Breast cancer ‘thriver’ offers practical comfort to other patients

Rhonda Cash has breast cancer – she practices self-care by giving back to her community and sharing comforting gifts with patients going through treatment.

Rhonda Cash calls herself a breast cancer “thriver.” She practices self-care by giving back to her community and shares comforting gifts with cancer patients going through treatment.

“I want other cancer patients to be as blessed as I am. I want them to have that little something special that they can use more than once,” Rhonda said.

It started when Rhonda’s sister was diagnosed with breast cancer over ten years ago.

Chemotherapy, radiation therapy or surgery can leave skin hypersensitive, especially in the breast areas. Rhonda’s mother made flannel washcloths that were very gentle on her sister’s skin.

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Her sister shared the washcloths with other patients, who found them helpful during chemotherapy and radiation.

The family was surprised at how this simple gift was treasured and used by others. Now Rhonda’s mother handcrafts the cloths as well as cheerful, soft pillows for use after surgery. Rhonda brings them to the Norton Cancer Institute Cancer Resource Centers, where they are given to patients going through cancer treatment.

Rhonda also consults with other organizations that provide gifts to patients. She offers suggestions on items patients will find helpful such as mints, crosswords, seek-and-find puzzles and lip balm.

When asked what the biggest change in her journey has been over the years, she didn’t have to think for long – her answer was immunotherapy. Rhonda recently completed her immunotherapy at Norton Cancer Institute – Brownsboro. Immunotherapy was still experimental and in research at the time her sister was treated.

“I am so blessed with the whole Norton Cancer Institute staff. They are absolutely fantastic. Fantastic. There is not one person I have met who is not friendly, compassionate and kind. It’s been kind of wonderful. That is why I feel like I want to give back to other patients.”

Karen A. Allen, BSN, R.N., OCN, is an oncology patient navigator for Norton Cancer Institute.

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