St. Agnes House: Helping patients focus on the fight

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Below is a guest post from member Ellie Schoenberger of the blog One Crafty Mother. Ellie was recently declared in remission from tonsil cancer. You can read more about her cancer journey on her blog. Hearing you have cancer is one of those moments in life that you never forget, like when you hear about the assassination of a president or the tragic events of 9/11; the moment is forever emblazoned in your brain.  Where you were, what you were wearing, what trivial thing you were thinking about moments before your world turned upside down.

What happens next is a whirlwind of scary newness. Meetings with countless doctors, second opinions (if you're lucky enough to live near choices of health care), coming to terms with ugly terms like 'chemotherapy', 'radiation', 'hair loss', 'survival odds'.

You form a treatment plan with your doctor, you tuck in and you fight.  You fight with everything you've got. You pray. You ask for help.  And then you pray some more.

There are so many things that you could never know about cancer until you've been through it, though.

How powerless it makes your loved ones feel. How expensive it is, and that where you receive treatment has a lot to do with your odds of survival, especially if you have a rarer form of cancer.

Sometimes to get the care you need you have to uproot your whole life and head to where the right care for you is located. If you're lucky you can afford to do this, hopefully bringing at least one loved one along.  If you're lucky, you can afford to have your kids come visit.  If you're lucky.

St. Agnes House (www.stagneshouse.org) is a nonprofit mission providing economical lodging for adult patients and their caregivers who have traveled to Lexington, Kentucky seeking treatment for serious illnesses (predominantly cancer) at area hospitals and other medical care facilities. It is within walking distance of one hospital, and a short drive to several other hospitals/health care facilities.

It  provides not only affordable accommodations, ($10/night!) but also community and support, which is so desperately needed when going through a chronic illness.  The rooms are private, but there is communal living and kitchen space that encourages families to connect and share stories, resources, and support.

I know from first-hand experience how meaningful it is to have access to a place like St. Agnes House when your head is swimming with fear, logistics, expenses, doctors, and treatment plans.  Having an affordable place to stay while you're receiving treatment allows you to focus on what is most important: the fight.

Please consider going to St. Agnes House's website and donating (at the splash page it will askyou to click on the device you're using, and then it will take you to their home page, where there is a "donate" button).  $70 pays for afamily to stay for a week. $30 pays for a weekend.  $5 makes a difference. .

If youcan't afford to donate; will you please share the linkto St. Agnes House on your Facebook page or Twitter account? (www.stagneshouse.org) Help spread the word about this important resource. The statistics on cancer are really scary; a recent one stated that one in three people will be afflicted with cancer in their lifetime. So even if cancer has never touched your life directly, odds are that someday it will (either yourself or a loved one), so donating to cancer causes and cancer research organizations is something that helps all of us.

Thank you

BlogKaitlyn