Thrivent Financial in Langdon recently created 100 cancer care patient bags for those in the area who are currently undergoing treatment.
By Melissa Anderson
Financial representatives and sisters, Sarah Overby and Rachelle Fetsch, came up with idea of holding a cancer patient care bag drive when their father, Keith Mack, was hospitalized as a result of cancer.
“The idea actually came about last year during my dad’s hospital stay at Altru while battling cancer,” Overby shared.
While Mack was in the hospital, he received a nice blanket from someone who had donated to the cancer center. Overby remembered how this act impacted her.
“It warmed my heart, thinking that there were some very generous people out there that took the time to acknowledge what Dad was going through. I thought to myself, I can’t imagine going through something like this alone, but I’m sure there are people out there that do,” Overby said.
Overby felt that this was an amazing thing to do in order to let someone else know that you are thinking about them. Overby also recalled that during the hospital stay, she and fellow family members had to make special trips to stores such as WalMart or Target to look for items that are not typically given during a hospital stay.
“Something as simple as going to buy chapstick or trailmix ended up being a pretty daunting task, knowing that you had to leave your loved one who would otherwise sit alone in a hospital bed,” Overby stated.
While Overby and the rest of Mack’s family were in the hospital with him, they wanted to be by Mack’s side but also wanted to make him as comfortable as possible.
“After Dad passed away, my sisters and I always thought it would be nice to pay it forward and do a project associated with providing supplies for cancer patients,” Overby explained.
Earlier this year, Overby decided it was time to put the good idea into action and, after gauging input from Facebook friends, saw that there was a massive response from people willing to help.
Following the post to Facebook, donations began to come in for the project. The items that were donated were things that would not typically be found or provided in a hospital, but what you might want or need while you are there. Examples: chapstick, word puzzles, notebooks, snack items, and personal care items.
While some of the supplies were purchased using Thrivent Financial action team dollars, the majority of items came from personal donations. Overall, Overby estimates that at least 50 individuals donated or helped put the care bag together.
“Some of those people just dropped off supplies for the project, and some of them came to help package the supplies the night that we assembled the bags,” Overby stated.
In addition to putting the bags together, the 4-H group helped give the cancer patient care bags an extra touch by decorating several of the bags that were filled in advance.
Overby notes that considering the project was not actually advertised in any way beyond a Facebook post, the support that was received was unbelievable!
“People are so unbelievably generous in our community. All it took was a Facebook post and BAM – hundreds and hundreds of items donated for the cause,” Overby said.
Members of the Langdon community and surrounding areas joined Overby and Fetsch at the Thrivent Financial location in Langdon on the evening of May 19 to assemble and bring in final donations. There were even community members from Walhalla that donated items as well.
Now that the cancer patient care bags are assembled and ready to go, some of the bags will be kept locally and given to those who need them here.
“The majority will be given to the Altru Cancer Center and some to Sanford as well. The reason for this is because of the in-patient need at those facilities. A lot of people from our community would need to go to those facilities if they needed in- patient treatments and care,” Overby explained.