Blue Jean Ball Raises Funds and Friends for Cancer CARE Fund
BY BRENDA BOUSER
Special to The Pilot
For the better part of a decade, the Blue Jean Ball has fulfilled two important purposes.
It has raised money for the Cancer CARE Fund of the Moore Regional Hospital Foundation, money that has assisted hundreds of FirstHealth cancer patients in hundreds of ways.
It has also provided a unique evening of fun and fellowship for Cancer CARE Fund volunteers and supporters.
This year should be no different.
The ninth annual friend-raising and fundraising Blue Jean Ball will be held Saturday, June 2, from 6:30 to 11 p.m. at the Fair Barn in Pinehurst.
A ticket, at $60 per person, gives the holder access to a barbecue buffet with beer and wine along with dancing to live music - all to benefit the Cancer CARE Fund.
Since the year 2000, the Cancer CARE Fund has disbursed more than $600,000 to local cancer patients, helping provide transportation, nutritional supplements, medications, medical supplies, meal vouchers, wigs and personal care items.
This year, money from the Cancer CARE Fund will also help support a new service. The oncology nurse navigator will serve as an advocate for patients, assisting with their entry into the health care system and assuring their timely access to quality medical and psychosocial care.
Beginning June 4, the position will be filled by Lynn Agee, a registered nurse with nearly 25 years of experience in various FirstHealth services.
Agee, who most recently served as care navigation nurse with the FirstNavistar information call center, has a BSN from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, where she is now enrolled in the MSN program focusing on community and public health nursing. She received her Guided Care Nurse certification from Johns Hopkins Hospital and University last year.
According to Ellen Willard, M.D., medical director of the FirstHealth Outpatient Cancer Center, FirstHealth's cancer program already provides many of the duties included in navigation job descriptions at other facilities. Programs that focus on transportation and financial assistance are well-established, and Cancer CARE-Net volunteers are ready when called upon to provide one-on-one support as patients progress through their treatment.
The oncology nurse navigator will have a different role.
"We expect our navigator will improve access to the system by helping referring physicians send cancer patients to the right physician initially and by assisting patients who want to find out if we offer certain services," Willard says. "She will also help maintain contact with patients who are referred to outside institutions for specific procedures or tests so that they can appropriately re-enter our system when they are ready to do so."
Numerous other services for cancer patients and families are also supported by the Cancer CARE Fund and the Moore Regional Hospital Foundation. One is the Cancer CARE-Net program, which pairs newly diagnosed patients with volunteers who also have faced the challenges of cancer.
"Being able to offer the CARE-Net program and the resources provided by the Cancer CARE Fund is a tremendous blessing," says CARE-Net coordinator Laura Kuzma. "Even more touching is the fact that these funds come directly from the community to support those in the community. It's almost as if the community is collectively wrapping its arms around those in need, and I can promise you the patients and families feel that and appreciate it greatly."
In 2011, funds from the Blue Jean Ball benefited the Clara McLean House at FirstHealth. Now open on the Moore Regional Hospital campus, "Clara's House" serves patients who are receiving treatment at the hospital and their families by offering a place of rest and respite between medical treatments or hospital visits.
"The inspiration for a place of overnight lodging and other supportive services originated with the Cancer CARE Fund Committee almost 12 years ago," says Clara's House director, Rebecca Ainslie. "Today, the greatest disbursement of funds from our Cancer CARE Fund helps patients with transportation expenses. Now we can offer a commuting patient receiving daily radiation treatment the opportunity to stay overnight to reduce the amount of stress on the patient and family and to save on their cost of transportation.
"This beautiful new facility is a wonderful addition to the services provided to cancer patients and their families."
For more information on the Cancer CARE Fund of the Moore Regional Hospital Foundation, call (910) 695-7500.
Brenda Bouser works in the public affairs office of FirstHealth of the Carolinas.
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