Charting the course for cancer patients

Family launches challenge to grow nurse navigation 

For Hailee Bland-Walsh, Kelsey Perry and Spencer Walsh, philanthropy is a family affair. Unfortunately, so is cancer.

That’s why the siblings and their families challenge friends, family and colleagues to contribute to the nurse navigation program at The University of Kansas Cancer Center. They will match every dollar donated up to $300,000, for a total of $600,000.

The family relied on their nurse navigator while their mother, Teresa Walsh, was successfully treated for head and neck cancer.

“A cancer diagnosis is overwhelming and devastating,” they said in a joint statement. “We have seen firsthand the real support provided by nurse navigators. In our experience, patients were able to focus on themselves because they knew a nurse navigator was managing all the details – we felt this had as much of an impact on the patients’ overall well-being as the medicine they were taking.”

One-on-one support
An experienced team of 24 oncology-trained nurses – each specializing in a different form of cancer – works one-on-one with patients and their families. These navigators use their skills, expertise and experience to facilitate clear communication between patients, their loved ones and all care team members. They also help ensure access to critical resources, including social, financial and emotional support.

“It’s so comforting to know you have medical professionals who really care on your team,” said the siblings. “Having a point person to reach out to creates a ‘space’ for caretakers to provide care without worrying about the administrative side of diagnosis and treatment.”

A growing need
In 2017, more than 13,236 new patients received navigation services at The University of Kansas Cancer Center. As the number of people affected by cancer continues to grow, so does the need to sustain and expand the program. However, these services are considered nonreimbursable, which means the cost is not covered by health insurance.

To ensure every patient in our care can rely on this crucial resource, we depend on generous support from donors.

“Our hope is that our challenge and matching gift will ensure nurse navigators are available to support patients like our mom – and families like our own – going forward,” said the siblings.

Help ensure more patients and their families can rely on the services of a nurse navigator. 





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