will go to a workshop for providers Finding Balance: The Personal/Professional Life of the Oncology Professional.
Association of Oncology Social Work Online List serve
This one is more for professionals but I must say how wonderful and refreshing it is receive ideas every day from around the country from my fellow partners-in-crime. How challenging and lonely this work can sometimes be. How easy it is to get discouraged when roadblock after roadblock prevents one from getting patients the assistance they so desperately need. AOSW-SWON is like a library and an on-line support group in one. Today’s posting included a list of websites to help educate patients on Medicare open enrollment; tips on how to find co-pay assistance for patients living with melanoma; a recent study on the need for referrals to palliative care at end of life and how this is not happening for cancer patients; and programs that prevent or delay foreclosure on the homes of persons living with cancer and treatment expenses.