b'10 CONCORD HOSPITAL TRUSTLend Me a Hand FundCaringTRADITIONSOne Saturday morning in 2004, Janehundreds of cancer patients with out- dinner that would not have been Skoog was walking with her husband,of-pocket expensesfrom mealspossible without financial assistance, Bob, in downtown Concord, distractedto transportationfor nearly twowhile a young mother with terminal by a conversation shed had with adecades. Over the years, Jane andbreast cancer received help to make patient the previous day.others, including Performers Who CareChristmas special for her child. The fund The young woman shared with Jane,member Gerri King, have solicitedroutinely accepts contributions from a nurse at New Hampshire Oncologydonations of time, performance spacegrateful family members in memory and Hematology (NHOH), that if sheand money from local businesses andof their loved ones.paid for the medication the doctorindividuals to ensure that dollars raisedI saw firsthand how valuable the fund had prescribed to combat the nauseafrom the biennial shows go directly tois when I was working at NHOH, Skoog caused by her cancer treatment, shethe fund. says. I saw countless patients receive would be unable to afford groceries forSince 2005, Lend Me a Hand hasmoney to buy medications, groceries, her family that week. distributed more than $185,000 togas cards. The relief on peoples This was a young mother goingpatients in need. In the last two yearsfaces was indescribable. When you through active treatment who wasalone, as COVID-19 has exacerbatedare undergoing chemotherapy, not going to need this medication, Skooghardship for many, the Fund has offeredworking, and need to feed your family, recalls. Unfortunately, we had noabout $100,000 in support. Moneythat gift card can mean the world. My samples to give her, so there wasfrom the fund is distributed in smallheart was full watching the Fund help nothing we could do. I was telling myamounts, meaning patients may bethese peopleit was doing exactly husband about this and we agreedhanded a gas card by a social worker orwhat we hoped when we started it.something needed to be done. So, wereceive a monetary gift for a night outThough the arrival of the COVID-19 sat down and started to brainstorm. with family. pandemic temporarily stalled the The Skoogs, who met through theirWhen you give a patient with cancershows staged by Performers Who Care, love of community theater, devisedor that patients family member a $25Skoog says the group plans to continue a plan to gather their artistic friendsgasoline or grocery card, it seemsfundraising efforts with future concerts. together to raise money for patientslike a small thing, explains ConcordThe musicians also have become the in need. Their idea led to the birthHospitals Chief Advancement Officerentertainers of choice for Concord of Performers Who Care, and thePamela Puleo, but for people who canHospitals annual Cancer Survivors Day establishment of the Payson Centersbe so challenged by making ends meet,celebrations, where they donate their Lend Me a Hand Fund.that one small gesture is a big thing. time and their talent.Buoyed by an initial PerformersPuleo notes that patients who receiveWe are so proud of this Fund, Skoog contribution of $25,000 raised fromsupport from the Lend Me a Hand Fundsays. It boggles my mind to think that a musical program called Laughterare eager to share their gratitude. Shea little idea could grow into something is the Best Medicine (held at thesmiles when she thinks of those whothat is helping so many people. I am so Derryfield School in Manchester), thehave benefited from the generosity ofgrateful to our friends, Pam, Concord fund has since received donationsothers. One cancer patient was ableHospital, and so many people over the from countless individuals and assistedto take her husband out for a specialyears who have helped us.'