SUPPORTING PATIENTS.FUNDING CARE.PROVIDING HOPE.
Camille was wrapping up teaching a power yoga class, having not yet shared her recent stage 1 triple negative breast cancer diagnosis with any students. While she was teaching, she really didn’t want to think too much about her upcoming scheduled surgeries, and the chemotherapy and radiation that would follow. At the end of the class though, she decided to open up to a student turned friend who had recently experienced her own breast cancer journey. Her friend told her about an organization in Massachusetts that helped breast cancer patients with the only requirement being that you had to be in treatment. Camille kept Ellie Fund in the back of her mind in case she needed it.
In the hours and days of planning and oncology consults, Camille never could have imagined that a worldwide pandemic would hit, further shaking her world. She planned to teach classes between treatments, when she felt well enough to do so. Her first treatment she was able to bring her partner and a friend to sit with her through the hours of chemotherapy. Once COVID-19 cases spiked, however, no one was allowed to keep her company, and teaching was no longer possible. Due to her suppressed immune system.
Camille had to remain even more isolated then most during the long, uncertain spring. Trips to the grocery store were out of the question and ordering take out was too much risk of exposure. This put the responsibility of shopping and meal prep for their family of three on her partner
It was a relief when Ellie Fund accepted Camille’s application and began to bring prepared meals to the family. “My first meal delivery arrived along with a beautiful bouquet of flowers. I wasn’t expecting that,” Camille said emotionally. Her family was impressed with the quality of the meals. “I didn’t have very high expectations, but was happily surprised when the meals were tasty and fresh.” Her extended support system had to remain socially distant but Ellie Fund helped to fill the void. “Having Ellie Fund’s support brought a little bit of normalization into our lives which really helped.”
The first seven months were full of uncertainty for Camille and her family. While the pandemic raged on, Camille was limited to her home and hospital undergoing surgeries, chemotherapy, and then daily radiation. As the summer is nearing its end, so has Camille’s treatment. Her final radiation treatment is complete, and she reports cheerfully that she is feeling really good! Camille is so grateful to her oncology teams and also to the Ellie Fund for their support. Ellie Fund is proud to have been part of her journey and a resource to her family.
Rhoda debated skipping her annual mammogram in April 2017. She had just received a bill of clean health from a similar screening a few months earlier for a specific issue her doctor was following. As an ultrasound and imaging professional, Rhoda knew she should still go to the appointment just in case
Soon after, the call came, additional tests were run, and she received a breast cancer diagnosis. It was overwhelming news to receive. Thoughts raced through her mind, “How will I cope? Can I work? Rhoda and her husband knew they had to get through the next week, to her youngest daughter’s college graduation, before they could tell their kids.
It was a picture-perfect day with her four children and husband together celebrating the momentous occasion of her baby receiving her college diploma. After lunch and before her kids went their separate ways, Rhoda broke the news of her diagnosis to her adult children. With conviction and strength, she consoled her children, “This will be okay. It’s treatable. You hear things happening to others and now it’s happening to our family, but it will be okay. We just have to help each other out.” That positive, straightforward outlook is how Rhoda got through her year of treatment.
Rhoda was fully employed and insured and was surrounded by friends, family, and her church community. Ellie Fund was still able to become part of her support system when she was introduced to them through her oncologist’s office. No one plans for a cancer diagnosis. Patients can be financially secure but as treatment goes on for months and sometimes years circumstances change, and work benefits diminish. Ellie Fund allows patients to pick their top needed services as every patient’s priorities and needs are different. Grocery and gas gift cards were the biggest help to Rhoda and her family.
“Ellie Fund was the most welcoming thing for me,” Rhoda noted. “At first, you think this is the end of everything. Then they come to your side and ask what you need and help you the best they can. I didn’t realize there was someone out there fighting for me and that I was not alone.”
Throughout the pandemic, Rhoda thought of the people getting a breast cancer diagnosis while being laid off or furloughed due to COVID-19 and the additional financial stress and isolation they would feel. When her daughter Vimbai mentioned the want to positively contribute to the community through fundraising, Rhoda reminded her of Ellie Fund’s impact on their family. Vimbai is now hosting a running fundraiser this month which has already raised more than $2,000!
Ellie Fund is able to serve close to 1,000 patients each year because of the generosity of our community members like Rhoda and her family.