Life is full of the unanticipated. We are financially stable and life goes on smoothly enough.
However, when one is hit with a massive medical expense all that changes and suddenly you find yourself wondering, "How am I ever going to get through this?" In the case of cancer patients, part of their challenges are recognized and supported by the Mesquite Cancer HELP Society. Below are a few stories written by cancer patients who have been assisted by MCHS. Hundreds of patients have been given cancer assistance over the past 12 years -- just as many have come into the office seeking answers,
information, guidance and especially to sit and talk to someone who knows and has been through the treatment and recovery journey.
"My name is Ruthann Swenson. On May 10, 2011, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. At that time I had no medical insurance and I didn’t know what to do or who to turn to for help. When I told my daughter-in-law that I had cancer she told me about Mesquite Cancer HELP Society. I called them and they had me come into their office. Lorraine introduced herself to me, listened and offered to help me. She provided a listening ear which is what I needed most. Then she gave me a stack of literature, explained what it was and also told me about their monthly support group. She also told me that they could help me by reimbursing my fuel costs to travel to St. George and back for my treatment. When I lost my hair they offered me wigs, hats, etc. I am so grateful to them for their kindness and support. They made it easier for me to fight my cancer. Thanks to them part of my financial burden was lifted. For that, as well as for all of their other services I received, I was not as stressed and that gave me more strength to fight my cancer. As of May 10th, 2012, I became a one year cancer survivor. Thank you Mesquite Cancer Help Society I love all of you.
Jose Dorado, is a young father with small children. Jose contacted neck cancer and head cancer in July, 2010. "I was informed of the Mesquite Cancer HELP Society in 2011," says Jose. "I could no longer work, my wife was devastated by the news, my children are very young, and the bills were piling up. We are so grateful for what the cancer society is doing to help us. They not just paid for fuel, for my treatments and medical checkups; they did it for trips to St. George and trips to Salt Lake City. They have also provided financial assistance for my trips to MD Anderson, Houston, Texas. They have provided huge mental, emotional and financial assistance for me, and my family if grateful for their compassion and wonderful way they treat and care for their patients."
Another client, Suzie Calieri, says, "Mesquite Cancer HELP Society has been so supportive of me and others in our cancer fight. Financially and emotionally they understand what we have to deal with; especially when one has to travel out of town for treatments. With gas prices being so high, MCHS is there ready to help and assist patients with all their needs. Thank you very much!
These are but a few of the many cancer patients who seek out our local cancer society. We've been operating for 12 years and there has only been a handful of individuals we have had to turn down financially. The MCHS addresses all cancers; breast, prostate, colon, to brain cancer patients and some cancers that are extremely rare they may have to make numerous calls and research reliable sources to make sure they get the appropriate information that the cancer client needs to better understand the challenges ahead. MCHS does not only provide the financial assistance, wigs, hats, scarves, medical equipment, counseling, support group, fuel, trips, etc., it is not uncommon for MCHS to help with Social Security forms, assistance with other forms and programs, talking with medical staff at oncology offices, and even calling and talking with pharmaceutical companies to get the extremely expensive prescriptions donated to cancer patients.
"Sometimes we have to get together as a team to make sure a cancer patient is not left behind or forgotten somewhere in the pile of red tape that can arise” says Lorraine Scharff, office manager. Because many cancer patients are completely overwhelmed, they are not able to grasp or focus on the many details given to them. This can be, at times, due to the chemotherapy, radiation, stress, fear, anxiety, or just the simple fact that they are not coping very well. Mesquite Cancer HELP Society helps organize their medical bills, puts them in order in such a way that the stress for the cancer patient is reduced and they can tract their bills much easier.
We have found billing errors, so we make sure discrepancies are addressed, corrected and resolved by calling or sending letters to the appropriate billing entities. It is not an easy job. Life is hard enough without having to deal with the headache of tracking a huge pile of bills when a cancer patient is doing good to simply stay focused on becoming a survivor.
October is “Breast Cancer Awareness” and MCHS has several activities and fundraisers going
“Fight Like A Girl!” is a project by several beauty salons to raise money for MCHS. They are: Nini’s Hair & Nails, Shereen’s Hair & Nails, Boulevard Hair & Co., Highland Manor Cut & Curl, and Valley Curls. Pay them a visit.
In addition, Stephen’s Hair is also doing the baked-on, semi-permanent pink hair dye. You can "get pinked" with pink hair, pink bracelets, pink hair strands, pink feathers, pink nails. Discounts on haircuts and foot treatments are being done at Sassy & Classy Salon. Crazy for Hair Salon & Wig Emporium, goes from working with regular wigs to something very special for cancer patients with personally made wigs. Her fundraising for MCHS will include a portion of wig sales during October to the cancer society. For something outdoors you can participate in the "Golf 4 Life" charity golf tournament, put on by the CasaBlanca Golf Course on Oct. 14 and the "Valley Rally" charity golf tournament put on by the Oasis Ladies Golf Association on Oct. 28 at the Palmer Golf Course.
Call Lorraine at the MCHS office for additional information on tournaments.
Finally, get your cardio workout by dancing! ENVY Night Club is doing its part during “Breast Cancer Awareness” month by “going pink!” The staff has pink hair and is wearing punk bracellets; $5 from each admission fee and a part of drink sales also will be donated to MCHS. Join in, support a loved one, a friend, a survivor or honor someone who has succumbed to cancer.
All the money being raised by these efforts goes to MCHS and stays local.
Yoli Bell is founder and president of the MCHS, as well as a cancer survivor. You can reach her at the MCHS office, (702) 346-0622,
150 N. Yucca St., St. 36.