In March, Get Your Rear in Gear – Portland event director Dan Hawkins presented a grant check to OHSU Knight Cancer Center for $25,000. This grant was made possible by funds raised during the 2015 and 2016 events, a race that sponsor OHSU has been active in supporting and participating in during those two years.
A stage III rectal cancer survivor, Dan was excited to see the efforts and generosity of his community coming to fruition, making a major impact on the colorectal cancer screening rate in Portland, and removing screening barriers to those in the underserved local communities.
“No one should be put at greater risk of cancer because they have financial limitations. To know that our event and our participants are actively making a difference in the lives of those in our community who need it inspires me to do what I do. I don’t want another person to go through what I’ve been through, and I look forward to our continued partnership with OHSU Knight Cancer Institute as we grow our race, and expand our efforts to raise colorectal cancer awareness here in Portland.”
In February, awareness and educational events were held at both OHSU, and the locations of its community partners that provide health services to the underserved populations. With staff on hand, information about preventative screening, free fecal immunochemical tests (FIT), financial assistance programs, and the Sunday Screenings program offered by OHSU was shared with those who could benefit most.
Though insurance can off-set many of the costs incurred with screening and treatment, there are additional expenses that are often not covered, and present an additional hardship for many in the community with limited income and resources. These funds will help support a financial assistance program that is able to help remove some of these barriers, and ensure that every patient who needs it has help in obtaining the care and support to access preventive care.
Many take for granted their ability to secure something as simple as a ride home from a colonoscopy, or affording the screening prep products. For many, finding a ride home with a friend or family member, or paying for a ride home is not an option. By helping to fund OHSU’s Responsible Party Ride Assistance Program, we are able to help a patient secure a ride home after their colonoscopy.
Because of the quality of care received at OHSU Knight Cancer Institute, many come from outside of the Portland area to receive care. Covering the cost of accommodations can be a challenge, and adds an unneeded burden during a time when patients need to focus solely on their wellness. By providing funding for the Lodging Assistance Program, OHSU Knight Cancer Institute can provide hotel vouchers to colorectal cancer patients coming from out of the area.
The reach we’re going to have in caring for the Portland community when it comes to preventative care and treatment is going to be wide, and we are so grateful for the work put in to Get Your Rear in Gear – Portland, and this clear impact the funds are going to have on preventing and fighting this disease locally. We look forward to the race on August 5 at Mt. Tabor Park, and the continued difference we’re going to be able to make at the local level.