Any cancer patient will tell you, the support you receive during your cancer journey is critical. “It’s everything,” said Jennifer Herrington, breast cancer survivor.
Herrington was diagnosed with breast cancer two years ago. “It was really hard to ask or even accept help in the beginning. But the love and support you feel and your family feels, it’s unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. People come out of the woodwork to help you. You don’t realize how much you need it until you’re in the situation,” Herrington said.
Susan Henke-Miller, also a breast cancer survivor, couldn’t agree more, “Every week my parents hosted a rosary, friends planted flowers, meals were delivered regularly. During my cancer treatment, when things got hard I fell back on that.”
Miller was diagnosed in 1999. She had two little girls then, one was two years old, the other three. “It was difficult, I couldn’t even pick up my girls... I don’t know how people do it without a support system; that’s what got me through it,” she said.
Both these women will tell you although every cancer journey is a little different, when you are fighting cancer, support is imperative.
Jamie’s Wish Foundation is dedicated to helping patients in a unique way. The foundation raises money exclusively to renovate outdated and uncomfortable infusion suites. “No matter what type of cancer you have, patients sit in infusion chairs for hours on end for treatment. If you are in an environment that does not feel healing, we believe you can’t fight cancer with everything you’ve got,” Aimee Jackson Chadwick, Founder of Jamie’s Wish Foundation said.
Jamie’s Wish Foundation was started in honor of Jamie Barkes Pursley. Jamie died of breast cancer in March of 2011. She was only 35; she was one of Chadwick’s best friends. “Jamie was such a special person. In the last few weeks she was with us, she told a group of her closest friends that she wanted us to renovate the infusion area where she was getting her cancer care. It was an outdated, uncomfortable area. Jamie knew her journey had come to an end, but she knew, unfortunately that others would come behind her. It was quintessential Jamie, always thinking of others,” a tearful Chadwick recalls.
Immediately after Jamie’s death, a group of determined women met with the hospital administrators at Lawrence Memorial Hospital in Lawrence, KS which is where Jamie received her cancer care. “We knew we had to make Jamie’s last wish a reality,” Kelli Alldredge, Co-Founder and Vice President of Jamie’s Wish Foundation said. “We had to raise the money to make the infusion area more comfortable for patients and their loved ones, just like Jamie wanted and that was that.”
Alldredge and Chadwick rallied friends, family, co-workers, community leaders, sports figures; anyone who was willing to roll up their sleeves and help. The group raised more than $150,000 in three months. The money was raised so fast, even they were taken aback, “We knew to raise that kind of money that fast, we had to have an angel moving mountains. We could feel Jamie’s presence every step of the way,” Chadwick said.
Exactly one year and one day of Jamie’s passing, the infusion area in the oncology center at Lawrence Memorial Hospital was fully renovated, fulfilling Jamie’s last wish. Alldredge smiles at the thought of it, “Jamie’s legacy of helping others lives for many, many years to come.”
Jamie’s Wish Foundation has set out on another mission. This time at the request of the late Andy Tyhurst. Andy died of appendix cancer in July 2017. He was only 43 years old. “Andy heard about Jamie’s Wish Foundation and reached out to us about renovating the infusion area where he received treatment,” Chadwick said. “Just like Jamie, he too had such a big heart, always thinking about others.”
Andy received his cancer care at The University of Kansas Cancer Center North location. Jamie’s Wish started its fundraising efforts a year ago and has raised approximately $200,000 to date. The foundation needs to raise over half million dollars to fully renovate the infusion area per Andy’s request.
Andy was interviewed by Jamie’s Wish Foundation a week before his passing and asked people to please consider donating because, in his words, “By enhancing the cancer center environment, you will be putting smiles on otherwise dreary faces.”
Andy told Chadwick he wanted the infusion area to be updated with a spa like feel and to include private rooms in case patients didn’t want to sit with a large group of people getting infusions. “Just like for Jamie’s project, we will work tirelessly until all the money is raised and the project is complete,” Chadwick said.
Jamie’s Wish Foundation has its biggest fundraiser on January 12, 2019 at Chicken N Pickle in North Kansas City, MO. It’s an annual pickleball tournament that draws hundreds of people and includes players from Sporting Kansas City as well as KMBC-TV news anchor, Lara Moritz. The public is welcome to play. Sign-up begins late October and limited tickets are available for purchase online at JamiesWish.org or ChickenNPickle.com.
“Support comes in so many ways. We are proud to honor Jamie and Andy in this capacity as well as help other cancer patients feel more comfortable as they receive infusions, fighting this terrible disease,” Chadwick said.
Jamie’s Wish Foundation is completely volunteer based and accepts donations online at JamiesWish.org.
For more information on Jamie’s Wish Foundation, please contact Jamie Borgman, Media Relations Coordinator at 913.568.8221 or email@example.com