Apr 26, 2013 9:35 AM by Marissa Torres
A cancer diagnosis is difficult enough. So when patients and their families are forced to deal with the financial burdens of medical treatment, it can be quite overwhelming.
"We were with our son at the beginning of his life, and we got to be with him at the end of his life. And i'm grateful for that. The most unnatural act of all is for a parent, or parents to lose their child. That's not supposed to happen."
But for Rod and Leslie Bernson, it was a difficult truth they had to face.
"He pretty much lost his ability to speak, so he was writing notes. And he wrote a note and said 'am I going to die.' And Leslie says 'yes' Matthew. And Matthew writes, 'that sucks.'
At the age of 35-- their son Matthew was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer.
"We knew that he had Adenocarcinoma which as all in his lungs, his bones, his hip his spine, and it progressed from there."
As the family clung to hope-- help was waiting in the wings. Matthew was in between jobs and without health insurance.
Social workers with Memorial Hospitals Circle of Hope Fun then stepped in and not only help provide financial relief, but gave the family something you can't put a price on.
"They said look, you guys concentrate on treatments and being with Matt, and we're take care of everything else. And they did."
Circle of Hope gives that same relief to more than a hundred patients a year. It works solely off of donations-- with every penny going toward the families.
(CARY BLANCHETTE, MEMORIAL) "sometimes we're able to pay 500 dollars or a thousand dollars for somebody's rent and food and maybe some taxi vouchers to get them to their appointments." says Cary Blanchette, Executive Director of Memorial Hospital Foundation.
"In one case, a young woman didn't have a winter coat. Now we're living in Colorado, it gets awfully cold here. Could you imagine having to deal with a cancer diagnosis and not have a winter coat."
It's a kindness the Bernson's know first hand.
"I know someone out there, they don't know this, but they helped our son."
And one they've made an effort to return the favor year after year.
"There will be somebody out there that you might never know, that you'll never run into. That you're going to make their cancer journey easier. And that is a fabulous feeling."
Circle of Hope spends more a hundred thousand dollars a year helping cancer patients, and now Blanchette says it's about to run out of funds.
To learn more, click here.