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Hgtn. Co. cancer patients are eligible for assistance

According to American Cancer Society’s “Cancer Facts & Figures 2020,” an estimated 37,940 Hoosiers were diagnosed with new cancer cases in 2020.

These cases can vary in many different ways, from how early the diagnosis is made, to where the cancer has affected the body, to the age, race or sex of the person diagnosed with cancer. But, for those who are fighting a cancer diagnosis, there is one thing they have in common: the burden of the cost associated with treatment.

According to the American Cancer Society, there are both direct and indirect “costs” that those fighting cancer have to go through. Indirect costs, such as lost wages due to missing work, are one “measurable” cost that cancer has. Another measurable cost – a direct cost, at that – is the medical expenses that rack up due to treatments. That’s where organizations such as Cancer Services for Huntington County come into play.

Cancer Services for Huntington County is, according to their literature, “an organization dedicated to helping any individual living in Huntington County who has fallen victim to cancer.” The organization is in partnership with United Way of Huntington County and helps financially assist cancer patients in two ways – by covering costs of prescriptions either partially covered or not covered at all by insurance, and by providing reimbursement for trips to the hospital for chemotherapy or radiation.

Mark Swing, President of Cancer Services for Huntington County, says that in order to qualify for assistance, a person only needs to have lived in Huntington County for one year.

“It’s not a technical thing, there’s no income bracket… all can apply,” Swing says.

Swing explains that, even for patients seeking treatment outside of the state of Indiana, there is help available. Cancer Services of Huntington County will reimburse all in-state mileage. So, for instance, if a patient was to seek chemotherapy treatment in Ohio, they would receive reimbursement for travel up to the Indiana state line and then for the return trip home once they have come back to the confines of Indiana.

Cancer Services of Huntington County also works with Cancer Services of Northeast Indiana, whose mission is to “enhance the quality of life of those affected by cancer by providing meaningful resources, information and compassionate assistance” through several programs and services, according to their website. These services include financial assistance, personalized supportive counseling, durable medical equipment loans, home health supplies, transportation assistance, massage therapy and exercise.

Swing says that, at times, Cancer Services of Huntington County will donate items to Cancer Services of Northeast Indiana after a Huntington County patient has beaten cancer and no longer needs the item, or after a patient has passed and a family member chooses to donate it.

According to Cancer Services of Huntington County literature, the organization can help each client with up to $1,500 during a 12-month period of time. This funding is available through several avenues, including their partnership with the United Way of Huntington County, grants from several different organizations, as well as donations and memorial gifts. Swing says that individuals and organizations alike will sometimes host fundraisers and donate part of the proceeds to Cancer Services of Huntington County, and that they have also received a grant through Parkview Health. He also says that there are times when someone has made a memorial gift in someone’s honor or left money for the organization in a will or estate.

Currently, Swing says the organization could use some volunteer help, especially on their board of directors. The organization currently has seven active board members who meet together once a month to discuss questions they have received, as well as problems that need to be solved and other topics.

“If you’d like to help, give us a call,” Swing says. “There’s not a lot of time required.”

Swing simply wants people to know that “we’re here” and that the organization has funds available to help cancer patients in need. He has also noticed that, because of COVID-19, the organization has seen a big difference in the amount of people requesting help.

“There haven’t been as many new clients,” Swing says. “People have had to forgo screenings and such.”

Anyone who needs assistance may request it by contacting Cancer Services of Northeast Indiana at 484-9560 or (866) 484-8560. Callers will be forwarded forms and information directly.

More information about Cancer Services of Huntington County may be found at huntingtoncancerservices.webs.com.