Jessica Marsh volunteers for cancer support group 

(EDITOR’S NOTE: Across our region, CHC/SEK employees are making positive impacts within their communities, both at work and as volunteers. We’re proud of their personal investment and the contributions they bring to better their hometowns.)

Just letting someone know you’re there for them can make a huge difference after someone is recently diagnosed with cancer or undergoing treatments. Cancer can be emotionally and financially taxing for the individual, their families and caregivers.

Through the non-profit organization Care to Share, The Sharing Bucket, CHC/SEK Fort Scott Registration Clerk Jessi Marsh and her family volunteer with the organization to help relieve individuals and families through difficult times.

Care to Share provides emotional and financial assistance to individuals living with cancer and their caregivers because they “care to share.” The organization offers services in Bourbon, Crawford and Linn counties.

For Jessi, Care to Share holds a special place in her heart because she has both provided support and been a recipient as a family member of someone diagnosed with cancer, her step-father. And, long before Care to Share came to be, Jessi also watched her brother’s experience with cancer from first through fifth grade; he later passed away from the disease.

Her family was on the receiving end in 2016 when her step-father had cancer. While at the hospital during his final days, Care to Share brought in a deli tray.

“Here I was trying to figure out dinner because we had lots of family here. I didn’t realize that dropping off a deli tray made such a big difference. Now I know how they feel,” Jessi says tearfully. “When you are receiving, you just don’t realize how big of a burden this took off you.”

Her husband’s aunt, Lavetta Simmons, is one of the individuals who started Care to Share, so they have been involved since it was founded. Her family and friends have put on and or participated in numerous fundraising events, including an annual softball tournament and fall festival. All donations go to cancer patients and their families.

“Our community is great, and so are the small businesses,” Jessi says. “The community has backed up Care to Share 100 percent in so many ways.”

Jessi and Care to Share have supported individuals, families and caregivers by stopping in to check on patients and their families, providing meals, and assisting with gas costs for treatment visits and bills. Sometimes a caregiver may need a break or be unavailable, so volunteers would sit with the individual while their caregiver ran errands or got refreshed.

“We make meals or order pizza,” Jessi says. “We might bring a bag full of cleaning supplies and toiletries or just stop by with something saying we’re just thinking about you.”

Another CHC/SEK staff member, Registration Clerk Susan Yount, volunteered with Care to Share with her mother, who was diagnosed with cancer and sadly later passed away after four years. They, too, received the support that the organization had to offer. Care to Share provided them money to go to Kansas City, and volunteers like Jessi, coined as “angels,” would come to check on her mother while Susan was at work. To this day, her family still volunteers and supports Care to Share.

“They were always there for us,” Susan says.  If interested, Jessi says the best way to help is to become a Care to Share volunteer; send her a message, and she can help you help others.   

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