The Alight Program at Cone Health Cancer Center provides financial, educational, and emotional support to patients as they progress with treatment
Greensboro, North Carolina – IN Walking and running 5 km only for women Again in person on Saturday, October 1, 2022, after two years of respite during the COVID-19 pandemic. You can imagine emotions going to be high as Triad gather breast cancer survivors, fighters, and their families and friends to race around Cone Hospital to celebrate their cancer journey and the battle they hard-won.
Funds are collected through Alight Giving more women access to life-saving mammograms is just as important. The Kohn Health Cancer Center program provides financial, educational, and emotional support to patients as they progress to treatment.
Ronita Hayes walked the 2019 Women’s Only 5K Run in Greensboro to support her cousin. Little did she know that she would make a life-changing discovery six months later, in March 2020.
“I put my hand on my chest, and it just happened to fall on my chest where I felt a knot,” Hayes said.
Doctors found two lumps in her left breast, and a biopsy confirmed it was stage 2. Triple negative breast cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, it is aggressive because it spreads quickly. TNBC is also more likely to return after treatment than other types of breast cancer and tends to have a worse prognosis.
Hayes told WFMY News 2’s Tracey McCain that early detection is critical.
“You saved my life,” Hayes said. “I had surgery in April, chemotherapy started in May, lasted until September, and then in October to December I did 25 rounds of radiation.”
It was in 2020, when hospitals were closed to visitors, and no family was allowed into their hand.
“That’s right when COVID started, so I did everything on my own with my family in the parking lot on FaceTime,” Hayes said.
But she found support through Alightknowing that she is not alone.
“The numbers are incredible. We, on average, receive 6 to 8 new patients per week. Do the math on that. every week! “And that’s just who comes into the clinic,” Jill Berry said.
Berry is an Alight Associate and a breast cancer survivor of 13 years. Through the Cone Health Cancer Center program, Berry connects newly diagnosed breast cancer patients with mentors to help them navigate the journey.
“As soon as you hear the words ‘You have breast cancer,’ you all go through your mind. What next, and how am I going to end up? You can’t see the final,” Berry said.
She says fear of the unknown and financial resources make women need to take care of annual checkups and breast cancer screenings. Alight helps with that, too.
“They were able to help me get fuel for my car and pay the bill,” Hayes said. “Women shouldn’t let money be the reason they don’t go to the doctor. My bills were around $400,000. Thankfully, I didn’t have to come out of my pocket with $400,000. So, there is help.”
“No matter what your insurance or financial situation is, get your mammograms and checkups,” Berry said. “Worry about money in the end. Let’s treat you and stay alive.”
The money to help women get life-saving screenings and counseling services comes from fundraisers, including the only 5K Walk and Run for Women at Cone Health. Each entry is a donation towards Scholarship Fund for Conical Mammographywhich provides mammograms for women who could not afford the screening service.
“Every day, we impact lives through the programs we offer.”
Hayes started out running as a breast cancer supporter, but this time, she’s going to tackle it, 18 months cancer-free.
“This will be the first official walk where I can say I know why we’re going. I’ve been through this journey and come out on the other side better than before. Breast cancer doesn’t have to be a death sentence, and I’m now back on the path to living the best life,” Hayes said. Cancer free.
Support is the primary mission of Alight. Program support clinics every Wednesday night where all newly diagnosed breast cancer patients can share their experiences and get more information about resources. There are virtual support groups as well, which do not require a referral.
You can contact the Alight program on the Cone Health website or click over here.
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