Women provide cancer support

Cindy Carter and Nancy Frederick do what they can for patients, caregivers

March 19, 2006|By TYRONE RICHARDSON | TYRONE RICHARDSON,SUN REPORTER

Talking with a physician one day, Cindy Carter discovered that a patient with terminal lung cancer was looking for a companion, a cat.

Without hesitation, Carter made some telephone calls. She found a shelter with available felines - and located a volunteer willing to donate food and kitty litter.

"I can get him a cat if it makes him feel better for the last few months of his life," said Carter, co-founder of the Cancer Support Foundation Inc., which was formed last summer to help improve quality-of-life support for cancer patients and their caregivers.

Working in collaboration with the Howard and Carroll counties branch of the American Cancer Society, the organization has handled about 30 cases, among them finding housing for a family that relocated to the area for cancer treatment. The foundation found furniture, funds to provide a security deposit and the first month's rent.

"We are a resource center for people to call," said Carter, who spends hours each day filing paperwork and making calls at her Columbia home after working a full day as a senior accountant for a technology firm.

"A lot of people that call us feel they are not part of a group," she added. "There is so much on breast cancer, they feel they are left out. We help all, including people in the third and fourth stage of cancer. ... Some people that we help, we never meet."

The organization was formed last summer by Carter and a friend, Nancy Frederick of Reisterstown, after they held four garage sales to earn enough money to file for nonprofit status. The organization's next effort will be more ambitious: a $60-a-head fundraiser Saturday at Martin's West in Woodlawn.

Carter, a cancer survivor, has provided care for several relatives with cancer, including her mother who died of complications from intestinal and uterine cancer.

"Since I have been a caregiver so many times and a survivor, I was very familiar with the challenge that people face," she said.

Frederick, a cancer survivor and a nanny, said the two make the perfect combination - Carter deals with finances and Frederick adds to the care. The foundation includes a handful of other volunteers.

"If we can't do it, we will find a resource to do it," Frederick said.

The foundation is looking to spread its sphere by opening a satellite office at a Howard County health care facility.

"We met with some oncologists that will have us come in on Fridays for a couple of hours to help patients with questions about services like transportation and all sorts of resources," Carter said.

Phyllis Smelkinson of the Howard and Carroll counties branch of the Cancer Society called the foundation "a wonderful thing because some of the larger organizations are limited in scope of what they can offer people."

"Nancy and Cindy have diverted their efforts into really filling the gaps in service, and that is a good thing," Smelkinson said.

The foundation's Saturday fundraiser, which will include dinner, dancing and casino-type games, is intended to bring in much-needed funds at a time when the group also is looking into obtaining grants.

"The fundraiser is critical for us to continue helping people, because pretty soon I will be out of favors," Carter said.

tyrone.richardson@baltsun.com

For information about Cancer Support Foundation Inc. or to purchase tickets for the organization's fundraiser, call Nancy Frederick at 410-833-5435 or Cindy Carter at 410-964-9563.

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