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Local agencies offer hope to cancer patients

You have cancer.

It’s a difficult diagnosis for anyone to receive. And as if dealing with the illness itself wasn’t bad enough, the disease is often made more difficult by the financial and emotional implications that often accompany it.

So where can people turn if they can’t afford to purchase medical equipment, find counseling or financial resources or even buy something as small as a wig, turban or bandana?

There are several local organizations in Pahrump that specialize in helping people in these situations.

One of those is the American Cancer Society.

Aside from raising money to help fund research for a cure, the ACS provides Pahrump patients with programs that connect the newly-diagnosed with other cancer patients and survivors to talk about the experience, provide information about their disease, help them feel better about the changes their bodies are going through and connect them with counselors who can guide them toward resources if they’ve having trouble with financial issues like insurance.

Katherine Row, a spokesperson for the ACS, said two of their most important resources are the 24-hour hotline, 1-800-227-2345, and www.cancer.org.

Through the 800 number, Row said trained staff members are available to speak with patients and caregivers about their concerns 24 hours a day and can also help them work through issues with their insurance or guide them toward resources to deal with other financial issues in regards to their treatment.

More locally, the ACS has partnered with several hotels in Las Vegas to provide rooms for Pahrump patients who must travel for treatment at a reduced cost.

“Our lodging program provides rooms for patients who have to travel to Las Vegas for treatment so they don’t have to go back and forth every day when they’re nauseous and exhausted,” she explained.

The ACS also has a cancer resource center, located inside At Your Fingertips Salon at 1141 S. Highway 160. The resource center can provide patients with wigs, scarves and other stylish head coverings at no cost as well as liquid nutritional drinks and information for both cancer patients and their caregivers.

Laurie Wall, a volunteer with the resource center, said they also offer a program called Look Good Feel Better, which teaches female cancer patients how to take care of their skin, apply makeup and other things to feel their best. Those who attend the course are also gifted with a bag full of skin-care items and makeup as well.

The one service Row said the ACS would like to provide in Pahrump is their Road to Recovery program, which pairs cancer patients with volunteer drivers who will take them to their appointments. At this time, Row said they don’t have enough volunteers to provide the program on a regular basis.

The cancer resource center is available by appointment only. To learn more call 775-209-0358. And to volunteer with the ACS call their Las Vegas office at 702-891-9023 and speak with Debra Armstrong.

Another local organization has been helping those suffering from cancer and other terminal illnesses in the Pahrump community for more than 20 years.

Since 1992 The Cancer Victims’ Thrift Store, located at 641 West St., has been using the money it makes from selling donated items to buy medical equipment and other goods provided at no cost to those who need them and otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford them.

Current Store Manager Patricia Incopero said they provide items like wigs, hats, bandanas and special shampoos to help with hair regrowth for cancer patients.

She added the store also carries a long list of other medical supplies including canes, walkers, wheelchairs, medical beds and mattresses, toilet chairs, braces, breathing machines or nebulizers, motorized scooters, oxygen tanks and tank holders, IV supplies, test strips and more, also at no cost.

“A lot of the things we give out are brand new; they’re still wrapped up in plastic even. So they’re getting brand new stuff that their insurance can’t cover, or a lot of people come in and tell us ‘my insurance will only cover this for six months, can I come down and pick something up?’ And there’s no time limit on the items either. When they check it out they have it as long as they need it,” Incopero said.

After the passing of the store’s founder, Frank Incopero, last year, Patricia said she and her mother, Theresa Incopero, have been working to continue his legacy in the Pahrump community.

“My grandpa always told us ‘never turn anyone down because you never know who really needs the help.’ So we do not turn down anyone who needs our help,” Patricia said. “We are in the process of putting things together so we can do more to help our community and follow through with our father and grandfather’s wishes.”

In the near future Theresa, Frank’s daughter, said she plans to begin selling cars at the store in her father’s honor as well. To donate cars, contact Theresa directly at 775-764-1637.

For more information about the Cancer Victims’ Thrift Store or to donate call 775-727-7270.

And for those just looking for emotional support, there are a number of support meetings that meet each month in town as well.

Once a month the Pahrump Prostate Support Group meets at Desert View Hospital. For more information about the prostate cancer support group call 775-727-7482.

The ACS also provides a program called Reach to Recovery which pairs volunteer cancer patients and survivors with newly-diagnosed patients to talk them about their condition as well. For more information on that program call 1-800-227-2345.

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