Last spring, Susan G. Komen announced a new mission delivery and operational model, resulting in the centralization of Komen services and the shift from local Affiliates to regional teams. This decision, combined with a devastating drop in fundraising, essentially eliminated the programs funded by the Puget Sound Affiliate, including the Breast Cancer Patient Assistance Fund (BCPAF). The fund was made possible with grants from the Puget Sound Affiliate and administered by Cancer Lifeline, and had granted money for basic needs such as rent, food, utilities or transportation to thousands of Western Washington breast cancer patients since its inception in 2002.
Cancer Lifeline Steps Up
Founded in 1973, Cancer Lifeline serves people impacted by all types of cancer: The Lifeline and support groups provide emotional support, and financial navigators help cancer patients with funds and resources to help with basic needs while going through treatment. All of the organization’s programs and services are offered free of charge.
Cancer Lifeline also funds and administers its own patient financial assistance fund (CLPAF) which has historically excluded breast cancer patients to avoid redundancy with the Komen BCPAF. With the news that Komen Puget Sound was discontinuing the BCPAF, Cancer Lifeline quickly expanded CLPAF eligibility criteria to include breast cancer, and kicked fundraising efforts into high gear.
Cancer Lifeline was able to accommodate a significant number of grant requests for low-income breast cancer patient in 2020: A total of 847 breast cancer patients received financial awards, and an additional 493 patients were connected to other financial resources in our community.
Cancer Lifeline has also adapted its programming in response to the pandemic, moving classes and support groups to 100% remote, which has actually increased the number of people served! Clients with limited mobility or compromised immune systems are now able to attend classes that were previously offered only in person.
GiveBIG to Cancer Lifeline
There are many worthy organizations participating in GiveBIG this year, but I ask that you consider supporting Cancer Lifeline with a gift that will allow them to continue much needed programs and services for people living with cancer in our community.
p.s. Several former Cancer Lifeline board members and I have joined together to raise funds in memory of our dear friend, Julie Hillers ❤️