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President, VCS Cancer Foundation

Updated: May 22, 2019

Almost all of us know someone who has been diagnosed with cancer, whether it be ourselves, a family member or a friend. My own family has been touched by cancer several times, and I’ve lost several friends and loved ones to this horrible disease. Dealing with a cancer diagnosis is challenging on many levels. There is a rush of emotions as patients and their loved ones experience fear, anger, and sadness while grappling with this devastating news. There are worries about what the future holds, and how this will affect the family. While living with this anxiety, cancer patients endure treatments (and their accompanying side effects) which can be both physically and emotionally draining. If that isn’t enough, many face yet another challenge associated with their disease: how will I pay for my treatment and still manage my everyday living expenses?

Treating cancer is expensive. Even for those with “good” insurance, there are copays, deductibles and many out-of-pocket expenses that can put a strain on a family’s finances. For some, the challenge of treatment-related expenses is so burdensome that they must make choices about which bills to pay on time and which must wait. Imagine having to worry about paying your rent or electric bill while enduring chemotherapy treatments and worrying about whether you will be around to celebrate some future family milestones. It is another source of stress heaped on to an already unimaginable pile.

The VCS Cancer Foundation was founded to help cancer patients in Northern Virginia who are facing this struggle. We provide financial assistance for non-medical expenses while patients are receiving active treatment. We help with housing, utility, food and gas expenses so that cancer patients can have one less thing to worry about. We want them to focus on their treatment and recovery, not their overdue electric bill. Our goal is to provide some relief so their stress pile becomes more manageable.

My family and friends have been fortunate to escape the financial toxicity associated with cancer, but I know there are many who cannot. That is why I am proud to be a part of this charitable organization supporting cancer patients at a time when they need it most.

Joan Spira

President, VCS Cancer Foundation

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