According to the National Cancer Institute, www.cancer.gov, “more than 249,000 new cases (of breast cancer) are expected in the United States in 2016,” Among other cancer types, lung cancer, prostate cancer, and colorectal cancer represent another 500,000+ individual cases in 2016. On many, many levels, we are fighting cancer and winning. However, the reality is cancer is disease that affects you, your parents, your school teachers, your soccer coach. Look around you the next time you are at the Providence Place Mall and realize that most if not everyone you see has been affected by cancer in some way – parent, sister, teacher, friend. It affects us all.
Chemotherapy, according to Cancer Treatments Centers of America, is “the use of anticancer drugs designed to slow or stop the growth of rapidly dividing cancer cells in the body. It may be used:
- As a primary treatment to destroy cancer cells
- Before another treatment to shrink a tumor
- After another treatment to destroy any remaining cancer cells
- To relieve symptoms of advanced cancer
Side effects are typically common with chemotherapy and may include nausea, vomiting, hair loss, and fatigue. During the chemotherapy phase of your treatment, it is comforting to have a friend or family member by your side, driving you to appointments, or making you a hot cup of tea, or providing a much need positive message to help you get through your tough times. But what if you are going about chemotherapy alone, with little or no support system? Sad to report that this is more common than you might think. And one local North Kingstown High School student would like to pick up the spirits of those patients going through chemotherapy alone through her senior project, Chemo Care Packages. That student is Victoria DeRuosi.
In her own words on her Facebook page, Chemo Care Packages, Victoria writes “for my senior project, I am creating chemotherapy care packages for local cancer patients receiving chemotherapy at South County Hospital. It is important to realize that not everybody has a strong support system when they are sick. That is why I am creating Chemo Care Packages. Chemotherapy patients experience many uncomfortable side effects, including having to sit for hours while receiving treatment. The packages will include items that will provide relief to side effects, and give patients comfort knowing the community is supporting them.“
I recently learned that local Wickford merchant and community leader JW Graham/Yes! Gallery donated 120 scarves to the Chemo Care Package project. The positive spirit and energy flowing from JW Graham ownership is felt throughout Wickford, Rhode Island and beyond. Thank you to all the staff and ownership of JW Graham/Yes! Gallery for being such great community partners. Here is a photo of the scarves that were donated along with owner Julie Beebe and Victoria DeRuosi out front of the famous Wickford retail store.
There are items on Victoria’s wish list that Chemo Care Packages could use. Victoria has set up drop off locations at:
St. Paul’s Parish
55 Main St.
North Kingstown, RI 02852
Garden City Eye Care
1150 Reservoir ave
Cranston, RI 02920
And she is looking for items such as Biotine mouthwash, gender neutral bandanas/hats, scentless/original scent hand sanitizer, scentless/original scent lip balm, scentless/original scent lotion, gender neutral mittens/gloves & fuzzy socks, and straw cups (portable plastic to-go cups). If you have items in your home or office that you would be willing to donate to Victoria’s Chemo Care Package project, please reach into your hearts and do so. Donations are being accepted now until March 14th.
In addition, if you would like to participate in giving a direct act of kindness and you are unable to drop off items on the care package list or simply prefer to donate money, you can do so online. Victoria has set up a Go Fund Me page and the link is: https://www.gofundme.com/nkchemocare.
Please stay tuned for my interview with the senior who is creating positive messages and providing a valuable service to her community through her Chemo Care Package project, Victoria DeRuosi. And don’t miss out on your opportunity to help others in need by donating your items at either St. Paul’s Parish or Garden City Eye Care. For more information, go to the official Facebook page of this project, Chemo Care Package.