Community Corner: San Francisco Nonprofit Provides Comfort For Cancer Patients

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Young cancer patient receives a Comfort Kit. (GivingComfort.org)

Young cancer patient receives a Comfort Kit. (GivingComfort.org)

KCBS Community Corner
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CBS SF Bay (con't)

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SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – A San Francisco non-profit says the everyday needs of cancer patients are often forgotten.

That’s why Giving Comfort is providing personalized Comfort Kits to cancer patients in need.  These kits contain simple but essential items that help bring immediate comfort and relief to those undergoing chemotherapy treatment.  Since the program began a year ago,  20,000 kits have been distributed but the goal is to get a kit in the hands of every cancer patient in need.

Carrie Varoquiers, President of the McKesson Foundation which runs the Giving Comfort program, said although there are many reputable organizations that focus on cancer research and cures, what often gets overlooked are the everyday, immediate needs such as blankets, socks, and lip balm, and toys and games for the younger patients.

KCBS’ Connie C. Kim talks to Carrie Varoquiers, President of the McKesson Foundation, and Alexandra Morgan, CEO of Family House:

“Sometimes the really immediate gifts of comfort that ease some of the financial burden and also some of the physical and mental anguish that comes with a cancer treatment really can be very, very useful to a family in that moment,” Varoquiers explained, “so that’s why we started Giving Comfort to provide that immediate assistance in the here and now.”

The foundation surveyed more than 1,000 oncologists, nurses and cancer patients and survivors to identify useful and needed items.  Chemotherapy often makes patients feel cold and nauseous so warm blankets and anti-nausea tea are just some of the items included in the kits.

The kits are assembled by volunteers and distributed through nonprofits such as Family House.

Family House provides free temporary housing for families with children receiving cancer treatment.  Alexandra Morgan, CEO of Family House, says personalized gifts like these Comfort Kits make a big difference to her clients.

“They come in little backpacks and the kids are so eager to open them up,” Morgan described the response from those who receive Comfort Kits.  “These kits are very well thought out and personalized.”

Comfort Kits are also available for purchase on the Giving Comfort website.

“When one hears that a friend or family member is diagnosed with cancer you just don’t know what to do – this is something to do.  This is tangible.  It’s immediate.  It gets into the people’s hands right away who need it the most,” Morgan said.

All the proceeds from Comfort Kit sales go directly back to the foundation’s efforts in providing these kits free of charge to patients in need in underserved communities.

To learn more about the Giving Comfort program and the Comfort Kits, go to www.givingcomfort.org.

To listen to more interviews in the KCBS Community Corner click here.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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