EVERETT — Going through cancer treatment comes at a steep price. When combined with everyday expenses, the toll can be overwhelming. Sandra Caillouette knows this all too well.
She started treatment in 2012 with the Providence Regional Cancer Partnership for Stage 4 lymphoma, and she still goes in for checkups to monitor the progress of her recovery. But Providence has given much more to Caillouette than just medical care.
Due to the rigorous nature of the treatment, she was unable to work. With reduced income, she and her husband began to fall behind on bills.
“You have so much stress going on when you have cancer,” even without the financial struggles, Caillouette said.
Then, things started to turn around. Caillouette’s counselor at Providence told her about the hospital’s cancer patient assistance fund, which helps families with financial issues while they are undergoing chemotherapy or radiation.
After Caillouette’s request for assistance was granted, the fund helped pay her mortgage and utility bills, even helping rent space for the couple to store their belongings when they were forced to move.
The fund serves more than 60 people a year. It has covered additional basic expenses that burden cancer patients.
Past examples include ferry tickets, car insurance, auto repair, washing machines and wheelchairs. The organization also has purchased Safeway and Fred Meyer gift cards to help with groceries.
Every year, the group distributes between $40,000 and $45,000. Caillouette is grateful to have been a recipient.
“It was like a miracle,” she said.
To accomplish that mission, the fund relies on donations. Volunteers organize fundraisers as well, and two have become annual events: a car show called Wheels on the Waterfront at Boxcar Park in Everett, and a golf tournament put on by the Everett Golf & Country Club.
For more information about the cancer patient assistance fund, visit www.cancerpartnership.org.
Kaitlyn Johnson is a ninth-grader at Cavelero Mid High School in Lake Stevens.