Special to the Tribune-Star
For the state of Indiana, the American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life season is wrapping up, having hosted more than 130 events around the state, raising more than $8 million dollars. Money raised is making a real impact.
“Many people are familiar with the life-saving cancer research efforts of the American Cancer Society, which includes more than $5 million invested in research grants right here in Indiana and millions more across the country. However, few are aware of the full scope of free services available,” said Vicki Elliff, American Cancer Society health initiatives director for Indiana. “These services can be obtained through one easy call to the American Cancer Society at (800) 227-2345.”
When an individual calls the American Cancer Society they will be connected to a live cancer information specialist. These specialists, who staff the phone lines 24 hours a day, seven days a week, are specially trained to listen to and identify the needs of cancer patients and their caregivers, then match them with services or resources to meet their needs.
More about the services:
• One of the more popular services is the Personal Health Manager kit. This free toolkit is designed to help patients organize all the paperwork and information they acquire as they go through treatment. The American Cancer Society also offers additional educational opportunities like the I Can Cope series. The educational series, held both in-person and online (available 24/7), covers topics as varied as pain management, finance, health insurance and stress relief.
• Road to Recovery is also an in-demand service that can be obtained with one phone call to (800) 227-2345. This program provides free transportation for a patient to and from cancer-related appointments. The American Cancer Society offers this free transportation program because many cancer patients, for all kinds of reasons, aren’t able to find consistent or dependable transportation to their appointments, keeping them from getting the life-saving treatment they need.
“Some patients don’t have a car, can’t afford the gas, or have friends and family that live far away and can’t help out,” Elliff said. “Road to Recovery matches each patient with a volunteer driver in their area who comes to their house, takes them to their appointments, and gets them back safely. It’s convenient and totally free.”
• Look Good … Feel Better, one of the American Cancer Society’s more popular programs among women, allows female cancer patients to connect through appearance tools and tips – not to mention a healthy dose of pampering.
“Women who battle with cancer fight more than just the disease,” Elliff said. “Many women feel a loss of identity from the side effects of cancer treatments, such as hair loss or skin issues. Look Good … Feel Better gives the women a chance to feel like they do ‘normally’ again.”
Look Good … Feel Better is run by volunteer facilitators who are licensed cosmetologists familiar with the appearance-related issues that a female cancer patient may face. In each session, these cosmetologists provide women with hair, makeup and skin care tips, including showing options for dealing with hair loss, such as how to wrap a bandana or scarf, wear a wig, or use accessories to manage their side effects such as hair loss or thinning. Each woman leaves the session with a free goodie bag of makeup, donated by major manufacturers, to help maintain her new look.
“We have more than 70,000 resources available for patients whatever their needs might be, no matter how big or small, we always try to help,” Elliff said. “Even if a person is just lonely or scared and needs to talk, we’re here. We are dedicated to serving the needs of cancer patients. Our entire structure revolves around serving them.”
For more information about the free programs and services, please call 800-227-2345 or visit cancer.org. Also, it’s not too late to support the American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life events. Donations can be made by finding a local Relay For Life event website at www.INrelayforlife.org or by calling 800-227-2345.