Donors help to expand and enhance cancer services

Mar 26,2013
The emotional toll of a cancer diagnosis is often significant. Fear, stress, anxiety, sadness and anger are just some of the emotions that someone facing a new diagnosis may experience. And, in many cases, there is the additional stress of worrying about the financial impact of a long-term course of treatment.

Through a patient assistance fund, which was established in 2011 thanks to a generous $10,000 grant from the Soroptimist International of Albany, Samaritan Lebanon Community Hospital is working to ease some of that stress by providing financial assistance to women who have been diagnosed with cancer or who are suspected of having cancer. The fund makes scholarships available to qualified Emenhiser Infusion Center patients who need assistance paying for prostheses, diagnostic tests, treatment, education materials or travel expenses for medical appointments.

“We are so grateful for this generous grant that is allowing us to provide financial assistance to women in east Linn County who need help getting access to critical services,” said Betty Koehn, director of the Lebanon Community Hospital Foundation. “We want everyone to have access to excellent care, and we are happy to be able to offer some level of relief to these patients during this incredibly stressful and emotional time in their lives.”

Each day, approximately 21 patients receive treatment at the hospital’s Emenhiser Infusion Center, including those needing cancer treatment or other types of transfusion therapies. To date, 17 women have been served by the fund, including a woman who could not afford her prescribed cancer-fighting medications. The grant gave her the ability to fill her prescription and begin her therapy. Another woman was unable to keep current on her bills and still obtain the treatment she needed. The fund helped cover travel expenses so she could get the necessary care. The grant also assisted a 50-year-old widowed mother who was out of work for several months during her treatment by helping pay for travel expenses and her rent.

Across the Samaritan system, donors gave more than $750,000  to cancer-related projects in 2012. Other examples of recent donor-funded efforts include:

• The development of plans to create a new comprehensive cancer center on the Good Samaritan Regional Center Campus
• Samaritan Cancer Resource Center in North Albany, which provides support groups, information, a wig and prosthesis bank and much more to local cancer patients
• Free mammograms and cancer screenings for low-income patients in Benton, Lincoln and Linn counties