By Marret Christiansen
I'm no stranger to the impact caused by cancer. In June of 2005 my father, Johannes, was diagnosed with renal cancer. My Mom, Ina, and I accompanied Dad to all his treatments. Despite our fight and continued hope for a cure, Dad passed away in January 2006. This was an extremely difficult time for my family.
In February of 2011 during a routine annual check-up, it was discovered that I had cancer as well. Reeling with disbelief and denial, I thought this can't be happening to me. My family just went through this. Why me? Why now?
When you are diagnosed with cancer it pulls the rug out from under you. You are afraid you're going to die, afraid of having chemo pumped into your system, afraid it will spread. Then there is the realization that this will be expensive. Even though I knew that I couldn't afford the treatments, I had no choice if I wanted to live. Many others that I met during treatments had to make the same choice.
Living in Western Montana and knowing there is help through the St. Patrick Hospital Foundation helped ease my financial and emotional stress. When you are able to get help, it takes a load off your shoulders and you are so grateful that people care enough to help. It really is overwhelming to know the people who donated to Team Up Montana helped save my life, and they don't even know me! Thank you to everyone who has made a donation!
St. Patrick Hospital Cancer Compassion Fund
People diagnosed with cancer must prepare themselves to be tried physically and emotionally, and are often also faced with financial struggles. The cancer compassion fund through St. Patrick Hospital Foundation was created to make sure that no one facing cancer in Western Montana has to fight alone.
Donations given to the Cancer Compassion Fund provides financial assistance for basic necessities such as food, lodging and gas money for patients in rural areas to travel to treatment, as well as early detection screening and education. Donations may help fill a tank of gas, pay a utility bill or provide lodging for a husband while his wife undergoes radiation away from home. This fund helps people who need to focus on getting well, instead of worrying about how they will get their bills paid.