LIMA — With a pink hat and shirt on, Sharon Geier now had a pink bag to match.
The Delphos resident was at the Lima Memorial Health System’s Women’s Health Center Thursday to receive her most recent chemo treatment since she was diagnosed with breast cancer in December 2005. In the nine years since her diagnosis, she’s only been in remission once for a short period of time. After her first round of chemo, she tried not to continue with treatments, but she said it was too painful not to.
“I don’t really have a choice,” she said. “I do what I have to do to … to slow it down and manage the pain.”
Though Geier didn’t have family with her during this particular visit, she said she does have the support of long time oncologist Ashok Tripuraneni.
“Everyone’s getting busy, getting older,” she said. “My doctor is one of my best supporters and friends as far as I’m concerned. I wouldn’t see nobody else, no matter what.”
During treatment, she takes things “a day at a time.” But, donations like Chemo Care Bags containing blankets, snacks, puzzles, journals and socks from Thirty-One Gifts, a company based in Columbus, certainly helps.
“It’s very generous,” Geier said.
The bags were delivered to Geier by consultants Amy Noll and Lizann Morris as a part of the company’s Pay It Forward program. The endeavor is one of the group’s first team efforts but there have been individual projects in the past, like a breast cancer fundraiser last October.
“This is the biggest thing we’ve done,” Noll said. “We didn’t expect it to get so big.”
Beginning in January, the team of eight representatives was able to collect donations for more than 350 bags in two or three weeks. The goal was to raise 100 for Celina’s Grand Lake Regional Cancer Center, Morris said. With such a large amount of bags, the group donated 250 bags to the center and more than 60 to Lima Memorial. The bags alone were valued at more than $8,000, costing about $25 each.
“A big thing like this goes a long way,” said Nora Fought, Lima Memorial’s oncology services and radiation supervisor and patient navigator. “It’s very taxing and when patients see people they don’t even know care this much, it has a great impact.”