by Jill Kincaid
Has your family been touched by cancer? So many have.
When my sister Karen was diagnosed with cancer in 2007, I watched helplessly as her normally vibrant busy life was transformed to a life revolving around doctor appointments, scans, radiation and chemotherapy. She had to plan events around these appointments and which days she knew she was going to be too sick to get out of bed.
Karen passed away last July from a rare form of breast cancer named Triple Negative Breast Cancer. Lord knows, I HATE CANCER.
But there is bright spot that came from our cancer experience. Let me explain… I was blessed to be with Karen the last two years of her life during her treatment. She called me her “chemo buddy,” and I was on duty to be her companion and servant on those days. Before long, Karen and I began to notice that some of the other patients were in chemo alone, and I began to be their “buddy” too, fetching them blankets, or beverages, or whatever they might need. As time passed, Karen and I realized there was a need for other volunteers to be in the room and help out these patients. We co-wrote a proposal for the doctors at Oncology Hematology Associates (OHA) and hoped they’d start a program like that.
They were intrigued by our proposal, but had no one to really run with it and make it happen. After Karen passed away, last summer, I decided to take another run at convincing the doctors that they needed our program. Only this time, I volunteered to lead the way and oversee it. Within a few days, the OHA board voted to allow our program, and on February 1, 2012, I returned to the treatment room as a “Chemo Buddy.”
One of the worst things about chemotherapy is how
boring it is. You sit in a recliner for hours in a big room with no tv or distractions.
Chemo Buddies strive to help meet patient needs in three areas:
Physically: helping patients with blankets, pillows, snacks and beverages.
Mentally: Being a companion to patients as well as offering them the chance to use one of
our ipads or kindles.
Spiritually: We have prayer chaplains if a patient requests prayer.
We have trained about 10 volunteers to help in the treatment room, and have incorporated
Chemo Buddies as a 501(c)3 non profit. We are not funded by OHA and and are completely
dependent on donations from individuals to maintain our program. If you would like to
make a donation, you can do so on our website at www.mychemobuddies.com, or by check to
6521 Greencove, Evansville, IN 47715. All donations are tax deductible.