By Emily Banks Wooten
The Rotary Club of Livingston recently heard a program about the Center of Hope Cancer Support ministry.
“For several years, my daughter and her husband have held a crawfish/shrimp boil. It initially was to benefit Relay for Life but after that went away, they began contributing to F.A.I.T.H. Military Support Group and Center of Hope through Polk County Cares, an organization they began to partner with the community. It is held every February on the second Saturday. This next one will be the 11th,” Rotarian Judy Cochran said, as she introduced her guests, Gloria Barber and Dawn Schmidt. Barber is a director of Center of Hope and Schmidt is a director of the cancer support ministry.
“Many of you were involved with Relay for Life but the teams started dropping off when the American Cancer Society stopped sending money to Polk County. When things started to dissolve, Jeanie Binns had a heart to entertain some kind of ministry for cancer patients,” Barber said.
“In 2018, a cancer support ministry was formed at Center of Hope and then Jeanie got sick so Dawn stepped up. We lost Jeanie about a year ago but her legacy lives on,” Barber said.
The cancer support ministry is a Christian-based ministry dedicated to providing financial assistance to Polk County citizens currently receiving cancer treatment.
Anyone living in Polk County who has been diagnosed with any type of cancer and is currently receiving treatment is eligible to apply for the services. There are no restrictions on family income. Initially, monthly assistance with travel and parking expenses will be offered.
All that is needed to apply for financial assistance is proof of residence in Polk County and documentation from a doctor, oncologist or nurse stating the diagnosis and treatment schedule.
According to Schmidt, the ministry is currently running about 70-75 clients. Of those, some come every three weeks, some every six months and some once a day for five weeks. The ministry has recently capped expenses at $2,000 annually per person.
“The clients are very grateful, appreciative,” Schmidt said. “Cancer treatment affects all the cells in your body. Chemo causes other things complications unrelated to what you’re treating cancer for.”
Tax-deductible donations to the cancer support ministry will allow additional local cancer patients to be served. To make a donation, make your check payable to COH Cancer Support and mail to COH Cancer Support Ministry, P.O. Box 1973, Livingston, TX 77351. Anyone interested in volunteering with the ministry may call 936-327-7634.