Relay important personally, professionally

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 14, 2000

Features Editor

Susan Outlaw lost her mother to cancer when she was only eight years old, leaving a void that can never be filled. However, the love and generosity shown to her and her family during her mother’s battle with the deadly disease made an impression that will never be forgotten.

"My mother was treated in Seattle, Washington for three months and we were there with her," Outlaw said. "Our community, Alexander City, held fund raisers to help us with the expenses and that took a lot of the financial burden off my family."

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As a child, Outlaw wasn’t able to fully comprehend how much the caring and support of a community meant during a time like that. Today, as the patient care coordinator for Wiregrass Hospice of Troy, she fully understands.

On a daily basis, Outlaw knows how many lives are touched by cancer and she also knows what community caring and support mean in the fight against cancer, on a personal level and on a professional level.

She said at Hospice there are a multitude of volunteers who give of their time to assist Hospice patients and their families. Giving a caregiver a few minutes to do something outside the home, helping with shopping needs and sitting with the patient and talking or reading to them are just some of the ways Hospice volunteers show caring and love on a personal level.

Extended assistance comes from the American Cancer Society.

"The American Cancer Society helps us with donations of items for patients’ needs," Outlaw said. "Some of these needs are for medicine, toiletries items, supplemental feedings and gift items. At Christmas and other holidays, the American Cancer Society provides gift boxes for the patients. They also provided reading material, toys, wigs, ostomy supplies and a variety of things that make help the patient feel better and look better."

Because Outlaw lost her mother and an uncle who helped raise her to cancer and because other members of her family have been diagnosed with cancer and several of her friends, she wanted to do her part in the fight against cancer.

Because of the good that she sees the American Cancer Society doing in this fight and with the Hospice patients with whom she works so closely, Outlaw was the leader in organizing a Relay for Life Hospice team in Troy this year.

"This is our first year participating in Relay and we got started a little late," she said. "But I am so excited to be a part of this event and everyone here at the office is, too – our 13 employees and all of our volunteers. We’re having a good time and we doing something to help win the battle against cancer."

So far, the Wiregrass Hospice Troy team has held a yard sale and a bake sale. They’ve sold Krispy Creme donuts and held a car wash.

On Saturday, they will have another donut sale at Ingram’s Curb Market and in the old shopping center parking lot next to Brittany’s.

April 29, they will be washing cars again and they are selling tickets on a raffle for $100 for $1 each.

And, once a week, the Hospice staff participates in an in-house fund raiser. Each Thursday, two people prepare lunch and everyone enjoys the home cooked meal for a donation of $5 to their Relay team.

"We all feel good about what we are doing and we are just proud to have an opportunity to give something back to our community through Relay for Life," Outlaw said. "At Hospice, we see the good that the American Cancer Society does every day through research, education and patient services. We’re honored to be a part of Relay for Life."