A OneWorld patient passed away due to colon cancer in early October, leaving behind a wife and three young children. OneWorld’s High-Risk Case Management team, who had been regularly working with the patient and his family, wanted to do something to help.
“It’s not only the patient who struggles with cancer—the whole family is impacted, from taking care of the patient at home, worrying if their treatments will be covered, and then having to process that your loved one will be passing soon,” Juanita Aldrete, OneWorld’s Hope Case Manager, said. “Many of our cancer patients are the breadwinners in their families… When our patient passed away, we knew his wife and children, who are also patients, would need help with the costs.”
Aldrete sent an email to staff members who work on the Livestock Exchange Building campus and asked for donations of baked goods to sell at a bake sale. In her note, she mentioned that all earnings from the sale would go directly to the patient’s family.
“We wanted to try a bake sale because it is a way…for anyone at OneWorld to give back,” Aldrete said. “And we know that food brings people together!”
On Oct. 30, the morning of the sale, 13 staff members stopped by the break room on the first floor of the Livestock Exchange Building to drop off their donated baked goods. Throughout the day, more staff members lined up to purchase cookies, slices of cake, muffins and other sweet treats for $1 to $3 each. At the end of the day, thanks to the High-Risk Case Management team’s efforts, OneWorld staff members raised $550 for the patient’s family.
“The family’s reaction was heartwarming and emotional,” Aldrete said. “They received the money with tears and happiness, and they looked so grateful. They expressed how they appreciate what we have done for them…Our hope is that these fundraisers will give our patient families some peace in knowing that they are not alone and will help in their time of healing and adjustment.”
Aldrete says that, while fundraisers like these are intended to help patients, they tend to help staff members cope with the loss of a patient, too.
“In giving back, we also help to support one another as we go through these life changes alongside our patients,” she said.