Susan G. Komen offers more support during COVID pandemic with ‘one-stop-shop’

Published: Aug. 10, 2021 at 2:46 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - COVID has changed the way we’ve gone about our daily lives. The pandemic postponed family gatherings. It canceled weddings, but cancer is and has always been here.

“A breast cancer diagnosis can throw your whole life into havoc,” said Gina Chicotel, Susan G. Komen’s project manager of mission grants programs.

Many of us have faced challenges during this pandemic, but dealing with a breast cancer can be an emotional and physical roller coaster. That’s why having a support system like Susan G. Komen is so helpful.

“We have actually started to revolutionize the way that we deliver care to patients and caregivers in not just the Northeast Ohio community, but, across the country,” explained Chicotel.

Chicotel said during the pandemic, Komen’s been able to consolidate all of their affiliates networks into the national headquarters, reaching more patients in need.

“We have been able to help over three hundred percent more people than we were able to help last year at this time just by bringing those services in house and building up our staff around it,” said Chicotel.

Komen’s patient care center is what Chicotel calls their “one-stop-shop.”

The resources include a helpline where patients can get breast cancer information, support and counseling, and educational materials.

Their treatment assistance program assists patients struggling with the financial burden of breast cancer treatment.

“So the geographic boundaries have been eliminated, and we are now solely focused on building up a community of patients, caregivers, and everyone who supports individuals who have a breast cancer diagnosis,” explained Chicotel.

Patient navigators play a key role in the team support system.

“Many patients are like, I just feel a relief knowing that someone’s there to listen and someone’s willing to help,” said Alyncia Mason, Susan G. Komen patient navigator.

Mason is the daughter of a breast cancer survivor. Her mother had a double mastectomy. Her cancer diagnosis was caught early.

Mason said her family’s experience made her even more compassionate for those she serves, especially during COVID.

“Now I need help paying for groceries, or now I need help paying for utilities, so it’s definitely put another layer on top of what many of my patients are already going through,” said Mason.

Mason said telehealth appointments have helped with the need for transportation and child care.

Many lessons were learned during the pandemic. The organization said it gave them a chance to refocus while continuing their mission to fight breast cancer.

“We’ve made very positive changes for the better., expressed Chicotel.

Copyright 2021 WOIO. All rights reserved.