FORT WORTH -- A cancer diagnosis in 2013 left Fort Worth mom Caren DeSantis reeling -- physically, emotionally, and financially.
"I don’t think anyone can be prepared for it," she says. "I was sick and I hurt, and I was thinking of the bills and a 2-year-old, and would it be cheaper to pay for a funeral?"
She was pulled out of her darkest moment when a therapist recommended she seek out Cancer Care Services of North Texas.
"There’s always something we can do for someone diagnosed with cancer or their family member," says Melanie Wilson, the CEO of the non-profit that operates fully on private donations.
The organization started with one employee in 1946 and has since grown to 23 staff members, most of which are licensed social workers. And for more than 4,500 cancer patients, caretakers and family members in Tarrant, Hood and Parker Counties, it is a Godsend, especially for our most financially vulnerable.
"If someone is unable to afford their treatment, they have no chance of surviving cancer. So we jump in and help pay for health insurance. We will pay for their medications," Wilson says.
And regardless of financial standing, the organization offers services like yoga, counseling and play therapy for children.
The facility sits in the middle of Fort Worth's busy medical district. But you might not have even known it was there. Caren DeSantis says if cancer ever touches your life, it's a place you're going to want to know about.
"They paid for chemo-related drugs," she says. "They took care of what my insurance did not take care of. They paid gas money for radiation."
But beyond that, she says, "it offers more than services. It offers hope."
And in its 70th year, and the 70 to come, their hope is that one day every single person with cancer finds their way through their doors.
Copyright 2016 WFAA