2016 has barely even begun and already our Emergency Financial Assistance (EFA) Director, Jennifer Kielas, has reviewed, on average, 171 applications a month (this is a jump from 144 in 2015, by the way). What does this mean? In terms of our mission, this number means that we are reaching a higher percentage of adults with cancer in the Twin Cities who qualify for EFA, a truly thrilling reality for an organization just 15 years old.

But it also means something else: every application that falls on Jennifer’s desk was put there by a social worker or medical professional, someone who believes enough in our mission to take extra time out of their day to help both us and the patients they serve. These partners are our lifeline; they allow us to fulfill our mission, connecting patients directly to our organization and advocating on their behalf.

March is National Social Work Month, so before the month ends, we would like to take a moment to graciously acknowledge those rock star social workers who continue to believe in Angel and the work we do. We recently caught up with one such rock star, Ali Cain, Licensed Social Worker at Virginia Piper Cancer Institute, about Angel Foundation and the way the organization impacts her work. This is what she had to say:

“I have been on the receiving end of tearful hugs of sheer relief when patients learn about Angel Foundation. Many patients I work with don’t have access to paid time off, money in a savings account, a dual income household, or many assets. A cancer diagnosis almost automatically means a person will need some time off of work for appointments, treatment, and recovery. This usually results in decreased wages at the same time patients are incurring medical expenses the average American is not equipped to pay. Loss of income and increased monthly expenses leave a huge subset of people needing just what Angel Foundation can offer, which is extra help when people need it most.”

Ali has a tough job, but shares that Angel Foundation helps ease the load:

“As a social worker, access to Angel Foundation allows me to offer something tangible, immediate, and significantly helpful to patients. Angel Foundation is an amazing resources and we are so fortunate to have this organization supporting patients and families in the metro area.”

We cannot say thank you enough to you, Ali, and to the many others in clinics and hospitals who share the mission of Angel Foundation with their patients. We are incredibly grateful for the work you do and would like to say “thank you” for making Angel Foundation a part of your professional life. Happy National Social Work Month!