Helping Neighbors: FISH OF SANCAP Assists Through Cancer Treatments
“It's not what happens, but what happens next that counts. . ." unknown
I have had brain cancer for nearly three years, and this is how I received assistance to help me through it,” states Tom, an island resident and employee for over two decades.
“I moved to Sanibel over twenty years ago from Miami when my only family member passed away. After a few weeks, I was able to secure employment and a small apartment and began making friends. I was enjoying the island life, working many hours and, on days off, spending time fishing. Rarely did I leave to go into town, or ‘over the bridge’ as we islanders say, so I gave away my car to a deserving individual. Life was good.”
“About five years ago, I started having dizzy spells and intestinal distress. A friend took me to the doctor's office where they thought it was an inner ear thing, and when my symptoms didn’t go away the doctor ran a CT scan. They found a mass and rushed me to the hospital where I was diagnosed with a brain tumor. My life was forever changed, and I wanted to scream; I was devastated.”
“Treatments began immediately. I had to stop working and needed a lot of help getting to and from the doctor’s office. I had heard of the FISH organization through some friends that did a food drive for their food pantry, and they suggested I call. I met with the case manager, Nitza, and she told me of the programs that might be able to help me through this nightmare – food pantry, meals, visitation, transportation and even financial assistance should my medical bills become unmanageable, which they did. I never knew this organization did so much for so many people.”
“FISH organized a team of volunteers to drive me to my appointments, and there were a lot of appointments. Some nice folks came to visit me at my house just to talk and see how I was doing, giving me the emotional support that I so desperately craved. I was on the meals program for a while, and FISH even ordered me a nutritional drink to help keep me strong when I couldn’t, or didn’t want to, eat. They helped me pay for some of the medical expenses and helped with rent too. They were my guardian angels.”
Tom recovered and returned to work about three months after his first treatment. FISH continues to help him with transportation to appointments for follow up. Through generous donations and grant funding, FISH is able to help neighbors like Tom. Through their vast array of programs, Tom and others like him receive assistance, food, support and a hand up. Tom’s story is just one of many that have received a helping hand from the nonprofit social services organization. For additional information on FISH programs and services, please contact their Social Services Department at 239-472-4775.