PITTSBURG — Early detection and finding the right treatment options are key steps in the journey of someone diagnosed with cancer, but there are hardships and necessities outside the hospital as well. That’s where Care to Share comes in.
Care to Share is a non-profit organization which provides resources to people diagnosed with cancer, as well as cancer survivors, on an individual-needs basis. All money is raised through fundraisers and donations, and stays local.
Care to Share began in Bourbon County 10 years ago, before expanding to Linn County. Earlier this year, the group officially expanded to Crawford County, and Founder Teresa Davenport said they’ve already started helping people.
“We’re already working with survivors in Crawford County, but we want more people to know we’re here,” Davenport said. “People ask what they have to do to qualify, and we tell them nothing but be diagnosed with cancer.”
Davenport was diagnosed with cancer in 2002. When she won her battle, she realized she had no one to talk to and no resources to get her life back on track, so she started Care to Share as a support group in June 2007.
“I went to Mercy Hospital and told them what I wanted to do,” she said. “They gave me a room and a group started meeting quarterly, and we still do.”
Care to Share began raising money in Bourbon County two years later in order to further help those struggling with cancer. Everything is done on an individual basis. Care to Share pays for people to travel to treatments, mow their yards, shovel snow and even buy groceries or cook hot meals.
“It’s all on an individual basis,” Davenport said. “We use our money to provide what folks need.”
Since 2009, the organization has raised $675,000.
The group is an official 501(c)3 and has a board of directors, as well as an established endowment fund and scholarship funds. Davenport said a scholarship fund is being set up specifically for Crawford County.
“All the money we raise stays local,” she said. “It doesn’t go off to some big corporation, it stays right here in southeast Kansas and goes directly to our residents.
Care to Share has raised money from softball tournaments, concerts, golf tournaments, bake sales and much more. The group will also help facilitate fundraisers for specific individuals. Anyone can call Care to Share to set up a general fundraising event, or event for an individual.
Money is also raised through buckets placed at local businesses to collect change, and Davenport said donations even come from former beneficiaries.
Along with helping around homes, paying for gas to hospital visits and more, Care to Share also has equipment available for people to borrow.
“We have lift chairs, wheelchairs, hospital beds, shower chairs, so much,” Davenport said. “Folks are welcome to borrow anything they need that we have available. It’s something many people don’t know we have.”
Davenport said she is looking for Crawford County contact volunteers as well as people or organizations hoping to set up fundraiser events. Events can be private fundraisers for individuals or for Care to Share in general and can be operated by Care to Share volunteers or by other groups.
Donations can also be earmarked to go to the endowment fund or to specific scholarship funds.
Davenport said anyone interested in volunteering or setting up a fundraiser can leave a message on the Care to Share Facebook page, or call her at 620-238-0902 or 620-362-3042.
“I don’t want anyone to hesitate to call us,” Davenport said. “If you need our help, know someone who does or want to set up an event, let us know.”
— Chance Hoener is a staff writer for the Morning Sun. He can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @ReporterChance.