Patients come from across the United States and around the world to receive leading-edge treatment at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, the Hutchinson Center’s treatment arm. In addition to the physical and emotional toll patients endure while battling their illness, they also face daily financial and logistical challenges. The Family Assistance Fund, which is supported entirely by private donations, helps qualifying patients and their families with non-medical expenses. It provides help with everyday items such as grocery money, diapers, child-care costs, bus fares or long-distance phone bills.
This support provides the tools and resources families need to find a measure of comfort and stability while negotiating their cancer treatments.
One such patient, a young husband and father of three children from Eastern Washington, was recently diagnosed with sarcoma, a cancer of the connective tissues. SCCA, the only institution in the Northwest with expertise in treating sarcoma patients, offered the treatment he needed. Thanks to private contributions, the Family Assistance Fund provided housing support for the patient and his family during his care. Without this assistance, he may not have been able to receive the treatment that has saved his life.
The Family Assistance Fund was established in honor of Marion McCarty and Percy Randle, two of the Hutchinson Center's first patient champions.
Marion was the Center's first social worker whose deep caring for patients and their families developed from her own experience as the mother of a Center patient. Her son, Steve, was transplanted in 1972 at the age of 13. Steve survived until 2003. Marion passed away in 2005.
The Center established Pastoral Care as a department in 1986, hiring Percy Randle as its first director. Percy, a Hutchinson Center bone marrow transplant survivor who passed away in October 2008 due to complications of hepatitis, began as a volunteer chaplain who then went on to serve Center patients in his official capacity.