Cancer patients receive free Thanksgiving meals
During this season of giving, a group of people are making Thanksgiving a little easier on some cancer patients and their families.
The holidays can be stressful for people who have cancer, both financially and physically. So some businesses and people in the community stepped up to lift some of that burden. They donated food and money to help provide free Thanksgiving meals to patients at the Morrison Cancer Center.
Staff and volunteers gave the meals to patients and their families Monday. The baskets had patient's choice of ham, turkey or pork loin, apple or pumpkin pie, stuffing, bread and potatoes.
"We've had so many patients that have been tearful, and just so thankful. I had one patient say, "thank you. We weren't going to have a Thanksgiving meal this year, and now we can,"" said Heidi Degodt, a licensed independent clinical social worker at the Morrison Cancer Center.
Just down the hall, Central City resident John Sewell was finishing his final day of chemo. Doctors diagnosed Sewell with esophageal cancer. Sewell, and his wife, Vicky, have been going to the Cancer Center five days a week since October for treatment.
The couple is one of 145 patients at the Cancer Center chosen to receive the free meal.
"I was surprised. I'm not use to that kind of help much," said John Sewell.
"I was overwhelmed, and very grateful," added Vicky Sewell.
Around 20 volunteers purchased, and packed up the meals Sunday.
Armeshia Onken organized the food drive. This is the third year they donated food to the Morrison Cancer Center. The first year, they gave out ten meals to ten patients. Now, the reach is much greater.
"I started it, because both of my grandparents had cancer, and I have several friends that also suffer from cancer," Onken said. "There's so many people that just need a blessing, and just need a little bit of hope to keep that going."
The hospital personally selected the patients who received the Thanksgiving baskets. They picked some based on need, and the rest at random.
The Sewells said they'll be enjoying their basket, filled with ham and pumpkin pie, at home this Thanksgiving.
"We both feel very blessed, and not just because of the holidays, but it's just a big blessing to us that people reach out to you in time of need," Vicky Sewell said.
Onken said they hope to grow the drive more next year, and help even more patients.