MIDLAND, Texas — It's unfortunate, but many of you have probably been touched by cancer in one way or another.
For those diagnosed with it, it's a heartbreaking thing to go through. It's hard physically, emotionally and financially.
But there is one group in Midland who is helping lift that burden for cancer patients and give them hope.
Permian Basin Gifts of Hope provides a cancer support group to those in the area who have been diagnosed.
Family: that's what this cancer support group means to Meredith Greenwood-Brown.
"It helps because you don't sit around and go ‘Boo hoo! I've got cancer.’ You sit there and you talk about everything. Family, state of the union, gardening. You know, oh listen I tried this and it really made me feel better, you want to try that," said Meredith.
The group meets at Hope House in Midland run by Permian Basin Gifts of Hope.This camaraderie and these friendships mean a lot to the group.
Meredith has been turned away for this type of support before in another city, all because she had stage four metastatic endometrial cancer. That means the cancer has spread in her body.
It took some coaxing to get her here by her sister and by Gifts of Hope.
"I didn't want to go in and they say ‘Oh no! You're stage four metastatic. You can't come here. You'll depress everybody.’ I am not the only stage 4 metastatic here and there are three other women in Texas who have my cancer who are still going. One of them has lived nine years. So I like to hear that,” Meredith said.
It's that laughter and hope that Gifts of Hope offers to their clients.
"After the cancer treatments are over or even while they're happening, there is so much going on with the emotional side of life. So we offer different support groups to try and address what needs the patient might be having,” Executive Director Clint Dickson said.
They also offer patients a free place to stay for treatment, and if they don't rest their heads there, they can get free gas cards and taxis to go to treatment.
"I think it's important to offer that, to offer peace of mind, because when you receive that phone call the last thing you want to think about is where am I going to stay? How am I going to get there?" Dickson said.
Permian Basin Gifts of Hope also helps pay for things like pricey prescriptions and scans.
“There is no aspect of cancer treatment that is inexpensive and so our goal is to do as much as we can financially to lift that burden off of our clients' shoulders,” Dickson said.
Meredith knows that all too well. The former teacher couldn't keep working, and her teacher's retirement insurance couldn't cover it all.
"I couldn't afford to pay my rent and my cancer bill and so I came here. This is where my sister and brother in law live. They had an extra bedroom and I was so broke I got to town with 40 dollars,” Meredith said.
It's here she finds hope, support, and friendship, and that's what Gifts of Hope is all about.
"A place where they can feel at home, to have a sense of peace and to have a place where they know people care about them,” Dickson said.
For more information on Permian Basin Gifts of Hope including the services they offer and how to donate, click or tap here.