By Julie Muhlstein Herald Columnist
An old piano, a new friendship, Julie Batson tells quite a story about her mission to raise money to help cancer patients.
More than year ago, she and her husband, oncologist Dr. Oliver Batson, had moved from Bothell to a house in north Everett. “An old antique piano had been left in our home. We didn’t know what to do, so we put it on Craigslist,” she said.
Jessica Reynolds, a young mom, called to say she would love the piano to teach her children to play. When Reynolds’ husband David came with a friend to haul the piano away, he saw a familiar face. “Lo and behold, he sees my husband and says ‘Hi, Dr. Batson,” Julie Batson said.
David Reynolds, it turned out, was a patient at Providence Regional Cancer Partnership, where Dr. Batson works.
On Nov. 11, Providence General Foundation, the fund provides money and gift cards for everyday expenses, including utility bills, groceries and gas.
On Saturday, the fund will get a boost from a first-ever event called Rummage for Relief, a sale of household goods, artwork, clothing and other items. The sale, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., will be in the turnaround area outside the Providence Regional Cancer Partnership on 13th Street, across from Providence Regional Medical Center Everett.
Rummage for Relief is being organized by Julie Batson, who said she and her husband have talked about ways to help people struggling with cancer. Not only is Dr. Batson an oncologist, he lost his first wife to the disease. Dr. Jennie Batson, a specialist in obstetrics and gynecology at The Everett Clinic, died in 1997.
Jen DeLong, event manager for the Providence General Foundation, said the Patient Assistance Fund has been helping for more than 30 years. It’s not meant to pay medical bills. “It’s there to provide a safety net for patients,” DeLong said. “Maybe they aren’t able to work as much while they’re going through cancer treatment, or they need help with transportation or a hotel if they live far away.”
In 2012, DeLong said, the fund distributed $36,000. “From 2009 to 2012, it doubled, from $18,000 to $36,000. The needs have skyrocketed,” she said.
Saturday’s sale outside the cancer center will coincide with the Northwest Neighborhood Association’s Mother of All Garage Sales. That annual event draws hundreds of yard-sale shoppers to the Everett neighborhood north of 19th Street and west of Broadway. Garage sale shoppers who make their way to Rummage for Relief will find a mobile espresso stand and snacks, as well as donated sale items.
Julie Batson said when she told Jessica Reynolds about Rummage for Relief, the young mother asked how she could help. Batson said her answer was, “How about if you write a little testimonial?”
From her new home in Eastern Washington, Reynolds wrote about her family’s experience when her husband was a cancer patient:
“I remember vividly how he came home one time from treatment and there were big tears in his eyes as he explained how the clinic reached out and wanted to help us financially,” she wrote. “Numerous times we received grocery cards, Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners. The Patient Assistance Fund also made a way for us to do a wonderful Christmas for our children.”
Julie Batson said her husband has talked about being fortunate enough to pay the bills when his first wife was battling cancer.
“Think of all the people who don’t have the resources,” Julie Batson said. “Cancer has touched our lives. This is a way to give back.”
Julie Muhlstein: 425-339-3460; firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rummage for Relief
Rummage for Relief, a sale to benefit the Providence Cancer Patient Assistance Fund, will be held from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday in the turnaround area outside the Providence Regional Cancer Partnership, 1717 13th St. next to Providence Regional Medical Center Everett.
The event coincides with the Mother of All Garage Sales, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday at homes in Everett’s Northwest Neighborhood north of 19th Street and west of Broadway. Information: http://northwesteverett.org/pages/moags.html