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KCCU turns 40

Cancer doesn’t just take a toll on the body. The burden is spread between family and friends, and even the strongest of support networks may fall short in supporting a person getting treatment.

Mortgage payments may go unpaid.

Bills might be neglected.

Rides can become a barrier between patients and the care they need to get.

For 40 years, the Kingman Cancer Care Unit has been working diligently to help fill in those gaps. Their mission is “to provide financial aid and moral support to the patient and their family during their hour of need,” but their actual mission is even simpler than that.

“We do what others can’t or won’t do,” said Marty Adams, the grant writer for the organization. Their goal is to assist everyone who asks for help, and claim that the unit has not turned down any reasonable request from any patient.

In 1975, that started out simply as making sure patients had a ride to treatment. The organization broke away from the American Cancer Society at the time because the members wanted the money they raised for patients to remain local.

One of their first projects was using a van to take homebound patients to the hospital.

For many in the organization, it was and still is a very selfish practice. They have their own reasons for volunteering, but they’re all joined by a common denominator.

“Almost everybody involved with the unit has had cancer touch their lives in some way or another,” said Adams. For her, it was her mother-in-law, who had breast cancer.

The mission has evolved over the years. The previous president, Dorothy Brown, brought a focus to fundraising after Kingman Regional Medical Center secured a van to help patients get to and from the hospital. This allowed the Cancer Care Unit to shift its money and resources to other means of assistance.

Adams said the group has covered things such as mortgage and car payments, utilities, and even meds that insurance won’t cover for the patient. The group advertises that they can help with health equipment and personal items, such as wigs and prosthesis.

The group assists over 200 patients each year on a $60,000 budget with virtually no overhead. The group is comprised of all volunteers and operates independently, but cooperatively, with the hospital.

Fundraisers such as “Boot Out Cancer” at the Dambar and the Pink Ribbon Drop on Nov. 6 help fund the program for the year. Their primary fundraiser, the Kingman Arts and Crafts Fair, takes place on Nov. 14-15 and accounts for nearly half of fundraising efforts.

For more information on the Kingman Cancer Care Unit, or how to get involved in some of their fundraising efforts, contact Marty Adams at (928)263-5684.