Women who are diagnosed with breast cancer in Des Moines and surrounding communities will soon have some help to get through their cancer journey. Molly Suarez, diagnosed with breast cancer in 2011, started a non-profit organization, Can Do Cancer, to improve the lives of breast cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy. The organization will have four core functions.
A web site for patients to learn what they need to know after a breast cancer diagnosis
Medical information is provided to patients via their health care providers, but there is a lot left for patients to figure out on their own. With the stress a cancer diagnosis puts on a person, the last thing a patient needs is to figure things out. The Can Do Cancer web site will rectify this, providing key information that is easy to read, and all in one place.
Dinner for patients and their family on chemotherapy days
Suarez says “one thing that helped a lot was a neighbor that brought dinner for me and my family each day I received chemotherapy. I was at the hospital for most of the day and knowing that dinner was going to be at home when I got there was one less thing to worry about on treatment days. The coordination of that was something that I don’t think most cancer patients experience.” Often times, meals are delivered from friends and family in the beginning, but cancer patients’ treatment typically spans four to five months. Can Do Cancer will coordinate meals on the day of treatment for the duration of chemotherapy treatments.
House cleaning services during treatment
Fatigue is one of the major side effects of chemotherapy. During her cancer journey, Suarez enrolled in Cleaning for a Reason, which is a national organization that coordinates 4 house cleanings during chemotherapy treatments. Suarez worked when she could and still managed her busy household with three kids. “Having assistance with house cleaning was a huge help and something that every cancer patient should have access to.”
Motivational support for patients throughout their treatment
Often times, friends and family rally their support in the beginning after a diagnosis. People don’t realize what a long journey cancer is. Chemo treatments may last five months. It may take up to a year or longer for patients to begin feeling themselves again. Patients need support throughout their entire journey and Can Do Cancer will stand by patients all the way through.
The organization plans on piloting the program in the Fall of 2012, testing various meal options and house cleaning services. Can Do Cancer then plans to open enrollment to any breast cancer patient that will undergo chemotherapy in the Des Moines area.
Can Do Cancer is currently working on fundraising to support its programs. An Accessory Swap Fundraiser is planned for October 5, 2012 at 7 p.m. at the Ankeny First United Methodist Church Christian Life Center, 710 NE 36th Street in Ankeny. The event is open to the public. People will bring like new accessories, such as purses, scarves and jewelry, and will swap them for something new to them. In addition, there will be appetizers, vendors to shop from, make-and-take craft activities and more. Go to www.candocancer.org for event details, to make a donation or learn more about Can Do Cancer.