FUNraiser to help cancer patients in need

Jackier BearseBy Jackie Bearse

Dealing with a diagnosis of cancer and the subsequent treatment needed to fight the insidious disease is stressful enough without having to worry about how to pay for essentials such as rent or the electric bill.

Elaine Miller had to stop working when she was diagnosed with metastatic Stage 4 breast cancer last February. Although she had some money saved for emergencies and was covered by health insurance, by summer she was having trouble paying her bills.

That’s when one of the financial counselors at Florida Cancer Specialists and Research Institute told her about the oncology practice’s charitable arm, Florida Cancer Specialists Foundation, which provides financial assistance for non-medical bills to qualified cancer patients so they can focus on battling their illness.

“They helped me with my mortgage that month,” said Miller, “and put me in touch with three or four other groups that were able to help me as well. It took the pressure off for a little while.”

Peter Spencer, an Army veteran who completed three tours of duty in Vietnam and now lives in Cape Coral, found himself in a similar situation while being treated for Stage 3 cancer, “When the subject of finances came up I told them I was struggling and they referred me to the foundation. They paid my rent for the month. It was a big help at the time.”

The foundation assists qualified patients, like Miller and Spencer, with non-medical expenses, such as rent or mortgage, utility and telephone payments and transportation costs. Much of the money is donated by the physicians and staff members of Florida Cancer Specialists.

Now the foundation is reaching out to the public in an effort to expand the help it can offer. On April 5, the foundation will hold its inaugural fundraiser. Rio Carnival is the festive, colorful South American FUNraiser, featuring live dance performances, a silent auction, dinner, music and dancing.

Leading the charge for the April event is chair Jackie Bearse, an advisory board member of the foundation. The Naples resident is fortunate to have been successfully treated for both breast and lung cancer, and realized while receiving treatment there were many people who struggled with bills during their battle with cancer.

“I saw so many people who didn’t have transportation or weren’t able to pay for basic necessities,” Bearse said. “When you are being treated for cancer, you don’t need the extra stress of worrying about finances, too.”

Shelly Glenn, Florida Cancer Specialists and Research Institute’s chief marketing and sales officer, hopes this will become an annual event that will grow and, with it, the foundation’s ability to help those who are fighting cancer.

Dr. Mark Rubin, a board-certified oncologist and hematologist, said, “We’d like for everyone to experience this night in true sharing of heart and generosity for the less fortunate in our community. We would love for you to join the members of our medical community, friends and neighbors, patients and former patients and their families, for a fun-filled night for a very serious cause.”


Saturday, April 5, 2014
The event begins at 6 p.m. at The Ritz-Carlton Beach Resort located at 280 Vanderbilt Beach Road in Naples.

Tickets are $500 per person; underwriting and sponsorship opportunities are available.
For more information about the foundation and the event, visit
or call 855.585.5433855.585.5433.

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