Navigating the Stretch: DCH Foundation event benefits Cancer Patient Navigator program

Saturday evening the community is invited to break out their best derby hat, enjoy a Southern-style buffet and support a good cause while attending the third annual Navigating the Stretch Kentucky Derby Party at the Moose Family Center in Washington. Proceeds from the event benefit Daviess Community Hospital's Cancer Patient Navigator program.

"We have a few seats still available," said Angie Steiner, Daviess Community Hospital's director of business development and DCH Foundation director. "We're expecting about a 80 people."

The evening will begin at 4:30 p.m. with cocktails, appetizers, friendly wagers and a few photo opportunities before the crowd tunes in to watch the 143rd running of the iconic horse race. A Southern-style buffet will be served beginning at 7 p.m.

"We're trying something a little different this year," said Steiner. "We'll be serving a pork loin with bourbon glaze, a stuffed chicken breast and several side dishes to complement those more traditional Southern-style foods."

After the race and meal, music and entertainment will be offered until 11 p.m.

DCH's Cancer Patient Navigator is Sharon Mead, who has battled and beat cancer more than once. In the roughly 18 months since the Cancer Patient Navigator program was started, Mead has been able to assist several patients, approximately 50, in navigating the stretch of doctor's appointments and insurance claims among other things, that come with a cancer diagnosis.

"Dr. Thomas Waits, our oncologist, is just amazing," said Mead, who worked as a oncology nurse before becoming the Cancer Patient Navigator. "You can get big city care here in a small town."


About six months ago, Steiner said DCH began offering chemotherapy, an option that means those battling the disease can receive treatment locally.

"It's been a benefit to our patients," she said, adding having Mead on board is also a benefit to patients.

Normally, when someone goes to the doctor, a prescription is called in and the patient simply picks it up at the pharmacy but with a cancer diagnosis, things don't work quite the same.

"Chemo requires a special prescription and come from a special pharmacy," said Steiner. "And those prescriptions can be costly."

That's where Mead can help.

"We may find out that insurance will cover part of the treatment but the patient may still need to pay $900 out of pocket," said Mead as an example. "I can go through pharmaceutical companies and foundations to try to help them get their medication at a reduced cost or maybe even free."

Mead said it typically takes a couple of weeks to get the medication situation figured out, but that's not all she can help with.

"Some patients just need some follow up care if their cancer was caught early," she said. "And some will need some additional help to navigate through everything. I see it as a privilege to be able to help people at a stressful time like this."

What Mead does, Steiner said, is something most don't realize the need for until they actually need assistance themselves.

"Until you are in that situation, you don't always realizes that challenges of insurance and medications," said Steiner. "We would love to not need to have a Cancer Patient Navigator but we are so glad to have Sharon in that role here at DCH."

But for Mead, it's a perfect fit.

"I love my job," she said. "It's a privilege to be able to make a difference and help someone during a difficult time."

For more information or to reserve tickets, which are $50 per person, $90 per couple or $350 for a table of eight, for the annual Navigating the Stretch Kentucky Derby Party call 812-254-8858.

Article written by Lindsey Owens of the Washington Times Herald. Visit www.washtimesherald.com for more articles!

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