Together We Can Make a Difference
by Jackie Bearse
Florida Cancer Specialist Foundation Board Member
Founding Chair of Time to Remember
The Thompsons imagined retirement as long walks along a sandy beach, with picturesque sunsets. But instead they were both diagnosed with cancer – two months apart. He with lung cancer and she had a malignant tumor in her breast. Now instead of their leisurely walks – they are going through cancer treatment together – on a fixed income. Behind in their car payment and with overdue utility bills, the Thompsons applied for and were given immediate assistance from the Florida Cancer Specialists Foundation.
As two-time cancer survivor and a patient myself, I spent many hours sitting in waiting rooms listening to fellow cancer patients – just like the Thompsons – discuss very real and frightening problems about how to pay their bills and keep a roof over their heads while undergoing treatment. When you are fighting cancer, you don’t need the extra stress of worrying about finances too.
A VISION OF HELPING ALL OF THOSE FIGHTING CANCER
Fortunately Dr. Bill Harwin, president and founder of Florida Cancer Specialists (FCS), had a vision. As an Oncologist, who treats cancer patients, he was acutely aware of the financial burden cancer typically imposes on a family budget. His vision was to complete the circle of care – from providing clinical care to providing financial assistance to patients in need so they could focus on what really matters – fighting their cancer.
A group of FCS physicians joined Dr. Harwin in making his dream a reality, and together established and funded the FCS Foundation, which transitioned to a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, with a mission to fund the real and everyday needs of families with mortgage, rent, phone, electriity and water bills through its AVAIL fund. The Foundation helps non-FCS patients as well.
What’s important to know is that the Foundation staff and overhead are paid for by FCS, which means that every dollar raised by the Foundation goes directly to helping cancer patients.
FUTURE FUNDING COMES FROM COMMUNITY-WIDE SUPPORT
Within the first years, patient financial assistance requests increased by 85% and it became necessary to engage the help and generosity of the community for the less fortunate.
In 2014, I had the privilege of chairing the first major fundraising event “Rio Carnival” where FCS physicians, partner physicians, patients, survivors, corporate business partners and supportive guests came together at the sold-out event. With this major effort and other donations to the FCS Foundation grants given to patients in need have exceeded $1 million.
However, there is more work to do and we need everyone’s help.
Please join the Foundation in its ongoing effort to provide meaningful support to individuals in Florida battling cancer by attending
its biennial signature fundraising event – “Time to Remember” on April 16, 2016 at The Ritz-Carlton, Naples. (For more information please read the side story here.)
Together we have and will continue to significantly impact and directly touch the lives of cancer patients in Florida.
Florida Cancer Specialists Foundation
Invites You to a Time to Remember
When: Saturday, April 16, 2016
Time: 6 – 11 p.m.
Where: The Ritz-Carlton Hotel, Naples
What: Cocktails, conversation, dinner and
Entertainment: Live performance by Martha
Reeves & The Vandellas
Live Auction: Fund-A-Family live bidding
experience to directly support families of
cancer patients. Live auction of unique items
Benefiting: The FCS Foundation providing
non-medical living expense assistance to
qualified cancer patients.
Patty Baker, Chair • Jackie Bearse, Founding
Chair • Kirsten Ferrara & Jean Hertzog:
Tickets are $600 per person and
sponsorship/underwriting are available.
For More Information: please call
941.677.7181 or visit
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