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'I Would Have Had to Say No to Treatment:’ Philanthropy Helps Carthage Woman Beat Breast Cancer 

| Date Posted: 11/29/2021

PINEHURST, N.C. -- Joanne Cook has never been quick to visit the doctor. She never really felt like she needed to. 


That changed in 2019 when the 75-year-old from Carthage found a lump in her breast. She met with her primary care physician and was soon referred to FirstHealth Cancer Care Services.


“As I got older, I had started going to the doctor a bit more regularly for checkups, and late that year I found a lump in my breast,” Cook said. Cook had breast cancer, and within weeks she had undergone a lumpectomy to remove the cancerous tissue. 


“Dr. David Grantham and the surgery team were wonderful, but they weren’t the only ones,” Cook said. “Everyone I dealt with throughout the process was such a blessing to me, and they continued to show up for me despite all the challenges with COVID-19.”


On top of chemotherapy and radiation treatments that would last throughout 2020, Cook faced an additional stressor because of the costs of her care. FirstHealth’s cancer team helped with that, too, setting Cook up with an Oncology Nurse Navigator to guide her through financial assistance options. “The stress of the bills would have been worse than anything I went through medically,” Cook said. 


Nurse navigator Lynn Lanier, MSN, R.N., helped find various resources to assist with Cook’s mounting bills, including the Pretty in Pink Foundation based in Raleigh, N.C., which helped cover medical bills. The Cancer CARE Fund, supported by the Foundation of FirstHealth, was able to assist with the purchase of medication and gas for transportation. 


“I have a single income, and it’s one small check each month,” Cook said. “Without the help of the Foundation of FirstHealth and Pretty in Pink, I would have had to say no to receiving the care that has me here today. I am so grateful that God placed my care team in my life.”


Following her treatment, Cook’s current prognosis is good. She had a clean mammogram in September 2021 and will return for additional screenings in the spring. “I’m doing really well. Every now and then I will have a low-energy day, but that could be age-related as much as anything else,” Cook quipped. “Overall, God has been merciful to me, and I am doing very well.” 


Cook isn’t alone in receiving care assistance from The Foundation of FirstHealth’s Cancer CARE Fund. Established in 2000, the Cancer CARE Fund was the first of the Foundation’s Community CARE (Clinical, Advocacy, Resources and Education) Funds. Each of these Funds provides support, hope, and safe passage for patients and their families.


Donations can help cancer patients and their families deal with the many challenges of fighting and living with cancer. Here are just a few of the ways your donation can help: 


  • $25 - Assists with medication co-payments and affords medications that are not covered by patients' insurance 
  • $50 - Provides needed medical supplies, equipment and other services and support 
  • $75 - Purchases wigs/prosthesis/mastectomy bras/scarves and nutritional supplements 
  • $100 - Subsidizes average patient transportation costs for treatments and related appointments 
  • $150 - Contributes towards funding of a program coordinator 


About FirstHealth Cancer Services 

From diagnosis to the conclusion of treatment, our multidisciplinary professional team navigates a course of action and supports your choices regarding fighting your illness. We use the latest research, treatment, technology, quality care and most importantly, the dedication of our staff to fight all stages of cancer. All our cancer care physicians are board-certified and participate in a wide range of cancer clinical trials.   

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