by Aron Daniels
You’ve been scared for days, maybe weeks, waiting for test results. You finally get the news: you have cancer. Your head starts spinning, the rest of the conversation is a fog and fear takes hold. A realization hits that you are absolutely clueless about this process.
Cancer is the #1 killer disease in NC, surpassing heart disease. People of all races in Eastern NC have a 16% higher chance of dying from cancer than in the rest of NC. For African Americans that rate is 30%. It’s time to get educated about cancer care. A cancer diagnosis means a lot more than just fighting a disease—the diagnosis is disruptive to relationships, jobs, finances, and you as a whole. Half of bankruptcies involve medical hardship. One of the big hurdles involved with a cancer diagnosis is a lack of knowledge about where to go for answers and help. Cancer Services of Eastern North Carolina exists to ease that burden on those who find themselves in just such a position.
Lynn Pischke, Executive Director of Cancer Services of ENC, envisions the non-profit as a sanctuary for people in the middle of these difficult times. Cancer Services links to over 60 resources for assistance for things like: utilities, food, rent, gas, clothing, medical equipment and more. Our “Hair For You” program provides wigs for patients and haircuts for men in treatment. When additional needs are realized, they find a resource to fill that need and connect them with the patient. Cancer Services works with Pitt Resource Connection, a group of well over 50 charities which works to meet needs not addressed by other resources.
Until they are facing a diagnosis and have to figure it out, most people do not know how to respond to all of the challenges that accompany a cancer diagnosis. Pischke’s goal is to create place for those people to get help.
Cancer Services offers quarterly breast cancer screenings at various locations throughout ENC for women over 40 who are uninsured. To-date there have been more than 60 women who received mammograms when they would otherwise not have been able to get them. Detecting breast cancer early is key to a good outcome.
Currently, Pischke’s cell phone is the only ‘office’ for Cancer Services, but she is actively working toward having a facility. Serval local partners lend space for events, but Pischke is eager to have a permanent physical location for people to visit.
A highlight in her schedule, Pischke particularly enjoys hosting a monthly support group at the McConnell-Raab Hope Lodge. They serve lunch there twice a month and host a monthly support group that is open to the public where guests get together to socialize, paint, enjoy cooking demos, workshops, and Moovin & Groovin, a gentle exercise program set to fun music. These meetings are great bonding opportunities that lead to people building their support systems. Social support is one of the most important aspects of managing the impact of cancer on a family yet its most often overlooked.
Most of the time, Cancer Services is able to connect those families facing cancer with an existing resource. 9 times out of 10 a solution can be found in the first conversation with Pischke. For the remaining people, where there is not an existing resource, Cancer Services finds a way to help them out.
For additional information about Cancer Services of ENC, visit their website at www.cancerservicesofeasternnc.org or contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org or252-561-5351