Jamie Newell, MSW, LCSW
Komak has been in invaluable resource for our most vulnerable cancer patients. These are patients who have to miss work due to illness and treatment and do not have savings or resources available to help meet their basic needs for survival - housing, food, bills, etc. Often these patients do not have access to disability pay. Sometimes their citizenship status prevents them from accessing other resources to ensure their safety and wellbeing. Komak has truly been a lifesaver - providing financial assistance during cancer treatment when there are often no other resources available to help. They have prevented evictions and ensured that people are able to get their needs met in order to successfully complete treatment. They serve our community with compassion, dedication and vital assistance. We social workers are incredibly grateful to be able to offer them as a resource (often the only resource)!
Nora Larson MSW, LCSW, LICSWA
As an oncology social worker, I have witnessed Komak offer crucial support to numerous patients in need of temporary financial support while they endure lost income due to cancer treatments. Komak’s service in the community is critical and immensely appreciated by the local community of oncology care providers and patients alike! I am so grateful to know that I can refer patients to Komak for help during such an uncertain and challenging time, as they navigate a cancer diagnosis and financial distress.
Christen Skolnick, LCSW, OSW-C
Please consider Komak for any available grant funding, as they are an invaluable organization and partner in the community for our patients. I've personally seen dozens of patients avoid homelessness and eviction due to their help during treatment, while unable to work. Komak takes some of the financial burden experienced during cancer treatment, allowing patients to focus on their health and wellness during this stressful time.
Christen Skolnick, LCSW, OSW-c OHSU Oncology Social Worker
Andrea Lehman, MSW, LCSW, OSW-C
September 7, 2021
To Whom It May Concern:
I eagerly and enthusiastically write this letter of support on behalf of the Komak Cares organization. Komak has been an incredible gift to our oncology patients and our community as a whole by providing financial assistance to oncology patients who can no longer work due to their diagnosis. There was a missing element in our ability as oncology social workers to help support people during times of unpaid leave or decreased incomes from cancer and cancer treatment. Komak Cares recognized this need and was designed to fill this void in our local community. They have done so beautifully.
I can recite hundreds of stories of patients that do not know how they will pay their bills on short term disability benefits or patients who do not have benefits on which to draw, yet need financial assistance to maintain their homes and provide for their families. Patients who have worked their whole lives and suddenly find themselves waiting 5 months before they are able to begin receiving their Social Security Disability benefits. The young mother of 3 who lost her job due to missing work for medical appointments and treatments, who would become homeless with her children without the assistance of Komak. The older Lymphoma patient who was self-employed as a private investigator and exhausted his savings while going through treatment, but was able to remain housed with Komak’s assistance. The young man with a rare cancer who recently moved to Oregon to be with his fiancée – now both are unable to work due to his care needs. Komak Cares has offered help in all of these situations and many more. Komak Cares has consistently been available to assist our patients in bridging this short-term need to prevent catastrophic outcomes. The organization directly benefits OHSU patients and the money they raise remains in our local community.
Komak Cares is also very thoughtful and thorough in their evaluation and assessment of needs. They work with families to try to identify other options for assistance and review the financial needs of each patient/family, including supporting documentation of the need. They do this to ensure that they can assist as many patients as possible in the most responsible way available.
There are few organizations as deserving of funding as this one. Thank you for your consideration.
Andrea Lehman, MSW, LCSW, OSW-C Oncology Social Worker OHSU Knight Cancer Institute – Community Hematology Oncology
Susan Hedlund, LCSW, FAOSW
My name is Michele and I just wanted to say that Komak was such a huge blessing in our lives at a time when I was going through my cancer journey. I had to stop working and my husband was out of work as well. They covered several of our bills and just took that burden off of our shoulders so we could focus on getting me healthier.
In a matter of weeks after the cancer diagnoses it was a whirlwind of doctors, ultrasounds, surgeries and pain. It was all so overwhelming and frightening. Once Komak was made aware of our situation, the support and financial assistance was timely, and their knowledge was so beneficial. They came to our aid like protective angels and organized everything for us! I honestly don’t know what we would have done without them. We will be forever grateful.
I wanted to say thank you for the help the program has given me and my family. Financial help from paying rent to helping us with our utilities.
I’m down from being able to work due to my cancer, the program has helped with the pressure of not getting through this alone.
From our Familia, thank you for all the help and support.
Without assistance from Komak, I don’t know where we would be. Rosemary and her associates worked with us closely to ensure that our financial needs were cared for. This helped me to focus on healing and not worrying about how we were going to pay our bills. Even after things started to get better, Rosemary would check in regularly to make sure we were ok. My wife and I will be forever grateful for the support Komak provided.
Komak has been very helpful and the process is easy. It is hard enough to go through the treatments. It is overwhelming and the last thing you want to think about is money. They come to your home and make you feel safe. They are very caring people who go out of their way to help.
Tom, Edith, Laia & Kyla
While focused on healing, the constant shadow that followed me was the mounting debt that my situation has caused. I have been on disability since October, which has cut my earnings by over 60%. That, combined with the hefty medical bills as well as the regular bills that keep us afloat have had a devastating impact on our financial stability. I was referred to Komak by the Social Worker at my Oncologists office. The timing of this support was so critical to me and my family’s staying afloat for a few months while I continued to recover. My wife and I cried with the news, such a relief it was.
We are so grateful for the work of Komak to relieve the financial burdens of Portland-area families struck by the dreaded cancer. I have never had a more difficult and challenging year, to be sure. But at the same time, friends, family, and strangers have combined to affirm the goodness and compassion that is there, and we have been incredibly moved and inspired. Komak has been a big part of our support and we cannot thank you enough!