Group raising funds for more comfy chemo chairs

Published 11:32 pm Thursday, October 30, 2014

Shown are the current chairs at Sacred Heart Cancer Center.

Shown are the current chairs at Sacred Heart Cancer Center.

Two patients at Sacred Heart Cancer Center’s Andalusia facility hope to involve the community in raising funds for eight new chairs for chemotherapy treatments.

Patients at Sacred Heart must endure hours of chemotherapy in chairs that have been considered by staff and patients alike to be outdated, uncomfortable, hard to use and cold.

The comfort of the patients during this difficult journey is the No. 1 priority for those involved in the fundraiser.

J.D. Fowler and Candace Hudson, both of whom utilize Sacred Heart for their chemo treatments, are organizing the benefit and are hoping to leave behind something good for those who use the facility after them.

“Our thing is to be able to help anyone who may be in our situation that comes next,” Hudson said. “We want to make it comfortable for people who have to sit during treatments for hours.”

Fowler said he’s been a patient at Sacred Heart since 2012, and he takes chemo every week.

“Short treatments last about five hours, but long treatments last between 6 to 8 hours,” Fowler said. “These new chairs will make the day go better for the patient and nurses who help them.”

The team has successfully acquired the donation of two new chairs from Charles and Betty Smith of CareMed, and now they need eight more to replace the old chairs.

Chanel Giddens with Sacred Heart said some of the chairs are 10 to 12 years old and came from the Opp location.

“It’s very difficult for the nurses to use the chairs, sometimes,” Giddens said. “We’re afraid they may become unsafe, and we don’t want hand-me-downs; we want new chairs for our patients.”

Giddens said the staff just wants to look out for the comfort of their patients.

The idea for the benefit was discussed among the Sacred Heart staff and when Fowler heard of their plan, Giddens said he stepped up and took action.

“He’s a huge inspiration to the other patients here,” Giddens said. “We’re so privileged that he has allowed us to take care of him. Our cancer patients are always so thankful and giving.”

The benefit was established to raise money to help purchase the new chairs, which can cost up to $2,500 each.

The chairs will have heaters in the seat for patients who become cold/cool during the process, and will be easier to clean and adjust.

“There is no sense in having to sit up there all day long and not being able to comfortably get in and out,” Fowler said.

The benefit is scheduled for tomorrow, Sat., Nov. 1, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Robinson Park, and will include many ways for people to help the group raise money.

Vendors with jewelry, T-shirts, Avon and food, including barbecue plates, will be present, and all of these vendors will be supporting the benefit.

Live music from multiple local bands, including Gene Griggs, is planned

“I expect that everyone will come out and enjoy it,” Hudson said. “That’s what part of this is about. It’s just a means of communicating with each other.”

Giddens said she and the staff at Sacred Heart are very excited for the community to get involved.