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Cancer Council focuses on hope, prevention


Editor's note: This is the next in a series of articles highlighting the agencies that receive funding from United Way of Ellis County.

Editor's note: This is the next in a series of articles highlighting the agencies that receive funding from United Way of Ellis County.

The Cancer Council of Ellis County Inc. encourages cancer survivors to celebrate life, offers services to patients suffering through cancer treatment and promotes public awareness of behavioral changes that could prevent cancer.

The Day of Caring for Breast Cancer Awareness Brunch and Style Show is scheduled for Oct. 12 at Fort Hays State University';s Memorial Union. The theme for this year's Day of Caring is "Hungry for a Cure."

The brunch will feature Timothy M. Rowh, intern-doctor, who will speak about "Four Ways to Reclaim Your Health and Your Life." Breast cancer survivors model clothing from Hays and Ellis merchants. The models get their hair styled and makeup done by local beauticians. The style show generates hope among all the participants. Tickets are $18 and must be purchased by Monday. Booths in the atrium at FHSU Memorial Union will be open at 9 a.m. The brunch, speaker and style show begins at 10 a.m.

The Cancer Council also is sponsoring the Cancer Survivor Day Tailgate Celebration at 1 p.m. Oct. 19 at FHSU's Lewis Field. A large tent on the east side of the stadium will provide a meeting place for anyone who has survived cancer, their families and caregivers. Refreshments will be available. Tickets to the football game are free, while the supply lasts. Enjoy the FHSU marching band and Tiger football team, while celebrating life after cancer. Join the team and celebrate the game of life. The disease of cancer and treatment no longer is stigmatized by loneliness.

A person facing a diagnosis of cancer and treatment often feel as if their life has been turned upside down. The days following an initial diagnosis can be surreal.

The Cancer Council offers three services to people diagnosed with cancer. Financial assistance -- up to $1,750 per calendar year -- is available for Ellis County residents for cancer-related expenses not covered by insurance. The financial assistance helps ease the worry of paying for recommended treatment.

In addition, the Cancer Council can help an Ellis County patient meet increased calorie recommendations by providing vouchers to purchase supplements prescribed by a doctor. Increased calories assist the patient to maintain weight during treatment. Keeping a person's strength during treatment helps keep the person active. Although treatment sometimes changes the way a person goes about daily activities, a device to assist such as a walker, bath bench, commode or stool riser, is all that is needed to continue with the "normal rhythm" of the day. The Cancer Council has durable medical equipment that can be loaned to residents of Ellis County and surrounding counties.

But prevention of some types of cancer can be as simple as applying sunscreen to skin. The Cancer Council promotes skin cancer awareness by participating in parades. During the parades, volunteers hand out packets of sunscreen as a reminder to wear it. In addition, portable sunscreen dispensers can be borrowed for family and business outdoor events. Sunscreen dispensers are available at local swimming pools. As the portable dispenser reads "Crispy skin is only for pork rinds! Staying sun safe is simple ... Slip on a shirt! Slop on sunscreen! Slap on a hat! Wrap on sunglasses!" Now you're ready to enjoy the outdoor event and decrease your chances of future skin cancer.

With only a part-time director and many good volunteers, the Cancer Council cares for patients in treatment with individual services, looks to publicly celebrate with survivors the advances of medical treatment and prolonged life, and encourages people of all ages to stay safe in the sun.

The Cancer Council receives funding from United Way of Ellis County, city of Hays, Heartland Community Foundation, memorials, donations, grants and fundraisers put on by the Cancer Council and community organizations and businesses.

The Cancer Council of Ellis County has helped individuals dealing with cancer in Ellis County for more than 27 years. Offices are at 114 W. Seventh in Hays and the agency can be contacted by calling (785) 625-6653.