GREENVILLE — Chemotherapy is a long, grueling and dreaded process for countless patients who give every ounce of strength in their body to stay on the road to recovery while battling against the deadly disease of cancer.
But thanks to two local organizations who came together with donations for the Spectrum Health United Cancer Center, a little bit of comfort will be available in the form of iPads that will now be available for patients during their chemotherapy sessions.
The Greenville Lions Club and Hunt For a Cure organization each presented the Spectrum United Health Cancer Center with $4,000 in donations, totaling $8,000.
The money from those donations has been used to purchase eight iPads, along with a TV, to create a more relaxed and comfortable environment for cancer patients.
“We want to personally thank each and every one of you for making the iPads and TV possible for our patients and families here at the cancer center,” said Spectrum Health United and Kelsey Hospital Foundation Director Shelly Westbrook on Wednesday morning. “They will make a huge difference.”
Westbrook said patients at the cancer center range in age from 18 to people in their mid eighties, with many coming from outside of the Greenville area.
“This is a very busy place that offers wonderful hope and healing,” she said. “During chemotherapy sessions it can take upward of seven hours to receive chemotherapy. As you can imagine, sitting here for seven hours isn’t always a walk in the park.”
According to Westbrook, the iPads will allow patients to watch movies and television shows on Netflix, play various games, use social media and browse the internet during chemotherapy sessions.
“It will provide so much distraction, comfort and entertainment for our patients.” she said.
Jeremy Bainbridge, the director of respiratory and oncology services at Spectrum Health United and Kelsey hospitals, said the cancer center has a goal to make treatment sessions “as relaxing and easy” on the patients as possible, adding that putting an iPad in the hands of patients will hopefully provide some comfort during the lengthy treatment sessions.
“I think it’s wonderful to see the community coming together to support such a great cause,” he said. “Everyone in our community knows someone who has been affected by this disease and unfortunately it’s not going away. Chemotherapy is not a fun time, treatment is tough, so to be able to give our patients something to take their mind off of the situation, give them some comfort, it’s just a great thing.”
Cancer patient John Edmonds of Sheridan, who was at the hospital for his treatment of chronic myeloid leukemia over a period of five years, was very grateful to see the addition of the iPads to the cancer center.
“My treatments wont stop, I have to take them until the day I die, about every six weeks,” he said. “But this place is just a miracle.”
Hunt For A Cure Chairwoman Trish Haist said the organization was given a wish list from the hospital and was able to raise enough funds to cover everything on the list.
“Anything that we could afford, we would do,” Haist said. “It’s really exciting that we’ve been able to help give patients here something to do to occupy their time.”
Along with donating the iPads, the Hunt For A Cure organization paid for the Netflix subscriptions as well as security on the iPads.
“We’re hoping to continue to grow in the future, get the community more involved and donate even more,” Haist said.
Wayne Kreitner of the Greenville Lions Club said it was a unanimous decision by the club to provide funds to the hospital for the iPads.
“We heard what the patients needed over here and that’s what it’s about, giving them what they need,” Kreitner said. “This club is just gung-ho, everybody was on board.”