Cancer Services for Rutherford County
RHI Legacy Foundation formed a program called Cancer Services for Rutherford County in 2014. The Foundation adopted and began expanding several community initiatives involving cancer prevention, early diagnosis, and support for cancer patients. The new Foundation used funds from the former Rutherford Hospital Foundation that had been contributed specifically for cancer programs to support those services. At the same time, Rutherford Regional Health System stated their commitment to continue Cancer Patient Navigation and the Pink Ladies Support group, so charitable donations were no longer needed to support those functions.
In early 2017, RHI Legacy Foundation entered a partnership with the Community Health Council of Rutherford County to address chronic disease initiatives through the Health Council, rather than directly through the Foundation. At that time, Cancer Services for Rutherford County became a program of the Community Health Council and the CHC formed a cancer sub-committee to oversee Cancer Services.
Cancer Services for Rutherford County:
- RHI Legacy Foundation provides funds for mammograms for women without health insurance through an annual grant made to the Health Department. The Health Department qualifies women for the service and Rutherford Regional provides the mammogram. Our Foundation (from donated funds and the proceeds of special events) pays for the service when other means of payment are not available.
- We provide funds for Cancer Patient Assistance for patients who experience financial difficulties as a result of their treatment and recovery. Assistance can be used for food, rent, utilities, medical equipment or supplies, transportation, life insurance premiums, liquid nourishment, medications, etc. Referrals come from physicians’ offices throughout the county and from the Patient Navigators at Rutherford Regional. We spend time with the patient and develop a plan to help them financially and often connect them to other resources in the county for additional support. We cannot pay for doctor’s or hospital bills from charitable funds.
- We provide supplies and volunteers for Be Your Own Beautiful, a class that teaches women to care for their skin and scalp during chemotherapy and hair loss. We also purchase wigs for cancer patients and accept donations of turbans, scarves, and hats to offer to our women in the Be Your Own Beautiful program and on a walk-in basis. Many community groups make and donate these and other comfort items.
- We facilitate a monthly sub-committee meeting including providers from Rutherford Regional Health System, the Community Health Center, the Health Department, Levine Cancer Institute, Radiation Therapy, and many other providers who touch cancer patients in our community. During this meeting, we initiate and coordinate cancer education, prevention, screening, and patient support services for our county.
- We serve as the contact for fundraising and outreach activities to procure financial and material support for local Cancer Services. New funding is received, acknowledged, and held by RHI Legacy Foundation until it is needed.
- A future goal for Cancer Services for Rutherford county is to become a self-sustaining, separate non-profit entity to serve the needs of the county when this becomes feasible.