For 53 years, the Cancer Society of Greenville County has served about 4,000 people suffering with cancer. It all started in 1965, when a young lady had cancer of the eye. Her father decided to start the organization to help families like his deal with the financial burden they faced when they received a cancer diagnosis and also to provide much-needed emotional support.
Over the years, the Cancer Society of Greenville County has provided care to local cancer victims in the form of financial support, transportation to medical appointments, respite care and donations of equipment and supplies.
Now located in the heart of the city at 113 Mills Ave., the Society has become immersed in the local community, and its events have become staples that Greenville residents look forward to. These include a Hope Ball every two years in April; the annual Ladies Golf Tournament in June; and the annual Holiday Greenery Sale.
Lisa Green, executive director of the Cancer Society of Greenville, said the organization is completely funded by donations and through the money raised at their events.
The organization offers reimbursement for travel when cancer patients have to leave the state or county for care. They also offer payment for a cab or bus to take patients to medical appointments. For respite care, they will pay for up to four hours, and the hospice company will match the other four, giving a family up to eight hours of time away from caring for their sick loved one.
Green said support groups are available for caregivers, for the grieving and for people suffering with a cancer diagnosis. The Society even offers individual counseling services.
When it comes to supplies, Green said everything from wigs and bras to adult diapers and even prosthesis can be obtained at the Society’s Mills Avenue location.
“The supplies are free of charge, and we supply them for two months at a time,” she said.
Not long ago, the Society added a sister organization in Pickens County to serve the residents there. Opened in 2016, it currently serves 300 cancer patients, and that number is growing.
The organization is governed by a 22-person board, of which Green is a member.
“They meet once a month and help organize where all the money is going,” Green explained. “They provide valuable oversight and leadership.”
Other than volunteering at one of the Society’s many events, members of the community are encouraged to donate supplies or equipment that may serve a local cancer patient.
“Sometimes people have extra wheelchairs or walkers after a loved one has passed away, and we would definitely take items like that,” she said.
Green said the Society has been known to help patients get their prescriptions for a lower price.
“Someone came in once and told us they were quoted $200 for a certain prescription that is pretty common for cancer patients. We called around and found it for $48 somewhere else,” she said.
All a patient has to do is verify a cancer diagnosis from a doctor when they seek assistance from the Cancer Society of Greenville.
“We don’t turn people away,” Green concluded. “We want to help any cancer patient that needs us. We love what we do, and we truly care for our clients’ best interest.”
Mission statement: Our mission is to create new hope and improve the quality of life for local cancer patients and their families. Since 1965, the Cancer Society of Greenville County has provided free of charge programs, services, education, assistance and support to meet the changing medical, financial, emotional and educational needs of cancer patients and their families in Greenville County. We are not affiliated with the American Cancer Society, and all of our funds are spent locally.
For more information on the Cancer Society of Greenville, visit www.cancersocietygc.org or call 864-232-8439.
By Theresa Stratford