Cancer Support Services and For the Health of It!

May 19, 2015

It’s time to get out your walking/running shoes. Grab your friends, family and/or neighbors and join us for our 5th Annual For the Health of It!, our 5K/10K race, walk and fun run. This year’s event will take place on Saturday, June 13 at the Taos Youth and Family Center.

Holy Cross Hospital’s For the Health of It! is about our community coming together to celebrate health and support people struggling with cancer. By walking or running we support friends, neighbors, and families in Taos and Colfax Counties. All proceeds stay local to support Cancer Support Service.

Cancer Support Services (CSS), a program of Holy Cross Hospital, offers non-clinical supports to improve quality of life for people with cancer and their families from across north-central New Mexico. We link people experiencing cancer with trusted local businesses to help meet basic needs, ease stress, and promote healing. Every CSS client receives navigation to additional community resources and services statewide. We serve all residents from Taos and Western Colfax counties early in their diagnosis up to a year after their last treatment with:

  • Assistance with food, transportation, and lodging
  • Support groups
  • Personal care, such as cooking and home care
  • Grief and loss counseling for families
  • Massage, Feldenkrais and other complementary alternative treatments
  • Fitness, life, and health coaching
  • House cleaning, errands
  • Navigation of health and financial resources

In addition to support from hospital Community Services staff, guiding the program is a 6 member Advisory Board composed of clinicians, home care professionals, cancer survivors and other community volunteers. Their focus is to insure excellent quality of service to our clients, good vendor service and relationships, and proper stewardship of funding.

The program is currently funded by indirect-cost support from Taos Health System (THS - the parent company of Holy Cross Hospital), occasional designated gifts from donors, and funds raised through the sponsorships, registrations, and donations of the annual For the Health of It! 5k/10k run, walk, and fun-run held each summer (this is the primary funding source for CSS).

In the past 18 months our client base more than doubled and we were able to bring-on additional local service vendors, as well as a part-time program coordinator, Jason Pfeifer. Below is some data on direct service expenditures:

  • FY 2012: 35 new clients and family members served. $6,151 just in direct services delivered to people experiencing cancer.
  • FY 2013: 89 new clients and family members served. $13,549 in direct services delivered to people experiencing cancer.
  • FY 2014: As of February this year we have served 85 new clients and family members serving a total of 93 new people in FY 2014. We’ve also been able to quadruple the stipend available (from $200 when we began to $800 today), with review of individual cases where more support is needed. To date we have delivered approximately $40,000 in direct services.

97% of money raised stays in our community and goes to the people and families in need, and the local businesses and staff that serve them. The remaining 3% covers out-of-town lodging during treatment.

Dedicated Service to Northern New Mexico

Through ongoing analysis of community needs and feedback from clients, we continue to add service lines by adding local vendors, such as Grief and Loss support for families via the Golden Willow Retreat or vouchers for fresh, local food from the Red Willow Farmer’s Market, both added this year. We aim to connect more local businesses throughout the county with people in need in their own local communities - from Cerro to Angel Fire, Carson to Peņasco - so clients can receive the support they need as close to home as possible. We will also be expanding our awareness campaign to reach more areas with the message that these services are available to individuals and families for free. Also, we will expand our advocacy capacity and connect families to an even wider network of resources in the state and nationwide.

As the program continues to grow, our priorities will remain stress reduction and quality of life enhancement for patients, survivors, and families, along with enhanced access to quality resources and treatment.

Support Cancer Support Services. All proceeds stay local!

Our annual Radio-a-Thon will take place on Wednesday, June 3 from 7-10 am on KKIT 95.9 FM, KXMT 99.1 FM, and KKTC 99.9 FM/100.7 FM. Listen to your favorite DJ and call to make a donation.

Our 5th Annual 5K/10K Race | Walk | FunRun takes place on June 13th

For more information about Cancer Support Services, the radio-a-thon, and how you can participate in For the Health of It! visit our website.