75 Grand Raffle supports Cancer Patient Assistance Fund

In 2019, Memorial Medical Center Foundation launched a new fundraiser to benefit five patient assistance funds. Proceeds from the 75 Grand Raffle were distributed among the: Breast Cancer Patient Assistance Fund, Cancer Patient Assistance Fund, Sexual Assault Survivor Fund, Sharing Wishes Fund and the Transplant Patient Assistance Fund.  There were 22 cash prizes totaling $95,000. Sondra Roemer was the grand prize winner of $75,000.

“We were thrilled with the inaugural year of the 75 Grand Raffle,” said Melissa Hansen Schmadeke, executive director of the Foundation. “One of our goals was to engage with Memorial employees and community members who aren’t as familiar with the Memorial Medical Center Foundation. We definitely think we succeeded, especially when it comes to making people aware of our patient assistance funds and the help they are providing.”

A great example of that help is Jay Rebman, who was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in September 2018. The 54-year-old is a self-employed massage therapist and owner of “The Guest House,” an Airbnb property. Jay underwent chemotherapy every other week from November 2018 to April 2019.

“Because of my health, I was unable to work for a period of time. Being self-employed brought many financial concerns which I was solely responsible for,” Jay remembers. “It was a tough time physically and emotionally.”

When Jay’s nurse navigator, Carmen Kramer, became aware of his financial challenges, she suggested he apply for help from the Cancer Patient Assistance Fund. Once approved, the fund covered three utility bills, a vehicle payment and provided a gift card to purchase groceries.

“With the help of the Foundation and my family’s financial assistance and support, I was able to concentrate fully on treatment and recovery,” Jay said.

As a nurse navigator with Memorial’s Regional Cancer Center, Carmen partners with patients during their cancer journey and helps reduce barriers to treatment.

“The financial implications of a cancer diagnosis can be devastating and can add to the emotional distress of individuals in the midst of treatment,” Carmen said. “The Foundation’s Cancer Patient Assistance Fund provides an avenue for us to help  meet the financial needs of our patients by assisting with gas cards, bills for rent or mortgage, utilities and even grocery expenses. This assistance impacts individuals in such a big way during this stressful time.”

After getting back on his feet financially, Jay wanted to give back and purchased a 75 Grand Raffle ticket. He also encouraged his family and friends to enter the raffle, which resulted in at least 18 ticket sales.

“I was unaware of the Foundation and all the good work it does,” he said. “I felt people needed to be informed of this and buy a ticket to support the cause.” Then on March 15, 2019, Jay received a phone call with some exciting news—he was a winner in the 75 Grand Raffle drawing. “When I got the call that I won, I was in shock! I have had so many miracles during my cancer journey and this was one more,” he said.