Do you or a loved one have a story to share about your battle with cancer? Are you currently battling or supporting friend’s or family who are being treated? Read through to the end to enter to win one of four $100 Amazon gift cards.
Cancer, impacts 1 in 3 Americans. Someone in my circle will be diagnosed this year. Someone will be treated. Someone will (fingers crossed) be cured.
When City of Hope Orange County asked me to share a story about a friend or a family member who has battled cancer recently, it wasn’t hard to think of someone. It was hard to pick just one. Where to start? Family? Friends? Neighbors?
Five of my closest local friends have been diagnosed with and fought cancer in the last 5 years. Two “fellow mom” neighbors on my block. And then there is me. I am officially on cancer watch with a slightly more frequent screening protocol due to some hereditary issues and pre-cancerous test results. Sometimes it feels like cancer is Captain Hook’s alligator – just beneath the surface, swimming around with a ticking clock in his belly. It’s scary. It’s not a matter of “if” but when. If not me, then someone I love.
And then what? Sorting through available treatment options can be daunting.
We all want the best treatment for our loved ones. Particularly, when it comes to cancer treatment, we don’t want to cut any corners, we will go to any lengths. We want trusted treatment partners.
But when those partners are not local to you, it can make life difficult for patients and their families.
Part of what has made treatment so difficult for at least a couple of my friends, was the hardship of having to travel for radiation, chemotherapy and other appointments. It’s challenging enough to simply get through some of these treatments. It’s a lot harder when you have to take off multiple days of work to sit in traffic. In Southern California it can mean travelling for two to four hours round trip, each time. When your spouse, or other trusted family member or friend has to take time off work to accompany you to those appointments, these issues are compounded. Obtaining childcare is another problem for parents who can’t be in two places at once. They may need to hire help for driving and caretaking.
When treatment options aren’t available nearby, sacrifices and accommodations become necessary.
The lack of local cancer treatment resources can impact financially, physically, and emotionally. It affects not only the patient, but also their entire family and support network. It is a community issue. And to be sure, the added stress and hardship affects outcomes.
Most of my friends and neighbors have had the extreme good fortune of having a large and well organized “team” of local friends and family, church members and neighbors to help them fight and pitch in to help where needed. But not everyone has that kind of support.
One of my dear friends was diagnosed at the start of the pandemic, not long after losing her husband. She has no local family. She doesn’t belong to a church or other religious organization and she recently moved to a new neighborhood where she doesn’t know her neighbors. Her diagnosis presented a particular hardship. How was she going to get to her treatments, and still feed and get her kids to school and extracurricular activities?
Driving for hours was out of the question. She needed trustworthy treatment providers that were close by. I worried particularly about her. I knew she was fiercely independent and wouldn’t want to ask for help. How would she manage?
She mentioned to me that she looked into City of Hope Orange County at the onset of her diagnosis but at the time the drive to Duarte for the treatment she needed was out of the question. She was thrilled to hear that this is changing, thanks to City of Hope’s expansion into Orange County.
To be sure, cancer rates are rising. And despite the relatively healthy California lifestyle we enjoy, our rates are also rising.
We need a local, community based resource. City of Hope is that resource.
In order to help spread the word about City of Hope’s OC Expansion and to give back a little something to my local community I am hosting a contest. I will be giving away 4 $100 Amazon Gift Cards.
Enter to win by sharing your own story about finding the right support in your battle against cancer, and by filling out the rafflecopter form below. Be sure to tag either City of Hope Orange County on Facebook OR City of Hope Orange County on Instagram.