See, there's some good news here, too. Every ending brings a new beginning, and thus begins the collaboration between the Kingdom Swim, Run, and Triathlon events in Newport, Ver., and the North Country Hospital Patient Care Initiatives Fund.
With much regret and a deep sense of sadness, we receive some early words that our beloved community center has been purchased and that the new owner does not intend to continue its current use. Lots to say and feel, but I will say just this. Thank you to the thousands who joined the journey to try to save this precious asset. For myself, I know I am a better person for having fought this fight and for the friendships I have made along the way. Some causes are worth spilling blood for. I’d do it again, I would.
But, our community has many needs and today we turn our focus to support another local cause that supports local patients in need – The North Country Hospital Patient Care Initiatives Fund. We are a rural, economically challenged area. When patients discover that they have cancer and need treatment their travel expenses alone can be a huge barrier to treatment, even when they have insurance to cover the treatment itself. Patient Care provides gas cards to those in need. Drugs and supplies often come with high patient co-pays or are uncovered all together. Patient Care helps to provide payment for some of those costs for those unable to cover them.
Wendy Franklin, at NCH, fields the requests from nurses, patient care coordinators and social workers and helps allocate the scarce resources from the fund. In her words:
Just last Monday, I received a call from a nurse who was seeing a patient in our oncology clinic with just a few more trips needed in their course of treatment, and was unable to fill their gas tank to make the journey to Norris Cotton Cancer Center - North in St. Johnsbury. North Country Hospital’s Patient Care Initiatives Fund was able to assist due to our generous donors. Another cancer patient the same day was able to receive mastectomy supplies not covered by insurance with assistance from the fund.
Our providers know this fund can be a resource for patients who need gas cards for extensive travel. Even with a local dialysis center, the three times per week necessary for dialysis treatment creates the need for travel. Other ways the fund has been there to directly help patients is covering costly pharmaceutical co-pays, and/or the prescription itself. In many cases this has been the difference between a patient not moving forward with treatment and then being able to thanks to the cost being covered. For diabetic patients without insurance, the fund has assisted with meal planning tools, special dietary meal bars, and other necessary supplies. The fund also helps in the lease of wheel chairs, walkers, or the purchase of splints and compression stockings for patients without insurance.
All money raised by donations by our Kingdom Swimmers and Swimmer Scouts taking part in the In Search of Memphre event after July 1, 2013, will be given to NCH’s Patient Care Initiative Fund. 100%. And all of this money (100%) in turn will go directly to help local folks in need of just a little help as they face some daunting challenges. No administrative costs will be deducted. Nothing sent to distant shores. Just a helping hand to a neighbor in need. The Vermont way.
We don’t have much time between now and In Search of Memphre, but donations are still coming in and for that we are grateful.