By SALLY SEXTON
The diagnosis of cancer can have a huge impact on the patient, as well as the family.
In order to make the process a little easier, Cancer Care Services, which caters to cancer patients and their loved ones, provides a plethora of services for cancer patients — their main focus is helping financially, emotionally, spiritually and socially.
“When I was going through my bout with cancer, my insurance took care of things so I didn’t need their services, but they were always sending someone by the hospital to make sure things were OK, that there wasn’t anything that I needed,” Gail Fowler said. “That’s how I got involved talking with them.”
Gail Fowler recently celebrated her 12th year of being cancer free.
The Weatherford resident and wife of Parker County Sheriff Larry Fowler kicked off the commemoration with representatives of the Cancer Care Services organization, of which Fowler has an integral part of for the last year.
“For the Parker County area, we help out with more of the financial aspect,” Alex Martin, director of special events and outreach, said. “We have a lot of impoverished clients in Parker County.”
Those financial aids include helping with prescription co-pays, COBRA Health Insurance premiums, nutritional supplements and feeding tubes for head and neck cancer patients. Transportation is also a big focus, as well as medical supplies and equipment, including walkers or wheelchairs.
With its main location in Fort Worth, Cancer Care reaches out to residents through its partnership with the Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders, located off Santa Fe Drive.
“We have social workers that rotate between clinics and that are out in Weatherford once a week,” Martin said. “We also have a home visit social worker and her job is to go do home visits with our Parker County clients.”
When Cancer Care Services is contacted by someone not affiliated with one of the participating clinics, the organization arranges for the patient to speak with a social worker and schedule a meeting time. The social worker will either come to the home, or is able to meet in a more public setting.
“The social worker comes out and visits, assesses the situation and sees what needs to be fulfilled,” Martin said.
While the patient is one of the top priorities, Cancer Care also focuses its attention on the families and loved ones, offering free counseling and programs for children. One of the more popular events for kids is Camp CARE, a free day camp that provides children ages 3-17 with a variety of activities, including art and music therapy.
“What I went through involves the caregiver as much as it does the patient,” Fowler said. “[My husband] was just wonderful. He was there for me every minute and whatever I needed, he handled everything.”
In addition to therapy and activities for families, Cancer Care also provides various massage therapies and reflexology, as well as transportation to various support groups.
Fowler was diagnosed with colon and liver cancer, with her doctor telling her the chances were slim to none.
“I’m very blessed and I know that God had a lot to do with it,” she said. “I’m very high on Cancer Care Services or any organization involved with helping cancer patients.”
It’s the goal of Cancer Care Services, now in its 67th year as a non-profit operation, to be a partner with other cancer organizations as well.
“We don’t consider ourselves as a competitor against any of the other organizations, we’re really just a partner,” Martin said. “When we go over budgets and services, we look at what other organizations are offering and try to provide something new because we don’t want to duplicate those services.”
To donate, or to find out more about Cancer Care, go to www.cancercareservices.org.