Cancer Resources for Elkhart County History
Cancer Resources for Elkhart County (CR) is a private, not-for-profit agency started in Indiana in 1958. Throughout the agency’s history, CR’s mission has been to help Elkhart County area residents in their fight against cancer.
Formerly the Cancer Society of Elkhart County, CR was originally a chapter of the American Cancer Society, as were most cancer societies of the 1940’s and 1950’s. Many societies were approved to receive funds from the United Fund (forerunner of the United Way). In the fifties, the local United Fund did not want to send money out of Elkhart County to a national center, so a faction of the Elkhart Cancer Society chose to withdraw from the American Cancer Society and incorporate as an independent agency. During the years, the two organizations have continued to cooperate with each other, but the different focus of our missions have kept us as separate entities.
The focus of CR has changed over the years. During the fifties, only 25% of cancer patients survived, so early detection was vital, and surgery was basically the only treatment option available. Early use of radiation and chemotherapy were beginning to show promise, and the agency invested the majority of its resources in funding local research in these budding treatments.
In the sixties, CR funded a scholarship program for students who were focusing their studies in the field of health care. In the early seventies when better treatments became available, CR began directing more resources toward patient assistance and less toward research. The agency established a motor pool to transport patients to treatment centers in South Bend and the first Women’s Screening Clinic was offered. By this time, one-third of all cancer patents were winning their fight. The Goshen and Elkhart offices were consolidated in Dunlap, where they are still located today. The official name was changed to United Cancer Services of Elkhart County, Inc. in 1986. Patient services has been the number one priority for CR ever since.
In the 1990’s the agency provided over $345,000 in direct financial aid. From the year 2000 to early 2009, CR directed over $1.7 million to programming services to cancer patients. From 2010 to 2017, CR dedicated over $2.2 million to programming. During the early turn of the century, CR began its Journey Through Treatment program. This program was dedicated to changing a cancer patients’ paradigm from one of being a passive recipient of health care to a proactive planner for their time in treatment. Increasing medical technology has generated much improved survival rates, but has come at a tremendous cost. Health care costs in the 2000’s are rising at four and five times the average inflation rate and cancer treatment leads the cost rise. Now, the largest portion of CR clients are people who are working and have health insurance. However, most cannot work during treatment, and the dramatic rise of health care costs has forced employers to steadily reduce the health insurance coverage and disability benefits that they offer to their employees. The result of these trends is that a much greater portion of cancer patients may survive the disease, but face financial ruin because of it. CR’s program is working to help patients have more active role in their treatment, for the benefit of their healing and for the benefit of their lives when they reach remission.
In March 2018, the agency name was changed to Cancer Resources for Elkhart County in hopes of better communicating our grass roots founding and mission that focuses on helping local cancer patients.
To learn more about us or how you can help your neighbors in need contact us.