The name may be the American Cancer Society, but ACS Community Development Manager Misti Drew knows that it probably should be the “Local Cancer Society” instead.
“Oftentimes the perception is that when you donate to larger organizations, that those funds all get expended at a corporate level,” Misti says.
“People don’t really understand the impact those donations have locally.”
Donations raised through events that range from local Relay for Life events to the group’s signature Dancing with Our Stars gala each year are funneled back into the state of Kentucky at the rate of nearly $4 million.
More than $7 million in funds are distributed to the University of Louisville, the University of Kentucky and Hosparus, Inc. to support a myriad of projects designed to cure, treat or prevent all types of cancer, according to ACS Program Manager for Mission Services Kelsey Lewis.
In addition, they are also used to operate the ACS headquarters in Western Kentucky, which serves Marshall, McCracken, Graves and Calloway Counties.
Located in Lone Oak, the fully-staffed regional ACS office serves as a resource center for cancer patients, matching them up with services that can help lessen the burden of their illness, and acts as headquarters for volunteers from a 12-county area who work year-round to support the mission of the ACS.
Local ACS resources include:
Wig Room For Misti and the employees at the ACS local office, they know the looks by heart. The look on a cancer patient’s face when they first enter their office—apprehensive, exhausted and sometimes damaged by hair loss or changes in skin condition. After meeting with the full-time cosmetologist and wig stylist, however, employees start to see a very different look. “Patients begin that point of acceptance, where they’re going from that stage of fear to where they’re embracing this new look,” Misti recalls. “It starts to build confidence.” And then there is a look on the faces of the employees too. “You can ask anyone in our office and most everyone will say their very favorite thing is to see someone walk through the front door and transform,” she says. “That’s what you see is a transformation.”
Look Good, Feel Better Program Misti and her colleagues know the toll that cancer and cancer treatments can take on a person’s body, leaving them oftentimes ravaged and looking very little like themselves. It’s why, along with wig services, they refer women to the Look Good, Feel Better Program available at Baptist Health-Paducah.
“It’s not to say that it’s only about physical appearance, but for a lot of women just being able to feel good and look good helps change their mental state of how they get through cancer,” she says of the program’s benefits. “Being positive through illness is one of the best ways to actually make it through.” Patients who take advantage of the Look Good, Feel Better Program have access to cancer-certified stylists who can walk female patients through the process of applying make-up to hide skin conditions, drawing in eyebrows that have gone missing and working with a wig for optimal results. “All these things are designed to help women look good and feel better while they’re going through treatment,” Misti says. “And if we can help somebody feel better and stay positive and stay motivated, that’s a huge part of the healing process.”
Lodging Arrangements During a rigorous cancer treatment schedule, patients can sometimes be called upon to spend time away from their homes, visiting doctors in larger cities or even enduring multiple-day treatments in Paducah’s hospitals. When that happens, the ACS local office is there to help, arranging free hotel stays at the Hope Lodge facilties in Nashville, Lexington and Memphis or with several Paducah-area hotel partners. According to Kelsey, these lodging partners save the average patient and their caregiver $2,000 while they are undergoing treatment.
Road to Recovery Program In addition to lodging needs, the ACS local office in Western Kentucky knows that sometimes it is difficult for patients to find transportation to and from the countless doctors visits and treatment appointments that are needed to fight this disease. The organization’s army of volunteers are literally mobile during these times, shuttling patients where they need to go safely and reliably, easing the burden of having to trouble friends and family members during times of crisis. “People like to see the non-profit organizations that they support return something tangible within the community,” Misti says. “They like to see the friend, the neighbor, the loved one, or the family member that is able to come in and see the donation they made benefit that person.” “When people support ACS, I want them to know that a significant amount of their money is coming back into the state of Kentucky and a significant amount is even coming back into the local area.” “In turn, we are using that to be able to provide these resources that we are so proud of.”
If you, or someone you know, is currently undergoing cancer treatments or facing a cancer diagnosis, the local ACS support team is here to help.
3140 Parisa Drive Paducah, KY 42003 Phone Number: 270-444-0375
Hours: 8:00 am – 4:30 pm
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