In 1944, a handful of individuals in the Fort Wayne area started a group to help those affected by cancer. What began as a small endeavor, providing medical equipment and health supplies to those in need, has evolved into an organization that fully supports those diagnosed with cancer, their family, friends and caregivers in a myriad of ways. Nearly 77 years later, Cancer Services of Northeast Indiana serves roughly 5,000 families annually and provides a wealth of information, resources and programs for every cancer experience.
“We think of ourselves as the community’s response when our friends and neighbors have cancer,” says Stacey Stumpf, development & marketing director. “When someone in our area is diagnosed, we are going to support them. Our programs have grown and changed as needs have changed, and we provide our clients the tools they need to push through treatment and also maintain an excellent quality of life afterwards.”
A large variety of services and programs are offered through the organization, some of which include Courageous Kids, the Clarity Program and various educational programs that regularly cover topics such as sexual health or nutritional wellness.
“Courageous Kids, led by Client Advocate Sandra Thomas, is a program for children affected by cancer through a family member or loved one,” says Stumpf. “We want to make sure that they have the resources they need to cope with this in a healthy way.”
The Clarity Program is for both adults and kids, and is focused on rehabilitation for the brain. Led by Cancer Services’ Clinical Director Marsha Haffner, this program is based on neuroplasticity and building new pathways for the brain.
“There is something called chemo brain and it is very real,” says Stumpf. “It doesn’t only happen as a result of chemotherapy. It can occur after hormone therapy and radiation as well. The Clarity Program eases anxiety surrounding this and rebuilds confidence.”
In addition to these programs, the organization offers a wide range of services such as monthly nutrition workshops, yoga, tai chi and stretching classes, mental health counseling and support groups, oncology massages for those with cancer and relaxation massages for the primary caregivers. Meditation, spiritual support and healing arts classes are provided as well. A wig salon is available to all clients and a fully stocked warehouse with supplies ranging from hand-sewn bed pads to wheelchairs to wound care items is ready whenever the need arises.
“We have something for everybody; every type of cancer and every income level,” says Stumpf. “The more people who take advantage of our services, the better. That is how we gain companionship and feel a little less lonely. Your presence will help someone else going through it.”
While Cancer Services largely supports those diagnosed with cancer and those affected by the disease, it also aids employers through its Cancer in the Workplace Program. The program assists businesses with establishing a plan for employees with cancer, but also urges companies to promote healthy habits. It also encourages businesses to earn Gold Standard accreditation, meaning the employer must take concrete action to reduce the risk and burden of cancer for employees.
“We want to make sure employees are informed about getting screenings at appropriate times,” says Stumpf. “Concentrate on prevention and, if an employee is diagnosed with cancer, be prepared to provide proper support.”
Cancer Services welcomes support from the community in a variety of ways, whether it be monetarily, driving clients to treatment, making chemo caps or helping with administrative tasks. All of these, paired with compassion and a willingness to help, make a direct and positive impact for those battling a disease that affects so many.
The 2021 Tribute Dinner will feature keynote speaker Michelle Chambers. She will share her story of being diagnosed with cancer following her historic election to the Fort Wayne City Council.
Cancer Services of Northeast Indiana’s Annual Tribute Dinner will take place this year on Sept. 1 at 6 p.m. Hosted at The Mirro Center for Research and Innovation, this fundraiser is an opportunity to show support for those battling cancer while also building awareness around the programs available at Cancer Services. Attendees are able to pay respect to friends and family touched by cancer and honor caregivers and physicians.
Purchasing a ticket to the event also gives an opportunity to honor someone with a tribute. These tributes are listed in the event program and will be displayed onscreen above the stage during the evening. If unable to attend, individual tributes are still available for purchase to ensure your loved one is honored.
To make a reservation, a donation or submit a tribute, contact
Chelsea Scofield at (260) 484-9560 or email@example.com.
Address: 6316 Mutual Drive Fort Wayne, Indiana 46825
Phone: (260) 484-9560
Years in Business: 77
Number of Employees: 24
Products & Services: Financial assistance, practical resources and compassionate support for people affected by cancer.