‘Whatever it takes’: Super support for Answer to Cancer

Grand Harbor residents and friends packed the Grand Harbor Golf Club last Monday evening for another sold-out Answer to Cancer event, which since 2005 has raised and donated close to $600,000 to fund projects and equipment through the Indian River Medical Center Foundation to what is now the Scully-Welsh Cancer Center.

The annual day-long fundraiser, which features a gorgeous day on the links followed by cocktails, auctions, raffles and a gourmet buffet dinner, was originally founded by Carole Plante and the late Don Casey, whose wife Carole picked up the standard last year. With her characteristic indomitable spirit, she continued this year with co-chair Terry Leggett.

“This doesn’t happen without a huge army of people,” said Casey, thanking generous sponsors, the hard-working committee, Grand Harbor staff and the many attendees who continue to support efforts to assist individuals coping with the devastating disease, honor survivors and remember those who lost their battle.

The initial money raised was used to improve patient care facilities. More recently it funded the introduction of DigniCaps, which cool hair follicles to help chemo patients keep their hair. Funding last year and again this year supports the Patient Care Navigation Program, which assists patients and families throughout the complicated cancer process. This year funding will also be used to purchase AccuVein technology, to enable accurate venipuncture for chemotherapy patients.

“It means so much to the community, what you do,” said Casey, before introducing Sandy Webster, the “nurse navigator supreme” who assisted her during her husband’s illness.

“Navigation is really just an opportunity for us to get in front of the patient when newly diagnosed so that you have someone with you to educate you, answer questions, navigate through your continual care,” said Webster. “We just help people get through that and stand by their side from diagnosis to cure; diagnosis to the end, whatever it takes for them.”

“You really have had a marked impact on our ability to help patients within the cancer center. You are helping to support programs that make a difference in the quality of life of our patients,” said Dr. James Grichnik, Scully-Welsh medical director. “We really do appreciate all the work that you do on behalf of our patients as we try to help people get through some very challenging times.”

Dr. Stephen Patterson, the oncologist who treated Don Casey, said that as caregivers they see the impact the money raised makes on lives of patients coping with a cancer diagnosis. “All of us really appreciate your efforts,” he said.

Photos by: Mary Schenkel
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