In 2009, Samaritan Medical Center CEO Dave Henderson engaged community leader Gay Crawford, a longtime advocate for cancer patients, former Good Samaritan Hospital CEO Bill Piché and oncologist James Cohen, MD in conversations about how to “raise the bar on cancer care” in Silicon Valley. Their discussions pinpointed the lack of easily accessible, independent, non-medical support services for cancer patients and their families and caregivers.
Over the next two years, focus group interviews with more than 200 past and current cancer patients, caregivers, health care providers and representatives of local nonprofit agencies were conducted to ascertain the needs of people whose lives had been touched by cancer.
As a result of these personal experiences and insights, a new nonprofit organization was founded to fill the gap in psycho-social support services in this region. Bill Piché and Gay Crawford were joined by other high profile health care and community leaders on the initial Board of Directors and fundraising efforts for the new venture were started. By November 2011, $1 million had been raised from individuals, foundations and local corporations who invested in the vision of the founders, and the organization was able to begin pilot programs of services that had been ranked high by focus group participants.
In early 2012, Cancer CAREpoint launched a Resource Center with CARE in its name summarizing its free personalized, one-on-one services – Counseling, Assistance, Resources and Education. An expanded Resource Center, almost triple the space of the first suite, opened in 2013.
Cancer CAREpoint has experienced significant growth every year in the number of programs offered, the number of people served, the impact of those services on the quality of life of clients, and the community’s investment in a local organization whose sole purpose is to help all cancer patients in Silicon Valley no matter where they receive medical treatment, what type of cancer they have or their insurance status.
With about 10,000 people in Silicon Valley diagnosed with cancer each year, and thousands more living as cancer survivors, there will always be individuals and families who need emotional, practical, and psychological support to get through one of the most difficult experiences of their lives.
The vision of the early founders is confirmed every day through Cancer CAREpoint client stories and the generous support of donors and the community.