Lexington, SC (WLTX) - One group in the Midlands is bringing hope to cancer survivors by helping ends meet.
We probably all know someone who's dealing with or has had cancer. It's a long journey that takes a lot of time, money, and energy to get through, but the battle doesn't end after someone becomes cancer-free.
Hearing kids play in the park reminds Janet Grubbs of a time when she worried about her family’s future.
“I was diagnosed with breast cancer in April of 2016. They gave me medicine to try and shrink the tumor. It did not work," said Gibbes. "The tumor actually got larger. It was very scary. There were times I cried. I would just sit there and think, ‘What if I’m not here for them.'”
What helped get her through the treatments was as simple as a pencil and a book.
“Chemo typically lasts four to five hours. I started coloring and it would take up to several hours to finish a picture between them coming in and out and changing all the medicine," explained Grubbs. "I find coloring very relaxing. I’m reliving my childhood. Somewhat stay in the lines better than I was when I was little. It’s a lot of fun.”
Eventually the cost of medical bills and fatigue from treatment weighed heavy on her shoulders.
“I could barely work 40 hours. I didn’t know what I was going to do," said Grubbs. "Suddenly I was running several hundred dollars short every month. I didn’t know what I was going to do."
One person who knows the feeling all too well is Paulette Criscione. Cancer is no stranger to her family.
“My father died with breast cancer. My brother Richard died with leukemia. My brother Jay died with bile duct. He also had throat cancer. I'm a breast cancer and lung cancer survivor,” said Criscione.
Criscione knows how bills can pile up and affect the future.
"There's a lot of people, because of the fact that it costs too much money, they'll just forgo treatment. (They think) Families are more important than they are and they just can't afford to do that."
With the bills piling up on Grubbs, she was lost, wondering what to do next.
"I prayed a lot. I'm still running short and it's going to be a few months. What am I going to do now," wondered Grubbs.
When all hope seemed to be lost, hope came in a different way.
“It’s a difference that one person can make, but it’s a village that can make a miracle,” said Criscione.
That village is Cancer of Many Colors, a non-profit group Paulette founded to help cancer survivors catch a break.
“We want to take the pressure off of them and get it done, whether it be rent or utilities or something that they need some relief," said Criscione.
After sending an application to receive help, Grubbs was left speechless.
“Then I got an email and they said, ’Thank you very much, you’ve been approved. We’re going to pay your electric bill,’ and I cried," explained Grubbs. "To have people willing to step up and donate money to help you, I’m going to cry just thinking about it. It amazed me.” .
Criscione is just happy her group can help lend a hand.
“Treatments don’t stop. Doctors don’t stop. The medical bills don’t stop. But what we do is to be able to make sure they can go and make sure they have a roof over their head or their utilities are paid. We’re here to support them,” said Criscione.
While Janet looks to stay between the lines, Cancer of Many Colors fill in the gaps she can’t get to on her own.
"That's the kind of thing that helps out so much when people are willing to help like that. It makes you realize people cares and I'm not going through this alone. I think that's a big thing," explained Grubbs. "I knew I wasn't alone."
If you would more information on Cancer of Many Colors, click here.