2017-03-01 / Columns

Join us on Apr. 30 to help ease the burden of those with cancer

STRAIGHT FROM THE HEART
MARLA MEYERS
Executive Director, Jewish Family & Children’s Service

“After my cancer diagnosis and two surgeries, I had so many bills—rent, medical bills, and electricity, all building up. JFCS was able to provide me with help through the funds collected during the Annual Walk/Run for Friends and Family with Cancer, and I was able to get on top of some of my bills; it was a lifesaver to me. They have given me a new life. Now I give back, and I volunteer for the JFCS Special Needs Program and enjoy every moment that I spend at the TOPS day program.”—D., JFCS volunteer.

Stories like this one remind us of the resiliency that is inherent within the human spirit. While treatment and testing for cancer seem to advance each year, dealing with the roller coaster ride related to a diagnosis remains an insurmountable feat. For so many, it can feel like the rug has literally been ripped out from underneath, leaving one grasping for a sense of comfort and normalcy. In addition to the emotional, psychological, and social impact of a diagnosis, there is still more. It comes with, as D. points out, an enormous financial burden—adding to the mental and physical exhaustion that is already a part of a patient’s everyday life.

Cancer is the second most common cause of death in the US, exceeded only by heart disease, and accounts for nearly one out of every four deaths in the United States. According to Cancer.org, The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) estimates that the direct medical costs (total of all health care costs) for cancer in the US in 2014 was $87.7-billion— 85% of this cost is for hospital outpatient or doctor office visits, and inpatient hospital stays. In New Jersey alone, says the American Cancer Society website, there will be 51,000 new cancer cases, some may be loved ones or neighbors we are close to. Dealing with the setbacks of mounting financial obligations and budget uncertainty shouldn’t be another aspect that those who are diagnosed must deal with alone.

The JFCS Rhona Fischer Family Assistance Program Cancer Fund was put in place to assist those with cancer who struggle with financial burdens. In the last fiscal year, $12,000 was given to those in need.

We hope you will join us this year to celebrate the tremendous power of solidarity and strength, and help raise awareness at the Walk and Run for Friends and Family with Cancer. The event will be held on Sunday, Apr. 30 (7:30 a.m. check in; 8:30 a.m. start), at the Voorhees Middle School. In addition to funding the JFCS Cancer Fund, proceeds from the walk also help to fund cancer research. While we await a cure, we can still do something to help those who deal with this challenging disease. We can take some of the worry and burden from their shoulders and place it upon our own, as we walk and run to make a difference.

You can visit www.- walk4ff.org/home to register for the Walk/Run for Family & Friends with Cancer. By placing one foot in front of the other, we can make sure that the ground that others stand on is fortified with our support.

mmeyers@jfedsnj.org

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