Baptist Health and First Coast News Provide Breast Cancer Back Pax
Items provide comfort to newly-diagnosed patients
February 12, 2014 | Jacksonville, FL
The lonely and hopeless look in the eyes of a woman awaiting treatment at Baptist Health’s Hill Breast Center is etched in Lucy Gross-Barlow’s mind.
She felt that same loneliness when she was told just a few years ago that she would need a second surgery to remove cancer from her breast. Her longtime friend, Sharon Crews, was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer about eight years earlier and underwent a mastectomy, chemotherapy and radiation.
Together, the two speech therapists set out to develop a backpack of items to provide comfort and support so women would know what to expect from chemotherapy treatment and not feel alone.
Baptist Health and First Coast News are partnering with Gross-Barlow and Crews to provide newly-diagnosed women who receive chemo treatment in our community with a free Got Your Back Pax and My Chemo Cocktail & Me 5-in-1 treatment guide. The program at Baptist, which will kick off in March, is being funded in part by Baptist Health, Buddy Check donors and First Coast News and the hope is other area hospitals will also get involved.
The Got Your Back Pax is a care package including:
A MP3 player downloaded with custom-guided imagery.
Lemon drops to curb the taste from harsh medicines and ginger drops to help with nausea.
An ice pellet tray to make tiny-sized ice to take away the metal taste.
A soft pink or zebra print blanket to take off the chill that can occur during treatments and an inflatable neck pillow.
Thermo bottle and game book.
A travelling journal and the My Chemo Cocktail & Me 5-in-1 treatment guide.
The 5-in-1 guide provides a compass for the patient during treatment on not only what to expect but acts as an organizer for important medical information, insurance documents and medicine schedules. There is also a Dear Diary section to write down thoughts as well as a section on how to manage various symptoms. Humorous stickers also help lift their spirits.
Christine Granfield, MD, medical director of Breast Imaging for Baptist Health, who has been one of Gross-Barlow’s doctors, said it’s “really a blessing” for Baptist Health to be able to give this care package to women at the start of their treatment.
“It’s a daunting process,” Dr. Granfield said. “The one thing we offer through the Baptist system is a comprehensive approach and care to the patients and the families. This just fits perfectly into that mold. What Sharon and Lucy have done from their hearts is so remarkable. It’s really a wonderful thing to be able to have something to lean on, to have in your hand.”
Jeannie Blaylock, anchor/reporter for First Coast News and co-founder of Buddy Check, said Buddy Check and Baptist Health are proud to offer the Back Pax for free adding, “We hope it will make your journey brighter. Chemotherapy doesn’t need to be a lonely experience.”
Blaylock had this reaction when she first heard about the Back Pax: “I first thought, well, this sounds nice. But when I saw the ideas from survivors Lucy and Sharon, I was thrilled! Clever. Helpful. Funny. Uplifting. Love the super soft blanket for comfort in the chemo chair! (Happy pink or zany zebra pattern—your choice!)
“And the book is chocked full of practical thinking,” she added. “My favorite chapter is, ‘Will you clean my toilet?’ How many times do people say, ‘Just let me know what you need,’ and that’s it. They don’t know how to help. The book includes ‘Act of Service’ cards patients can hand to their friends to request help walking the dog or cleaning the bathroom or something specific.
Linda Allen, Baptist Health director of women’s imaging services, said the backpack of items helps patients to connect, understand and work through their experience as they go through chemotherapy.
“The backpack helps to reduce their anxiety and gives them a more peaceful chemo experience,” Allen said.
Gross-Barlow and Crews wanted to partner with Baptist since Gross-Barlow was a patient at Baptist Health’s Hill Breast Center in 2010 and 2011 driving from her home in St. Marys, Ga. She continues to receive follow-up care at the Hill Breast Center.
“Everybody was just very kind and very supportive of my needs. I fell in love with everybody down there,” she said.
“There are so many great causes out there,” Gross-Barlow added. “Our mission is for that woman who just got that diagnosis and doesn’t know where to turn.”
Crews added, “It’s about her – the woman today who is reaching out to open the door for the first time for her first treatment. We just want to bring her peace in her storm.”
The women receiving treatment will also be giving back. The journal is for women to write advice and words of encouragement. The idea is for women once they complete treatment to in turn “pay it forward” by giving their journal of advice to a friend or other newly-diagnosed woman they may know.
“The impact of one pack is greater than one,” said Crews, of Waycross, Ga. “This pack will link a line of women and build support in the community.”
If people want to donate to help with additional Back Pax -
Make checks payable to: Baptist Health – Buddy Check Project
Mail to: Baptist Health Foundation, 841 Prudential Drive, 13th Floor, Jacksonville, FL 32207
Make an Online Donation
Guidelines to receive a Back Pax:
To be eligible you must be a breast cancer patient starting chemo therapy at any area facility in our community.
Limit one Back Pax per patient.
Patient will need to provide documentation from their physician that they are or recently started chemotherapy as part of treatment for breast cancer.
The bag will be picked up by appointment only from breast care coordinators at Baptist Medical Center Jacksonville, Baptist Medical Center South, Baptist Medical Center Beaches and Baptist Medical Center Nassau.
For questions regarding the Back Pax, call Linda Allen, director of women’s imaging for Baptist Health, at 904.202.1891 or visit www.baptistjax.com
About Baptist Health
Baptist Health is a faith-based, mission-driven system in Northeast Florida comprised of Baptist Medical Center Jacksonville; Baptist Medical Center Beaches; Baptist Medical Center Nassau; Baptist Medical Center South; and Wolfson Children’s Hospital – the region’s only children’s hospital. All Baptist Health hospitals, along with Baptist Home Health Care, have achieved Magnet™ status for excellence in patient care. Baptist Health includes the area’s only dedicated heart hospital; a comprehensive cancer center; orthopaedic institute; women’s services; neurosciences, including neurosurgery and two Joint Commission-certified stroke centers; a Bariatric Center of Excellence; a full range of psychology and psychiatry services; outpatient facilities; urgent care services; and primary and specialty care physicians’ offices throughout Northeast Florida. Recently opened facilities include the J. Wayne and Delores Barr Weaver Tower and Baptist Clay Medical Campus. For more details, visit baptistjax.com.