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Emergency fund helps breast cancer patients meet basic needs
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Aaron Graeser often sees the tears of patients whose health problems threaten their ability to buy food for their families or transportation to treatment.
But lately he’s also has seen tears of relief coming from those who receive grants from the Hope Chest for Breast Cancer Emergency Assistance Program. This program was established by the Piper Breast Center, Hope Chest for Breast Cancer and the Abbott Northwestern Hospital Foundation to provide emergency assistance for breast cancer patients who have a financial need.
Hope Chest provided $10,000 to start the fund and will match another $5,000 in donations through June 30. Since the program launched in mid-January, more than 25 patients have received funds to help cover their basic needs.
“The response has been extraordinarily positive from patients and providers,” said Graeser, an oncology social worker with the Virginia Piper Cancer Institute. “It’s evidence that the need is tremendous.”
Patients fill out an application, and social workers can make quick decisions that, in many cases, have “helped people put food on the table that night,” said Gretchen Piper, a development officer with the Foundation.
“Cancer is tough enough without worrying about basic living expenses,” Piper said. “The Hope Chest program is a way we can all get together and help patients when they need it most.”