Operating out of the lower level of Parkland Health Center in Bonne Terre since 1996, the Parkland Cancer Center provides treatment to 75-100 local patients each month.
The clinic, operating with a small staff, provides a more intimate setting for area cancer patients to receive treatment. According to Carla Crocker, coordinator for the Parkland Health Center Foundation, staff at the clinic know patients by name and tend to remember details about their families and lives.
The center has five different oncologists who use the facilities to treat cancer patients. Four of these physicians practice out of Missouri Baptist Medical Center in St. Louis, but also see patients at the Bonne Terre location. This greatly reduces the amount of travel time and related expenses patients have to incur.
The Parkland Health Center Foundation provided more than $40,000 in grants to Parkland Cancer Center in 2018. This money is a special fund to assist with medical expenses for those who can’t afford what their insurance doesn’t cover or simply don’t have medical insurance.
Crocker reports that this money is different than other programs in that it looks at the individual’s situation “right now” rather than looking at the previous year.
The foundation in 2018 also provided a $2,500 scholarship to a local high school senior entering the medical field as well as a $2,500 scholarship for a student enrolled in the Mineral Area College Nursing Program. The foundation also donated $5,000 to Meals on Wheels for special diets and gifted $35,000 to the Bonne Terre Well Life Center.
The foundation is currently holding their second annual drive to collect supplies to benefit cancer patients. Items needed include cases of Boost or Ensure, gas cards, grocery cards, puzzle or crossword books, blankets, journals, scarves and gloves, and pre-packaged snack foods.
“Cancer patients often don’t eat or drink well due to their treatments, and the nutritional supplements such as Boost and Ensure provide an easier way for them to get the needed nutrients. In addition, some people have difficulty with paying for gas to come to the center for treatment – the gas cards help offset some of this expense,” said Nurse Mary Hickman.
“In addition, patients can spend 45 minutes to eight hours at the center receiving treatment. The puzzle books, puzzles, crosswords, and books give patients something to do rather than focus on their situation.”
Staff also stated that cancer patients tend to get cold easily due to weight loss and treatments and they want those who come to the center to be as comfortable as possible. Donations of blankets can help patients stay warm during treatment as well as at home. Pre-packaged snack foods can also help get patients and their families through the long days at the center.
Anyone wishing to donate items can drop them off at various locations throughout the county. Collection bins are located at Steak’ n Shake, Qdoba, and Cicis Pizza in Farmington as well as RaeCole’s Coffee Bar in Park Hills. Individuals can also drop off supplies at the cancer center in Bonne Terre.
Groups or individuals wishing to make a financial contribution to the Parkland Health Center Foundation or directly to the cancer center can contact Carla Crocker by phone at 573-760-8523 or by email, Carla.Crocker@BJC.org.
Matt McFarland is a reporter for the Daily Journal. He can be reached at 573-518-3616, or at email@example.com.