In recent years, headlines about life-saving treatments for cancer have come with a caveat: the cost of care is has soared. A 2015 Global Oncology Trend Report found that worldwide spending on cancer medications rose 10.3 percent in 2014 to pass the $100 billion mark.1
The amounts patients and families are expected to shoulder are so high, and the resulting stress so great, that Duke University’s Yousuf Zafar, MD, MHS, coined the term “financial toxicity” to describe the poor quality of life and patterns of nonadherence that oncologists were seeing among patients.2
Enter the Andrea Lynn Cancer Fund, an Illinois-based fundraising group that seeks to help families “financially and emotionally exhausted” from battling cancer. A five-member board works with the Centegra Sage Cancer Center in McHenry, Illinois, to identify patients who would be good candidates for assistance.3
Testimonials tell how the fund stepped in after cancer, once beaten, returned elsewhere—prompting new rounds of chemotherapy or radiation for patients and families whose resources are already depleted.
The story of Gary Ford, who battled tumors and the cardiac effects of chemotherapy for 20 years is told by his wife, who writes, “Gary and I never wanted to be in this position. We would much rather be helping others than accepting help.”
The fund, which was founded in 2006, is named for Andrea Lynn, who died of colon cancer in 1993. Her children and friends created the not-for-profit fund and describe her this way: “Mothers are amazing. They give without expectations. They know not of exhaustion, but only the joys of love.”
Fund organizers say that Lynn’s death could not be “an excuse for lack of action; instead, we use it as a motivation."
“We realize we are not the only family that has struggled with this disease and all of the eroding effects it has on its victims,” they say.
The fund holds a series of community-oriented fundraisers throughout the year: a ride-and-rally motorcycle event in June, a 5K road race called the “Pumpkin Stampede” in October, and an ice fishing derby in February. It invites partners to suggest fundraising ideas, too.
For more information on the Andrea Lynn Cancer Fund, visit their website.
1. Leonard K. Global cancer spending reaches $100B. US News and World Report
. Published May 5, 2015. Accessed March 20, 2016.
2. Zafar SY, Abernethy AP. Financial toxicity, part I: a new name for a growing problem. Oncology (Williston Park)
. 2013;27(2):80-81, 149.
3. Andrea Lynn Cancer Fund website. http://andrealynn.org/
. Accessed March 14, 2016.