On the night before the annual Penn State Lady Lion Play for Kay Pink Zone basketball game, there is a Pink Eve celebration. At last year's event, Pink Zone held a surprise auction – a spur of the moment fundraising event where attendees generously donated funds to support the purchase of gift cards for breast cancer patients. This incredible extra fundraising effort raised $5,000. The funds – made available this month – come at a critical time to support breast cancer patients as they battle cancer and the fallout from COVID-19.
This support is particularly important in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Cancer patients are experiencing economic distress due to reduced work hours, loss of income and potential loss of employer-based health insurance. Angelique Cygan, RN, oncology breast navigator, shares, "It is incredibly meaningful to help patients during this especially stressful time while also enabling access to care and allaying their fears." Cygan is supported in this effort thanks to the generosity of Pink Zone.
Indeed, several patients have shared with Cygan that they were prepared to stop treatment due to lost jobs and income. Further, patients often face transportation challenges to obtain necessary treatment, and COVID-19 has only further exacerbated this barrier to care. This gift ensures that Cygan can help ease the financial burden of transportation through Sheetz gift cards to offset the cost of gas. This important assistance helps patients get to and from their necessary medical appointments.
Cygan states, "The gift cards are much needed and appreciated, but even more powerful is the community support behind each card. When I give the patient the gift card, I explain how individuals in our community have come together to lift them up and support them - they are not alone. That is the moment I see patients regain strength and the will to continue their journey."
"We are so grateful to the Pink Zone for their generosity. This gift allows us to provide much-needed direct support to ease some financial burden, allowing patients and their families to focus on their care and treatment," says Simon Corby, executive director, Mount Nittany Health Foundation.
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