Legacy of Hope has assembled an impressive roster of sponsored runners for the 2022 Love Run Half Marathon; after reading their bios, it’s hard not to see Becky Cammy as a selfless, fiercely dedicated frontline warrior in the fight against cancer. A licensed clinical social worker and therapist, Cammy leads the Oncology Social Work Team for the Sidney Kimmel Center (SKCC) at Jefferson Health. Accordingly, she works hand-in-glove with Legacy of Hope. So it’s no surprise that she’ll be running the Love Run to help raise $250,000 to provide emergency support for Philadelphia cancer patients. See how you can ,support Becky’s work with Legacy of Hope, or go it one better and join her on race day by registering at ,www.phillyrunsfree.com.
Becky elaborates on her critical role “Our relationship with Legacy of Hope (LOH) developed almost effortlessly, because our missions are so well aligned. They’re clearly paying attention to the logistical, practical, and financial needs of our patients. Our team met with Mike [Rowe] to discuss the unique, often unseen, non-medical needs of our patients; this led to LOH establishing the Emergency Patient Support Network, which has become a critical resource to address food insecurity and housing instability for our most marginalized and financially distressed patients.”
Philadelphia has some of the highest rates of cancer incidence in our nation, and about a quarter of people in our city live below the poverty line. Ironically, for some patients, a cancer diagnosis isn’t their biggest concern—when they must worry about stable shelter and food access. That’s where teamwork between SKCC and LOH comes in.
“Legacy of Hope is really a great team with our oncology social workgroup because we share the same values in trying to treat the whole person. So we’re asking about those issues when we’re screening our patients in the clinic and doing our initial assessment. We’re asking how they’re managing emotionally, and financially how this is impacting them. How their employment and income are changing because of this diagnosis. And it involves practical pieces like how are they getting to these appointments; how are they navigating a whole new health care system, and who is around to support them. What we’re trying to accomplish in support of oncology care aligns perfectly with Legacy of Hope and their mission; we lean on Legacy of Hope and are in constant communication with them as we’re getting to know these patients and hearing their stories.”
Cammy recounts a particularly poignant case which illustrates the impact of the Emergency Patient Support Network: “I can remember a patient whom I just recently met in our supportive medicine clinic. She had disease progression of her breast cancer, had two young teenagers at home, and was about to start another course of daily radiation. When we asked not just how she was feeling physically, emotionally but how things were at home, she mentioned that her fridge wasn’t working; and her oven wasn’t working. We learned all this when we offered her a Legacy of Hope grocery delivery and she responded “Well, I would love that, but the food’s going to go bad…” This was right before Christmas, so I got in touch with Mike and the Legacy of Hope team and said “this is a little bit untraditional in terms of the support we can provide, but do you know anyone who is donating some used fridge’s or appliances that we might be able to connect this family with?”
Mike said, “We’re going do better than used. I found a donor who will purchase a new fridge and stove for them. We’ll get it delivered to them and also take away the old ones” since the manual labor of installing the new appliances and getting rid of the old appliances was going to be a huge issue for this single mom. “The fridge got there in time for Christmas, the stove arrived slightly after, “and the patient was able to kind of enjoy the holidays with her family.”
Cammy’s grandparents were Holocaust survivors and “early on, that drew my interest in thinking about death, dying and serious illness, and honoring this time and when things are challenging. They ultimately both ended up dying with a cancer diagnosis, but so much more of their lives was about the trauma and transitions after the Holocaust; this really played into my interest in getting into this field and supporting people when they’re vulnerable and struggling with concrete things like dealing with serious illness.”
When Cammy isn’t at her day job she’s still serving others by, for example, teaching her five-year-old daughter to spread happiness to those in need in our community by delivering Thanksgiving meals to some of SKCC’s cancer patients. She recharges herself through exercise—mostly running—and she’ll be racing in this year’s Love Run with her husband to help Legacy of Hope.
The unprecedented health and economic crisis caused by the pandemic has exacerbated existing healthcare disparities, threatening fundamental concrete needs for vulnerable populations. Hardships related to housing, food, and employment have never been greater, and they significantly contribute to human suffering. You can help make a huge difference by supporting Becky with a donation at her Love Run fundraiser page, or join the fray yourself, and register for the Love Run at ,www.phillyrunsfree.com. Registration is free when you raise $250 or more for Legacy of Hope.