“You’ll never know how much Carol helped me,” shares Doug. “I would have missed a bunch of radiation sessions without her.”

Lending a hand with finances

Doug Louka Hampton Roads Throat Cancer

Doug Loucka wanted to be a compliant patient after he learned that he had throat cancer, but he faced a tough challenge: His mobilized chair, made necessary after a fall from a tree at work, made it difficult to travel to radiation and chemotherapy appointments, especially when the weather was bad. Plus, the 54-year-old Virginia Beach resident lives far from family, so no one was available to provide rides, and medical bills were eating up his budget.

Fortunately, a Sentara Healthcare patient navigator took action.

"It’s amazing how many people struggle financially, especially when a devastating disease doesn’t allow them to earn their usual income. Many can't afford the medications or the nutritional supplements they need," explains Carol Hodies, RN, a patient navigator who manages the Sentara Cancer Network Mission Funds "Many wait up to six months before disability or Medicaid is approved. The fund allows us to assist them while they wait."

Cancer navigators are with you from diagnosis to recovery, they are there to help guide you through the process and provide the answers and support, Carol says.

Carol arranged transportation for Doug to Sentara Virginia Beach General Hospital for treatments. She also provided him with proper nutrition to help him regain weight he had unintentionally lost. Each year, she and other patient navigators within the Sentara Cancer Network identify and assist more than 1,000 patients who have similar physical, psychosocial and financial barriers to accessing care. 

"You’ll never know how much Carol helped me," shares Doug. "I would have missed a bunch of radiation sessions without her help, and that’s not something you want to do. I was also so thankful when she asked what flavor supplement I wanted. Without it, I’m a firm believer I wouldn’t be doing as well."

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