Supporting Those Most in Need
Diplomat works with patients facing tough diagnoses every day. We know sticking to treatment is hard enough without having to worry about everything else—house payments or rent, utilities, medical bills, and work.
As a survivor, Marsha Schmit understands the health and self-esteem challenges that can come with a cancer diagnosis. When she became the first breast health nurse navigator at Hurley Medical Center in Flint, Michigan, she met with patients and sat in on support groups. She wanted to better understand how she could help ease their journeys back to health.
“I heard women say they had been diagnosed with breast cancer and then lost their job, their husband, their insurance,” Marsha said. “They were talking about all these losses as the result of one diagnosis.”
She established Hurley’s Breast Cancer Patient Navigation Fund, dedicated to helping patients get through treatment successfully. Donations help patients pay for copays, utilities, mortgages, groceries, and more during treatment.
Richard Warmbold, former foundation president at Hurley, said the goal is to enable patients to focus on getting better.
“We truly make a difference in the lives of people who are on fixed incomes, self-employed, and young women and men who are bread-winners who are out of work for a bit,” Richard said. “This can put a person in serious financial stress.”
The fund also helps patients get the diagnostic tests they need.
“We’ve caught handfuls of cancers early because we were able to help pay for that preliminary testing that they wouldn’t have been able to otherwise afford.” Marsha said. “If we can do that and catch something early, then we can save a lot more in the long run, or give someone peace of mind that they’re OK.”
Each October, the fund puts on a celebration called Pink Night Palooza. Proceeds go to the Breast Cancer Patient Navigation Fund. At the 2016 Pink Night Palooza, Brenda Hawkes, Diplomat’s senior manager of patient advocacy, shared her story.
“It was marvelous that Brenda was able to share her heart and to give another face to cancer. It’s nice to see that people not only go through breast cancer but that they can survive breast cancer and they can be meaningful and continue to be an advocate,” Marsha said.
Supporting patient-centered organizations and events like the Pink Night Palooza is one way Diplomat does whatever it takes for patients.
“Diplomat is a community giant,” Marsha said. “Their sponsorship with Hurley and this fund is a stamp of approval that this is a credible fund—that it is a worthwhile place to find resources. I have nothing but the best things to say about Diplomat. We’re lucky to have them in our community. It’s only because of these sponsorships that we can do what we do.”