Last year Abigail Strube’s mom was diagnosed with breast cancer.
And that’s when they both came to know volunteers from the Angels Care Cancer Program, a Casper-based organization that’s part of the Wyoming Foundation for Cancer Care (WFCC).
In fact, it was an Angel who suggested Abigail apply for her current job.
“WFCC is all about reducing the burden of cancer,” Abigail said.
And that translates to helping patients and families with non-medical needs that accompany treatment.
Help Beyond Medical Care
“We sometimes pay utility bills.
“We’ve even made mortgage payments,” Abigail said.
“We give gas cards, and this past summer a patient who needed to travel for a much-needed surgery had unsafe tires, so we just bought new ones for her.”
A large portion of WFCC’s budget goes to paying hotel bills.
Because of vast distances between Wyoming towns, people seeking cancer treatment must often travel hours for care.
It’s is all about reducing the burden of cancer.
More than 12 years ago staff at Rocky Mountain Oncology in the mid-state city of Casper saw patients struggling at home with non-medical needs.
So they considered how best to help.
The result was a grass roots organization as an arm of the large Tennessee based eplus Cancer Care foundation.
Then in 2018 WFCC received its own 501(c)3 nonprofit status.
Until recently funding came 100% from community donations and grants from individuals.
And now as they extend their reach to more of Wyoming and are eligible for federal grants, efforts are underway to grow the current $50,000 budget.
It’s about supporting patients and families with the non-medical needs that accompany treatment.
In 2017 more than 206 people state wide were served, and this year 176 patients have already been helped.
And the only eligibility requirements are that applicants be Wyoming patients currently undergoing treatment.
Partnering with Hands-On Care
When WFCC merged with the Angels Cancer Care Program more ways to offer non-medical support were possible.
That’s because many of the volunteers have, themselves, gone through cancer treatment.
“They know how to help make the stress of chemo more bearable,” Abigail said.
“Volunteers may sit with patients going through treatment, assemble cancer care kits, and drive patients to appointments.
“They have even put together teams to do house cleaning,” she said.
“In Wyoming we are proud to take care of our own.
“We believe in the spirit of the west and supporting cancer patients in our communities who are in need,” she said.
As for her mom, Abigail reports, “She’s 10 months out of treatment and doing really well.”
• Read more about Wyoming Foundation for Cancer Care
• Donate to WFCC. Every small donation has a big impact.
• Read Climb Wyoming where efforts to end the cycle of single-mom poverty in Wyoming are effecting change.
• Read about a daughter who helped her mom live fully to the end of her life.
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Ellen Synakowski (she/her/hers) lives in Laramie, Wyoming. She is a HeartMath Certified Trainer and Coach, and certified through HeartMath to administer the Stress and Well-being Assessment tool; A Connection Practice Trainer, a Trainer’s Trainer, and Coach; and a Registered Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapist (RCST®). Her website is EllenSynakowski.com.
“Never forget that justice is what love looks like in public.” — C. West