Friends for the Fight

Friends for the Fight

Groups unite to host benefit dinner for local cancer patients

Preaching Christ Church is partnering with Wellmont’s Cancer Institute to raise money for their Wellmont Patient’s Assistance Fund by hosting a benefit dinner at 5 p.m., May 9 at MeadowView Convention Center.

For the past four years, Wellmont’s Patient’s Assistance Fund has been providing financial help to pay for the daily needs of cancer patients who are enduring any kind of treatment from Wellmont’s Cancer Institute in the Tri-Cities.

“The program assists patients with $500 each to help ease the financial burden of a variety of expenses, such as mortgages, utilities, gas and grocery cards, medicines, and co-pays,” said Teresa Bailey, Wellmont’s system manager of Ancillary Services. “A lot of the medicines, like the ones that relieve nausea and pain, have a hefty co-pay. We don’t want people to choose to not receive treatment based on the cost. We want to be there for them.”

“Often the reality of costs doesn’t sink in to the patient and family until the patient is undergoing treatment. They then start thinking about how they will pay for everything rather than about their recovery,” Sue Lindencusch, Vice President of Oncology at Wellmont, wrote in a letter to Preaching Christ Church thanking them for hosting the benefit dinner. “Even for patients that have insurance, out of pocket costs add up. They may have to borrow money, or cut back on basics such as food and clothing to pay for their care.”

The fund is an employee initiative program within Wellmont. “The patience assistance program was the No. 1 recipient for donations from my co-workers because we see the daily needs of each patient,” Bailey said. “Recently, Wellmont employees pledged to give over $64,000, and all of the money donated to the fund will be given to the patients. The program sees an increase of 25 percent every year.”

When Chad Roberts, lead pastor of Preaching Christ Church, heard of the need, he knew he wanted to help.

“We are a church that likes to be very involved in our community,” Roberts said. “We love that the money goes to very practical daily needs of cancer patients solely in the Tri-Cities. We want to get behind Wellmont’s employees and give them a good boost so they can continue to provide the needs of families in our community.”

Coty Sensabaugh, who graduated from Dobyns-Bennett High School and currently plays for the Tennessee Titans, will be the keynote speaker. When Sensabaugh was 11 years old, he lost his older brother to leukemia one week after getting diagnosed.

There will be cancer survivors sharing their inspiring stories and their experiences with the assistance fund. Dinner attendees will enjoy live musical entertainment by Model City Groove School and a large silent auction featuring donations from local businesses. “The proceeds of the entire night will go to the Wellmont Patient’s Assistance Fund,” Roberts said.

“What will make this event a success is if those who are battling cancer feel inspired and have renewed hope,” Roberts said. “That’ll come through hearing cancer survivors and hearing their stories and through knowing that there’s something like the patient’s assistance fund that’s going to encourage them.”

Visit http://friendsforthefight.com to purchase tickets and provide sponsorship for the evening. The deadline to purchase tickets is May 6. From April 12-19, receive a free T-shirt with purchase of an event ticket.

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