Chicken salad is her favorite but sometimes she craves a cheeseburger. Thanks to Skaggs Foundation’s cancer center meal program, on the days of her transfusion, Hurst is able to order her favorite food from Cox Medical Center Branson’s cafeteria and at lunchtime, it’s delivered directly to her in the cancer center – and all free of charge.
“I think this is nice,” Hurst said shortly after placing her lunch order one Friday.
Hurst has gastric antral vascular ectasia (GAVE) syndrome and as a result, suffers from significant blood loss. Her weekly blood transfusions at the cancer center can take as long as four to five hours, confining her to the cancer center for the entirety of the treatment. Hurst’s daughter, Jan Scantlin, often brings her to the weekly appointments and thanks to the meal program, Scantlin never has to leave her mother’s side. Scantlin can pay for a meal and have it delivered at the same time as her mother’s.
“Historically, those receiving treatments experience poor appetites, taste changes and reduced oral intake,” explained Cancer Center Assistant Nurse Manager Jamille Twedt, RN, OCN. “When they enjoy a meal during treatment, they visit with their loved ones or fellow patients and tend to eat more.”
“It’s great,” Scantlin said. “I can stay here with her the entire time and never have to leave her side. Since she’s losing blood, it’s important she keeps up her nutrition.”
“This means a lot to have my kids with me during my treatments,” Hurst added as lunch arrived.
On average, Skaggs Foundation provides free lunch for 10 patients a day undergoing long treatments, ensuring patients confined to the cancer center never miss a meal and never have to be separated from their loved ones during that time.
“It’s only through the generosity of our supporters that this important meal program is possible,” said Skaggs Foundation President Meghan Connell.
Cancer Center Director Ben Morris explained that the program began several years ago out of need.
“The foundation is gracious enough to provide these meals so that patients and their families have one less thing to worry about,” Morris said.
If you are interested in supporting the health and wellness efforts of Skaggs Foundation, including the cancer center patient meal program, text “Skaggs” to 41444, visit SkaggsFoundation.org or call 417-348-8998.