Wish tree helps patients at cancer center

REED CITY — When a cancer patient experiences financial hardship, purchasing basic items like wigs or hats is a tremendous strain.

However, members of the community can help ease the pain.

A permanent Wish Tree now stands at the Susan P. Wheatlake Regional Cancer Center in Reed City, offering community members the opportunity to support cancer patients in their time of need. The tree includes requests for many items that are not covered by insurance, such as wigs, radiation therapy gowns, hats, gift certificates and gas cards.

“When our neighbor or loved one is battling this disease, we often feel helpless and ask ourselves what we can do,” said Christie Carlson, development director at Spectrum Health Reed City Hospital. “This Wish Tree is an opportunity to make a positive impact.”

Some of the items, like the radiation therapy treatment gowns, help our breast cancer patients emotionally during their treatment experience. By sponsoring a gown, you are giving a patient a gift they will use every time they come into treatment.

One patient commented, "When I came in for my first radiation therapy treatment and put on a traditional hospital gown I truly felt 'sick' for the first time. When I was given a special designer gown, it made me feel beautiful and special through the whole experience. It totally changed my experience."

The Wish Tree is located in the Wellness Center of the Susan P. Wheatlake Regional Cancer Center. The outside of each envelope lists an item needed as well as the cost. Inside each envelope is a detailed description of the item, plus a response card and self-addressed, stamped envelope. The response card gives you the option to write a donation check, pay by credit card or ask that an invoice be mailed to you. All donations are tax deductible.

To give to the Wish Tree, visit the cancer center during from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday and take an envelope off the Wish Tree. Items are also listed on the Spectrum Health Foundation website, spectrumhealthfoundation.org.

For more information, call the Spectrum Health Foundation at (231) 832.7184.