RHI Legacy Foundation is a grant-making organization focused on improving health and wellness for people who live in Rutherford County. During their 2-year history, RHI Legacy Foundation has invested close to $2,000,000 in organizations that address food and nutrition, chronic disease and active lifestyles. In addition to assisting other organizations, the Foundation stepped in to develop new services where they were not available. Funds for grants and new projects originated from the affiliation of Rutherford Regional Health System and Duke Lifepoint Healthcare and from designated gifts that were made to the former Rutherford Hospital Foundation.
One new program is Cancer Services for Rutherford County, a division of RHI Legacy Foundation. Cancer Services has responsibility for initiating and coordinating cancer prevention and screening activities in the county, providing support services for patients undergoing treatment and for serving as the charitable organization to generate charitable gifts for local cancer programs. The Foundation also provides funding for screening mammograms for women without health insurance.
Be Your Own Beautiful is a new class offered to women who experience hair loss or changes in their skin during cancer treatment. Gina Lewis and Sheila Yelton are long-time volunteers who teach women with compromised immune systems how to wear wigs, turbans and scarves and new skin care routines. The women also have an opportunity to share their feelings and concerns with others who are on their cancer journey. The Foundation provides the wigs, cosmetics and other supplies for the program, along with many churches and women’s groups who donate time, supplies and money for this compassionate program. The class meets on the 2nd Monday of each month.
Cancer Services provides emergency funds for cancer patients who live in or are being treated in Rutherford County. Financial assistance applications are available in local physicians’ offices and from the Patient Navigators at Rutherford Regional Health System. Funds and other resources are available to help with basic living expenses and critical needs that result from their illness. During 2016, 29 patients have received assistance and numerous referrals have been made to other agencies who serve people in need.
“Our role as a convener of all organizations that provide cancer care in our community has been so exciting”, explained Jill Miracle, Community Impact Director for the Foundation and the director of Cancer Patient Services. “Rutherford County has always had excellent medical care for cancer patients, but there has been no consortium to organize screenings and prevention services for our residents. We are just beginning to see the results of partnering with the Health Department, Rutherford Health Center, Rutherford Regional Health System, Rutherford Cancer Center and Levine Cancer Institute.” During October, a skin cancer screening will be offered at the Cancer Resource Center of Rutherford Regional Health System. A new billboard will promote screenings and offer prevention tips. These and other initiatives were implemented as result of all the cancer providers having regular discussions about prevention and early detection for Rutherford County.
The Foundation serves as a point of contact for individuals, churches and businesses who wish to contribute to local cancer programs. Forest City Honda, Carolina Chiropractic Plus, and Carolina Insurance are examples of groups who are hosting fundraising activities for the Foundation’s Cancer Services projects during October, and other ideas are welcomed year around. Tips to Toes in Rutherfordton, the Forest City Owls, and the family of Vera McVicker have annual events and many individuals make Legacy Circle gifts designated for Cancer Services.
For information about RHI Legacy Foundation or their Cancer Services initiatives, please call Jill Miracle (828) 203-4630.