The Oregon Cancer Foundation is facing new challenges under the current health crisis. More cancer patients in Lane County are in need of financial assistance than ever before. To help meet that need, the foundation is encouraging community members to consider making a donation as part of its annual Neighbors Helping Neighbors fundraiser.
The event is a little different this year. With a statewide stay-at-home order and social distancing protocols in place, the fundraising breakfast has changed from an in-person gathering to an online event. The goal is to raise $150,000 to support Lane County Cancer patients through the foundation’s Financial Assistance program, which helps patients make ends meet during a difficult time.
Supporting Lane County Cancer patients
When Lisa Ambrose was diagnosed with breast cancer, she was anxious and scared. Despite having a good support system of family and friends, cancer left her feeling isolated and alone.
“It was really surreal. Having just lost my mom to cancer at 53 years old, and I’m 53 now, there was some fear with that, as well,” she says.
As Lisa underwent cancer treatment, including 16 rounds of chemotherapy and 21 radiation treatments, her bills began to pile up. Lisa reached out to Oregon Cancer Foundation (OCF) for help and connected with an unexpected support system.
“I had medical bills; I was not able to work full time. So, the foundation actually helped me out with my rent. That helped make a really challenging time more manageable.”
Through its Financial Assistance program, Oregon Cancer Foundation has paid more than 200 bills for Lane County cancer patients in the first four months of 2020—and the need is only increasing amid the COVID-19 health crisis.
“Despite this crisis, our mission hasn’t changed,” says Amy Johnston, OCF’s executive director. “We are committed to serving cancer patients in Lane County. They’re counting on us to be there to help with their rent, utilities and gas to get to and from treatment and so much more.”
In addition to financial support, OCF provides support groups and classes for cancer survivors at no cost to participants.
When Lisa finished treatment, she took part in the organization’s Survivorship Series. She says the support she received from the foundation came at a critical time in her recovery.
“When you’re dealing with cancer, there is so much on your plate, physically and emotionally, but the business of the day has to go on. You have to find a way to make it through. With support from Oregon Cancer Foundation, and just the connections I made with other survivors, it was amazing.”
Facing the challenges of a health crisis
The Oregon Cancer foundation counts on its annual Neighbors Helping Neighbors fundraising event to fund a large majority of the financial assistance requests it receives from Lane County cancer patients throughout the year. Cancelling the breakfast wasn’t an option, so the foundation created an online event.
“The upside to this is that by holding our fundraiser virtually, we are not limited to the capacity of a room. Anyone can give to this fundraiser, anyone can attend, anyone can support our mission, and we know that it is going to take the support of our entire community to get through this together,” Amy says.
If you can help by making a donation or would like to learn more about how the OCF supports cancer survivors, click here.
Every dollar raised stays in Lane County and is used to support cancer patients. For Lisa and others dealing with cancer, the true value of that support is immeasurable.
“Oregon Cancer Foundation made such an impact on my life and my recovery because I was completely supported,” she says. “Whether it was receiving help to make my rent payment or finding someone to talk to. For me, being able to have that level of support at a really difficult time was incredible, and I’m so thankful for that.”