New Day Foundation seeks to help more West Michigan Families dealing with cancer

Collaborator: Rachael Schuit
Published: 05/25/2023, 6:01 PM
Edited: 05/26/2023, 6:11 PM

(GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.) Hearing the words, "you have cancer" can be one of the most stressful experiences of a person's life.

But for many patients and their families, that's just the beginning of a process that is stressful physically, emotionally, and financially as they work to figure out a treatment plan. 

The New Day Foundation for Families, based in Southeast Michigan, now hopes to reach more West Michigan families going through a cancer diagnosis.

New Day is working with Bold Advanced Medical Future (BAMF Health) in Grand Rapids to make cancer diagnoses easier. 

On Thursday, May 18, New Day hosted two open house events at BAMF Health to invite the community to learn about New Day's Mission and interact with New Day staff members. 

"We have always served West Michigan Health Centers and their families but now we are making moves to make our presence greater in the area so we can reach more people in need," said Cheryl Warstler, the Programs Manager for the New Day Foundation. 

With New Day's growing presence in West Michigan, there has been a $750,000 investment in programs that help cancer patients, caregivers, spouses, and their children in the West Michigan region. 

Financial assistance from organizations like New Day is key in helping cancer patients get the treatment they need. 

"We've had a lot of people say I'm going to delay surgery or treatment for six months so they can save up money for bills and the doctors are telling them how critical it is to start treatment immediately.” said Warstler. "New Day is there to step in and help relieve the financial stressors of everyday living expenses when starting cancer treatment.  It is extremely hard to afford to pay everyday bills when they have to reduce their hours at work or stop working altogether for treatment." 

Those bills include things like rent, mortgage, groceries, or a car payment.

According to New Day, bankruptcy rates are 260 percent higher for families with a cancer survivor compared to families without cancer. 

Emotional support for cancer patients and their families is also another critical component. 

New Day has an emotional support program in place where families and patients are able to see patients and families virtually or in person without having to worry about the cost. 

"You don't have to go through it alone," said Warstler. "A lot of people don't want to talk to their spouse about their diagnosis because they don't want to burden them. But they need to talk to somebody or they have questions, how do I talk to my children about this, how do I tell my children. It's a totally new environment for these people." 

Making sure families have groceries in the pantry and gas to get to treatments and appointments is also important. 

"We have a grocery program that allows us to help people," said Warstler. "Just a little bit of help goes a long way in the grocery department. We've had families say it feels so good to have food on the shelves because they cannot afford to have a full pantry when they are not working.  

New Day also partners with other organizations to help fill gaps when needed. 

"We have many partners," said Warstler. "If the need is greater than what we can do on our own, we will often reach out to other organizations that will also assist the family.   We work together to support the families most impacted by their diagnosis and treatment. 

Money raised in the West Michigan region stays in the region to help West Michigan families get the support they need. 

If you would like to learn more about the mission or the New Day foundation for Families or donate your time and money to the cause you can find information on their website. 


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