Personalized care from Cancer Services lifts burdens from cancer patients
At first, Philip Paseka thought he was having acid reflux. A well-intentioned doctor suggested he start taking aspirin … but rather than feel better, Philip felt significantly worse.
“I went back to the doctor. They sent a scope down my throat and found an ulcer in my stomach,” Philip remembers. “There was a tumor on the ulcer. By not ignoring the first health issue, I found out I had stage two cancer.”
So began a journey through chemotherapy and surgery. The surgeon removed 50 percent of Philip’s stomach; thankfully, his doctor is confident this is the only surgery he will need. At 62 years old, father to three and grandfather to four, Philip still has a full life ahead of him.
Philip credits Cancer Services of Northeast Indiana for greatly helping him and his family handle his diagnosis, surgery and recovery. Cancer Services works with patients in 11 northeast Indiana counties. They serve over 4,300 individuals every year. In 2021, more than 250 Kosciusko County residents secured aid, including Philip.
“Our mission is to offer supportive care to people battling cancer,” said Dianne May, president and CEO of Cancer Services. “We come alongside families to address non-medical needs, including emotional support, practical help, financial assistance and more.” Individuals meet regularly with their assigned client advocate, who works to understand the needs of each patient and provides personalized solutions.
From the very beginning, Philip was struck by how attentive Cancer Services truly is. “They offer so many services – even lawncare,” he said. “There are needs I didn’t realize I was going to have, but Cancer Services knew what to provide.” In a single word, Philip called his experience with Cancer Services assuring.
Cancer Services has stayed true to its roots. The organization was started by a group of friends and neighbors who knew they could do more to strengthen the people in their community. Cancer Services recently received a Nonprofit Sustainability grant to reach more potential supporters with their mission. “Our founders figured out how to help cancer patients get to their doctor appointments, receive personal care items and pay bills,” Dianne said. “Seventy-five years later, Cancer Services’ relational approach continues to empower and encourage.”
Both Philip and Dianne offered the same piece of advice: If you or someone you know is facing a new cancer diagnosis, reach out and see what is available. There is an army of people ready to serve you. In Philip’s words: You are not alone.