– By Jamie Turner –
Neighbors helping neighbors in the fight against cancer; ultimately, that’s what the Savannah River Cancer Foundation does. What is little known is that that Aiken-based foundation also serves cancer patients in Edgefield County.
“We actually serve four South Carolina counties: Aiken, Edgefield, Barnwell and Allendale,” said Jamie Turner, the executive director of the foundation. “We help people who reside in these counties of any age with any type of cancer being treated at any facility.”
Though the foundation has developed a good footprint in Aiken County, getting the word out to the other counties has been a challenge, and that’s what Turner is trying to do. “We’ll come out to talk with civic groups, doctors, hospitals, churches. We’ll mail, email or fax information. You name it,” Turner said. “Anything to let patients walking this very difficult and personal path know that we can help.
The Savannah River Cancer Foundation offers financial assistance to cancer patients in the form of gas money to get to their treatments and with the cost of cancer-related medication. This assistance is offered to patients who fall within 200% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines. Regardless of income, the foundation also provides referrals to other organizations that provide assistance and maintains the Web site www.savannahrivercancerfoundation, which has cancer information and links to other cancer organizations.
The foundation also co-facilitates a support group for cancer patients, their families and caregivers. It is held the third Wednesday of each month (excluding December) from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. in the Parlor at Aiken’s First Baptist Church, 120 Chesterfield Street, NE, in downtown Aiken. Patients who qualify for financial assistance can receive a gas card to get to and from the support group.
Another part of the foundation’s mission is to educate about the early detection and prevention of cancer. It does this by partnering with other organizations and various media to present programs relating to specific common cancers, especially breast, colorectal, prostate and melanoma; distributing educational materials including SRCF Fact Sheets with information about risk factors, warning signs, screening and diagnosis and providing speakers to various community groups about cancer screening and prevention.
Financial assistance applications can be filled out on the foundation’s Web site, or patients can call toll-free (866) 870-LIFE (5433) to request an application by mail. To speak with Turner about speaking to your group, call the toll-free number or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“We look forward to building a relationship with cancer patients, doctors and other medical professionals in Edgefield County,” Turner said. “We know there is a need. We just have to let patients know that we are here and eager to help.”
The Savannah River Cancer Foundation is at 235 Barnwell Avenue, NW, Aiken, SC 29801. Office hours are 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday.