Sharon MacDonald Breast Health Fund provides patient assistance during fight against cancer
October 2, 2020 – The John E. & Aliese Price Foundation Inc. has issued a $250,000 community challenge grant for the Sharon MacDonald Breast Health Fund to provide hope and healing to women and men battling breast cancer. The Price Foundation encourages the community to provide an additional $250,000, for total support of $500,000.
The fund was established in 2017 after the trustees of The John E. & Aliese Price Foundation Inc. issued a $100,000 community challenge gift to honor Sharon MacDonald, the retired chief administrative officer of Lee Health’s Regional Cancer Center. The Price Foundation’s President and CEO Kenneth Walker is no stranger to cancer. He lost his first wife to cancer, he was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2001, and then in 2016, his daughter was diagnosed with breast cancer. Understanding the costs associated with care, Walker wants to continue to ensure that breast cancer patients in the Southwest Florida community have access to the care they need. With this latest challenge grant, the total raised so far for the breast health fund is $595,000, which has helped more than 150 women.
Administered by the Lee Health Foundation, donations to the Sharon MacDonald Breast Health Fund cover the cost of treatment for patients battling breast cancer in need of financial support at Lee Health’s Regional Cancer Center. The support covers diagnostics, radiation, medication and other services needed to promote successful outcomes for Southwest Florida patients battling breast cancer. Relieving this financial burden and stress allows for patients to focus on their healing.
The fund helps patients like Elizabeth Copeman, an Englewood resident who thought she had injured herself lifting something heavy at work, only to find out she had Stage 1 aggressive breast cancer and needed surgery. She was diagnosed in April but was unable to find anyone to help her until July because she didn’t have insurance. After hearing about the Regional Cancer Center from a friend, she made an appointment and within two days learned she qualified for a grant from the Sharon MacDonald Breast Health Fund that would cover the cost of her treatment. “It was a load off my mind,” she said. “If you know you have cancer and you know you have bills to pay and no way to pay them, it interferes with your healing. I’m in awe of the whole thing. I have no words to say how thankful and grateful I am.”
In August, Walker from The Price Foundation and MacDonald, retired chief administrative officer who helped create Lee Health’s Regional Cancer Center, and other officials toured the top floor of Gulf Coast Medical Center, an inpatient cancer center that’s part of the Regional Cancer Center’s comprehensive program. The newly enhanced floor features 72 patient beds, therapy and treatment options, an intensive care unit, innovative technology and much more, and means that patients won’t have to go anywhere else for care.
The Price Foundation fundraising challenge kicks off Lee Health’s Hopetober campaign this October, which is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. For information or to donate to the Sharon MacDonald Breast Health Fund, visit LeeHealthFoundation.org/Hopetober.
Michelle Stevens-Hollenbeck, Sharon MacDonald, Kenneth Walker, Dennis Bruens,
Tammy Zinn, Chris Simoneau. (Photo credit: Caronchi Photography)
About Regional Cancer Center
Established in 2008, Lee Health’s Regional Cancer Center keeps care close to home through a collaboration between Lee Health, 21st Century Oncology and Florida Cancer Specialists to provide high quality cancer treatment. With comprehensive oncology services, the latest technology, physician specialists and experienced staff all in one place, patients receiving care at RCC experience health care outcomes that exceed those of most cancer centers in Florida. Visit LeeHealthFoundation.org/RegionalCancerCenter or call (239) 343-6950 for more information.