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Angel Tree Gift Helps Patient Repair Dryer, Install Handrail

JoAnn Nachtman has been without a working clothes dryer for three years. St. Luke’s Cancer Services’ Angel Tree program helped her pay for repairs and install a handrail on the steps leading to her front door.

“The outlet to my dryer overheated and I couldn’t plug my dryer in,” said Nachtman, who’s been coming to the Helen G. Nassif Community Cancer Center since she was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2013. “They paid for someone to come repair it.”

The Angel Tree Program is a joint project among the teams within St. Luke’s Cancer Services division. This includes the Community Cancer Center, St. Luke’s Radiation Center, St. Luke’s Breast and Bone Health and PCI Hematology and Oncology. More than 80 team members come together to raise money throughout the year to support about 40 patients and their families during the holidays.

“The Angel Tree started in 2012 with a small group of six team members and has exponentially grown in size, yet our reason for doing the project remains the same,” said Matt Schmitz, Integrative Wellness program manager and cancer exercise specialist at the Community Cancer Center. “Seeing how our acts of giving greatly affect the lives of our patients is a gift to all of us.”

It was certainly a gift to JoAnn, who also received a gift card to pay for the installation of a handrail on the stairs leading to her front door. “God has blessed me this holiday season,” she said. “I’m so very grateful for the support this team provided.”

About the Angel Tree:

  • It started in 2012 with a group of about 6 team members “adopting” 3-4 cancer patients and their families for Christmas.
  • Since then, it has grown into a joint project among the entire Cancer Services division with 80+ team members raising money throughout the year to assist 40+ patients and their families.
  • These patients are asked to provide a wish list of three gifts they and/or a family member wants for Christmas. The wish list items are then turned into 120+ gift tags on three different Christmas trees.
  • Staff give of themselves by spending countless hours doing the fundraising throughout the year, organizing the wish list process, wrapping presents, as well as buying the some of the gifts themselves.

“Every year we hear at least one patient say if it wasn’t for the Angel Tree they don’t know how they would get their kids something for Christmas,” said Nancy Yeisley, oncology social worker at the Community Cancer Center.


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