Not having the technical knowledge for a treatment or cure, he turned to raising money for improved treatments, medications, support efforts and therapies.
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“When a child is diagnosed with cancer, and they have an extended hospital stay, one of the two parents has to stay with the child, and usually they end us losing their salary, which can mean getting behind in normal household expenses. We are a mechanism to improve that for the caregivers. Sometimes we make mortgage payments or utilities, anything that will help the patient and caregiver going through the process of the cancer treatment,” said Mills.
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Typically, patients find the organization through one of the area's local hospitals.
Each potential recipient is evaluated, much like the process of applying for a grant. Years of processing and vetting patients allows them to flow through the process effectively as they know what's involved in patient care.
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“We’ve funded a great research mission at Dayton Children's, the first tissue bank for tumors,” explained Mills. Thanks to this grant, with permission from a child’s parent, a tumor can be safely stored and used for research.
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Other than home finances, therapies and support, the organization also supports transportation needs for patients. Notably, the organization purchased a van for the Pink Ribbon Girls so they could shuttle patients to their appointments.
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“We’re in the process of putting together a program so all patients have transportation to their treatments. Patients often times miss appointments not just because they don’t want to go, but because they don’t have the means,” said Mills.
These days, it’s hard to find anyone who hasn’t been impacted by cancer.
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"We have an extremely benevolent community, a strong and philanthropic community in Dayton and the Miami Valley — that's the only reason we can raise this much money. The people here really care," said Mills.
The Gala of Hope is an invitation-only event, where guests receive their invitation through one of the event'a sponsors. This year, more than 56 organizations supported and sponsored the event.
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“We’re here, we’re impactful, and we truly are changing the face of cancer here in our community,” said Mills.
To learn more and donate to Gala of Hope, visit their website.