Community organizations ensuring cancer patients access care

CoxHealth Cancer Center Branson Patient Navigator Angelia Huels, left, hands Wilburn Clark and his wife Sonja a card to help with fuel costs of accessing cancer care, while Patient Navigator Marcy Keltner, right, watches.

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Sonja and Wilburn Clark are quick to share how blessed they are despite both getting cancer diagnoses within one month of each other.

The couple travels from Protem to Branson five times a week for Wilburn Clark’s radiation treatments and Sonja Clark’s visits with her oncologist. It’s about an hour drive one-way for each visit.

Getting the care they need is costly but several organizations in the community have stepped up to help alleviate some of the financial burden for cancer patients like the Clarks.

This year Table Rock Lake Community Foundation, White River Valley Electric Cooperative’s Operation Round Up program and First Community Bank of the Ozarks have all stepped up to provide funding for Skaggs Foundation’s cancer center gas card program. In addition, employees of Cox Medical Center Branson who donate to Skaggs Foundation have helped contribute an additional $1,000 to the program.

“Transportation continues to be one of the biggest challenges for patients in our community,” said Ben Morris, director of CoxHealth Cancer Center Branson. “Cancer care routinely requires multiple visits to the hospital, and those trips add up quickly.”

Morris said it’s a blessing to be able to help patients like the Clarks who just need a little extra help getting to the care they need.

“I don’t know that those who give to this program realize that the people they are helping, how much they need this,” said Angelia Huels, RN, a patient navigator at the cancer center, who helps patients like the Clarks access the resources they need.

“Sonja and I want to thank you so much for what you have done for us during this time of need,” Wilburn Clark said.

In addition to making the cancer center gas card program possible, Skaggs Foundation funds a lunch program for cancer patients and recently received funding from White River Valley Electric’s Operation Round Up to also provide nutritional drinks to patients who need the additional nutrition. To give to any of these or other Skaggs Foundation programs, call 417-348-8998 or visit SkaggsFoundation.org.

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