So...Cancer Services Turned 60 This Year and So Did I

Written by: Jennifer Lane-Riefler Posted on: November 21, 2019 Blog: Jennifer says

So, I turned 60 years old this year and so did Cancer Services of Grant County. As I look over my last 60 years I can reflect on ups and downs and milestones and celebrations. I have been present for all of it. Of course, I don’t remember it all but I can always ask my mom. She fills in the blanks for me.

I don’t know anyone that I can talk to that has followed Cancer Services of Grant County for 60 years. I wish I did. I know all about the past 20 years since I arrived on the scene in 1999 as Executive Director.I can tell you thousands of stories about thousands of clients that I met and worked with throughout the years. Some with happy endings and some with very sad endings. All of my stories have better outcomes than they would have if Cancer Services had not stepped in to help all of those folks with whatever it was they needed during their cancer journey.

Today I will share a story. I met with this lady and welcomed her into the Cancer Services’ family. She wasn’t like everyone else that is diagnosed with cancer.She wasn’t afraid. She was bothered by why everyone was making such a big deal about this “spot” on her head. “It’s just a spot.” Her mindset was that all of this was a bother. She lived alone, had no family close, didn’t drive, and was used to taking care of herself. She was very thin and weak and needed a walker to get around. Her handicap was comprehension. She didn’t understand most things. Our challenge was to fill any gaps that she faced. The “spot” was found in a routine medical appointment and she had been referred to a dermatologist. The “spot” was in fact melanoma, a very dangerous cancer. We spent a lot of time together traveling to Indianapolis to meet with specialists and surgeons to determine the best solution to remove the melanoma. The surgeons explained their plan to remove that “spot” and with the precision of plastic surgeons put the top of her head back together again. I spent hours explaining the process so that she could understand and feel more comfortable with all the fuss. The first time I escorted her to meet with her group of surgeons I helped her back into her home and put her leftover lunch in the refrigerator. It was barren. At that moment the depth of her needs became apparent. My staff and I worked closely with her, local oncologists, and her surgeons in Indianapolis to ensure that a plan was in place for her travel, comfort, safety and wellbeing throughout and after the process. Her surgery was successful. She had months of home health care to help her to regain strength. Groceries, Meals on Wheels, and prescription delivery were set in place. We introduced her to “new friends” in her community that she could reach out to look in on her. Her treatment is going well. She is well fed, has gained weight and strength, and is safe and looked after. She learned to reach out for and accept help. She learned what it was like to be cared for and cared about. She will be a member of our family forever.

I can share 20 years of stories of people, of events and programs, and donors and milestones and disappointments. But, the best thing I can tell you is that Grant County has a 60-year-old organization that cares about and for anyone fighting any kind of cancer. An organization made up of staff and volunteers that truly care about people every day. Your gift makes that possible. I can assure you that the doors of this fine agency are still open today because of the generosity of donors like you. Thank you in advance for your generous donation. 100% of all funds stay in Grant County.

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