Needs Beyond Medicine reduces financial stress for cancer patientsOct 31, 2022 09:25AM ● By Peri Kinder
Heidi Jo Taylor (left) and Annette Page are cancer survivors who volunteer with Needs Beyond Medicine. Courtesy of Chad Hurst
A cancer diagnosis brings up so much uncertainty. Along with the emotional and physical fears of possible surgery and treatment, cancer takes a financial toll on patients as well. Many patients miss work and people in rural areas might have to travel to get the chemotherapy or radiation procedures they need.
That’s where Needs Beyond Medicine steps in. The organization was founded by Philip Brown in 2006, and expanded to a 501c3 in 2009. It offers living expense grants to cancer patients who need help paying for food, bills and transportation. The goal is to alleviate some of the stress that accompanies a cancer diagnosis.
“I don’t think people realize the toll [cancer] takes, along with everything else you’re dealing with in your life,” Brown said. “We help current cancer patients with non-medical costs. That includes transportation, groceries, rent or anything considered non-medical. We also do education outreach.”
A longtime advocate for cancer education, early detection and care, Brown has his own connection to the disease. His mother passed away in 1996 after an 18-month-long battle with ovarian cancer. His mission is to raise awareness about cancer screenings in the hope more lives can be saved.
The concept for Needs Beyond Medicine started when Brown was going to school to earn his bachelor’s degree. He got an internship working with doctors, nurses and social workers who created a task force to help cancer patients. Brown eventually took it over and has helped nearly 2,000 people with the nonprofit’s relief program.
Because the group is not aligned with any specific hospital or provider, people across the state are eligible for its services. Patients are usually referred to Needs Beyond Medicine by a social worker who knows what the individual is going through.
“We’re Utah-based and cover the whole state. I think people don’t realize we help a lot of people in the rural towns who have to travel a few hours a day to get treatment,” Brown said. “We can work with all the cancer programs in the state, which is unique, so we’re able to help all the patients.”
On Friday, Nov. 4, Needs Beyond Medicine will hold its annual canSURVIVE gala at the Cottonwood Country Club (1780 Lakewood Dr.) in Holladay, from 5-9:30 p.m. The fundraising event lets cancer survivors tell their stories and helps raise money for the organization with a raffle and silent auction. All proceeds go to help Utah cancer patients with living expenses.
Needs Beyond Medicine helps an average of 15 people each month as they go through their cancer journey. For information about sponsoring the canSURIVE gala or to donate items for the raffle and silent auction, email Brown at [email protected] To learn more about the relief program, visit needsbeyondmedicine.org.
“It’s shocking that each year we’ve done this, we’ve made a profit. Even the first one, which is kind of mind-boggling. I’ve been told if you’re making money, you should keep doing what you’re doing,” Brown said. “It’s a public event and we just accept donations at the door.”λ