When cancer strikes, it doesn’t check calendars for convenient times or take rain checks. The bad news can arrive quickly, turning lives upside down within days. Ask John*, a 36-year-old husband and father. John just started a job in a new state when a routine dental exam followup triggered a series of tests that led to a diagnosis of a deadly blood cancer: acute myeloid leukemia. Within days, John needed to start chemotherapy at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, the treatment arm of Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.
A safety net for patients and families
He and his family arrived in Seattle with no income (Social Security disability requires six months of ‘disability’ prior to benefits), no place to live and no medical coverage. Thanks to contributions like yours, they did have a safety net: the Family Assistance Fund. The Fund, supported entirely by private donations, helped John and his family during their most chaotic hours to ensure they had food, a place to stay and the resources to find long-term housing. The Family Assistance Fund allowed him and his family to focus on what matters most. John would like to thank donors like you who made this possible.
Thank you for providing housing and financial assistance to those who need it
We at Fred Hutch would also like to thank you. Often, the most promising option for patients’ cancer care lies outside their local communities. Before these patients can even begin to focus on their most important challenge — getting well — they and their families must first summon the courage and the resources to travel to a distant, unfamiliar city. Their most pressing need is for affordable housing during their stay and, for some, financial help. With your support, the Pete Gross House provides this housing and the Family Assistance Fund provides this help.
By helping the Pete Gross House and the Family Assistance Fund, you ease the burden felt by out-of-town patients. Every year, the House serves hundreds of families who have come to Seattle to seek lifesaving care by offering affordable, temporary housing just blocks away from world-class medical providers. At the end of a long day of treatment, its residents find a safe, comfortable place to call home and a supportive community of fellow residents who understand the unique challenges of cancer therapy.
More important than ever
The fight against cancer takes a toll on more than the body; it upends family finances. In fact, recent research at Fred Hutch has revealed that bankruptcy rates increase almost three-fold after a cancer diagnosis. This stark statistic reminds us that amid the physical, emotional and financial chaos that follows a cancer diagnosis, we must ensure that the families and patients fighting cancer have their most basic needs met during treatment.
Thank you again for sharing our commitment to the emotional and logistical support of these patients and families — and for your continued optimism that, together, we can put an end to the human suffering caused by cancer.
*The patient’s name was changed to protect his family’s privacy.