We all know the economy is in rough shape at the moment. The newspapers and TV anchors are reminding us daily of the tumbling home prices, the rocky stock market, and the mounting job losses. You don’t have to open a newspaper or turn on the TV to know it yourself the vast majority of Americans have been feeling the pinch, whether it be a job loss in the family, or a retirement account shrunken beyond comfort.

Here at Angel Foundation, we see the tightening of the economy firsthand in the patients and families who come to us for assistance. Kelly Theesfeld, our Financial Assistance Program Coordinator, says she is currently receiving about 15 applications a week for aid a big jump from 2007. Partly as a result of our increased exposure, and partly due to economic concerns, the number of applications for our financial assistance program has skyrocketed in the last two years.

Year Patients who received financial assistance
2006 294
2007 463
2008 708
2009 (Jan today) 486

If this year continues at the same pace as last, we will have again helped over 700 cancer patients and their families in 2009 with basic needs rent, mortgage, utilities, gas and groceries. That’s almost 60 families a month!

Much of the demand for our services has always arisen from job losses, or cutbacks on hours most cancer patients simply cannot continue with a regular workweek during intense treatments. But as Kelly Theesfeld laments, “If you lose a job in this economy, you aren’t finding another one”. A Mayo Clinic oncologist reports that 30-50% of people fall beneath the poverty line while in treatment for cancer. This grim statistic reinforces what we already know here at Angel Foundation: there are huge, growing, unmet needs for families facing cancer. We’re working to meet them, but we need your help! Click here to donate, or here to volunteer to help us!