July 9, 2012 -
A local cancer foundation provides both financial and social assistance to breast cancer patients with school aged children.
Joanna Francis is a single mom with 3 teenage boys and was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2005. She says “I thought I was on that road to recovery and then in 3 years, I was re-diagnosed and I had several bone metastases and started popping up along the way." Through her journey to beat breast cancer, Joanna realized that people going through cancer treatment not only need medical support but could also use support from the community and with that in November 2011, the Living Well Foundation was born.
Francis states "there are needs that are unforeseen so this was able our idea is to get the people involved and share their services to patients and their families." Co-Founder of Living Well and also Nurse Educator at Tallahassee Community College, Jennifer Taylor, says their goal is to help the entire family and care group of the patient come together and feel like they are all supported. According to Taylor, “the patient is receiving treatment but you also have the spouse, the sister, the mother who has to balance everything else, the mortgage, co-payments, still getting the kids to school, all of those services so making sure the whole group feels supported."
The Living Well Foundation assists in providing the social and financial assistance for non-medical expenses. Francis says the grants can “go from anything from utilities to yard work, cell phone services, hotel if they need to travel for their appointments, some patients do choose to go out of town, gas cards, counseling for children if they need that, there is a wide variety." Taylor says "our goal is to help one patient every month, we've met that so far, and we’ve averaged that out."
If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with cancer, Francis gives this advice,"learn as much as you can and keep moving forward."
Breast cancer patients from initial diagnosis through admission to hospice that are living in the state of Florida may be eligible for grants to cover living expenses and needed services. To learn more about the Living Well Foundation, their upcoming fundraisers or to make a donation, log on to www.joannafrancislivingwell.org or call (850) 508-3622.