From Our President
By the time we reach adulthood most of us have dealt with cancer in one way or another. I have had numerous friends, relatives, coworkers and employees who have suffered from this most hideous of diseases. I have stood by helplessly and watched many of them battle through sometimes cruel and brutal treatments. I have experienced the joys of watching some of them succeed in their battle, including my own mother–a breast cancer survivor. Unfortunately, I have also attended too many funerals of friends, relatives and colleagues who finally succumbed to this illness after unbearable months or years of pain and suffering.
I have been supporting the Cancer Care Center Foundation for over a decade and decided to contribute as a Board member 3 years ago. In June, 2015 I accepted the position of and continue to serve as President of the Board. I deeply believe in the Foundation’s ongoing efforts to raise funds to provide assistance to underinsured cancer patients throughout Brevard and Indian River counties.
Too often it seems we get caught up in the misery of those going through this illness as well as the high medical expenses associated with its treatments. We sometimes forget that both patients and families often have to quit their job or work reduced hours to deal with treatments and extended hospital stays. Trying to do so in the face of ongoing rent, utilities, and transportation costs puts additional strains on these families. The Foundation is focused on helping those who can least afford to handle these challenges, offering some relief to the suffering of both the patients and their family members.
For years now I have watched dedicated people donate time, money, and support for this most worthy of causes. I have watched Dr. Charles Silas, the founder of the Cancer Care Centers Foundation, lead the efforts to grow and expand the organization. I have the great pleasure of calling our current Medical Board Member, Dr. Ravi Shankar, both a great friend and a trusted adviser on all matters. I have been amazed by tremendous Board members making tough choices on patient authorizations and financial limits due to tight budget situations. I have seen our organization ask for support and hours from countless volunteers for the numerous events held throughout the year and am always amazed and proud of the people who are anxious to do so. Shortly after becoming President I had the great pleasure of watching our Foundation hire my good friend Gwen Hertlein-Haber as our first Executive Director.
Whether you are a person interested in applying for assistance from our organization for yourself, a family member or a friend, you’re interested in volunteering for the foundation in any capacity, you would like to donate, or simply want to know more about this great cause, please contact any of us at the foundation via an email or a phone call. I believe you will find, as I have throughout the years, that the Foundation is a tremendous group of people who work tirelessly towards our goal of supporting financially needy cancer patients throughout our service area.
Thomas A. Drago
President, Cancer Care Center Foundation