Last Thursday night, many of the Brody family came out to roll the dice, have fun and raise money for a cause that is close to the heart of many that work on the Health Science Campus.
Greenville Women’s’ League along with Carolina Breast and Oncologic Surgery sponsored the 9th annual Bunco for Breast Cancer at the Greenville Convention Center. All proceeds benefit Gardeners for Hope, a fund that has been assisting local breast cancer patients for many years.
Gardeners for Hope began by a group of friends to honor the memory and spirit of a dear friend lost to cancer in 2002. Their friend, Joan Balch, was a consummate gardener and fascinating companion. Her devotion to her family and friends were inspiring and her spirit, strength, and joy in life as well as her fight against the disease gave all who knew her the hope they needed during her illness. Joan’s friends wish to pass on that hope and strength to others coping with breast cancer. The fund is a way to help patients maintain hope and gather strength by receiving care and support.
All proceeds donated to Gardeners for Hope are given to patients actively undergoing treatment for breast cancer. Breast cancer patients who are challenged by economic problems or are in need of positive encouragement receive assistance from the fund. There is no income qualification to receive assistance.
The Gardeners for Hope funds are distributed to the patients through the dedicated social workers and nurses that work at the Leo Jenkins Cancer Center. Other local oncology centers such as Carolina Breast & Oncologic Center and the McConnell-Raab Hope Lodge will contact the fund to assist local breast cancer patients in need as well.
Operational costs for Gardeners for Hope are minimal. There are no personnel or building maintenance costs. No one receives any type of compensation from the fund. Only the breast cancer patients receive assistance. Retired nurses and social workers still remain active on the board of Directors of the fund and volunteer at events. It is the mission of the fund founders, who continue to remain active, that this fund remains unrestricted to assist patients with various things in their time of need in a timely and efficient manner. The Gardeners for Hope fund is completely operational due to the generosity of others.
Due to the vast geographical landscape that the Vidant Hospital system incorporates in eastern North Carolina, more patients are being diagnosed and sent to the Leo Jenkins Cancer Center for treatment. Due to the rising cost of gasoline, many patients are struggling to make chemotherapy appointments. Assistance with transportation has become a large portion of what the fund assists with covering for breast cancer patients. More patients are traveling further distances to receive treatment at Leo Jenkins Cancer Center. Some of the local patients are elderly and cannot drive. The fund has assisted with transportation costs such as taxis, ambulance transportation and minor car repairs such as a tire or battery.
Assistance with Co-Payments for Prescriptions has been another area that the fund has seen increase tremendously. Due to the economic climate, many patients do not have insurance. The patients with insurance are foregoing filling prescriptions. This is due to the escalating cost of co-payments for drugs, especially without generics available and the reported shortage. Without assistance, prescriptions are not being filled therefore, at times possibly slowing recovering for some of the patients and hindering treatment.
Gardeners for Hope have been able to assist many patients with many needs. In addition to the transportation and prescription assistance, the fund has also assisted patients with their utility bill, wigs, mammograms, massages, new clothing due to rapid weight loss, prosthesis, family portrait for terminal cases, flowers to light spirits, eye glass prescription, grass mowing service and many other items for many situations.
As we enter the holiday season, please consider making a tax deductible contribution to honor the survivors, the ones we have lost and the ones currently in the fight. For more information please contact Anita Proctor, Nurse Manager at Leo Jenkins Cancer Center at 252-744-3740 or by email PROCTORA@ecu.edu
To those of you that attended, thank you for your willingness to help others in their time of need and with painting Greenville PINK!
Daughter of a Breast Cancer Survivor
Treasurer, Greenville Women’s League
Business Coordinator, Medical Education & Student Development