Ticket to Ride proceeds going to cancer-care services

Grand Island, Neb. — When Janelle Armstrong learned of her cancer diagnosis last June, the news was obviously a jolt. “It comes out of the blue — you can never anticipate something like that — and you’re not sure how you’re going to deal with any of it,” Armstrong said. “The doctors at the Saint Francis Cancer Treatment Center are phenomenal, the nurses are great and they do what they can to keep you comfortable and reassure you, but it’s still a life-changing experience.”

Soon after her diagnosis, Armstrong received even more unpleasant news. The married mother of two learned that each of her six chemotherapy treatments over a 12-week span would last nearly eight hours. Armstrong was able to be in a hospital bed for her first chemo session, which she said was relatively comfortable. However, her subsequent treatments took place in a recliner-type chair in a smaller cubicle space, which she said was much more difficult.“I found myself asking for pillows and asking for blankets so that I could get comfortable to try and endure the length of the treatment,” Armstrong said. “It definitely made a difference.”

Armstrong’s experience was one of the major reasons why the Saint Francis Medical Center Foundation decided that all proceeds from this year’s Ticket to Ride raffle will go toward funding of cancer-care services at the Saint Francis Cancer Treatment Center. Part of improving the cancer-care services will be the purchase of infusion chairs that are designed to help keep patients comfortable during long chemotherapy sessions. The chairs will allow the patient to lie flat, if they so desire, and contain several other features, including a DVD player and ports to plug in a computer or iPad, to help time pass more quickly.“It also has fold-out tables, so the patient can have anything that they would like to have near them during the treatment,” said Claire Aguilar, Saint Francis Foundation director. “Sometimes they bring in some food or drink or just something that might help take their mind off of what they’re going through. “What we’ve found is that the arms are much wider than a regular recliner and this allows for more comfort as they’re trying to stretch their arms out.”

Aguilar said the infusion chairs are all leather, which allows them to be sanitized after being used by each patient. The Foundation’s Ticket to Ride drawing will be at 6 p.m. on Thursday, May 24, at Tom Dinsdale Automotive with a live radio remote broadcast provided by 107.7 FM “The Island.” The grand-prize winner will have their choice of six vehicles from Dinsdale Automotive or $15,000 cash. Tickets cost $100 each and are on sale at the Saint Francis Foundation and Main ACC at Saint Francis Medical Center until 4 p.m. on Thursday. Tickets will still be available at Tom Dinsdale Automotive until the drawing at 6 p.m. Each ticket-buyer will have nine chances to win a prize. Only 999 tickets can be sold.

The vehicle choices include:A 2012 Chevy Cruze, 2012 GMC Terrain, 2012 GMC Colorado, 2012 Chevy Sonic, 2012 Hyundai Sonata and 2012 Hyundai Elantra.

In addition, there will be eight subsequent prizes that will be drawn that will have a value of $500. They include two $500 Visa cards donated by Five Points Bank; a $500 Visa card donated by The Midland Group; a $500 Visa card donated by Arby’s of Grand Island; a $500 Visa card donated by O’Connor Enterprises, Inc.; a $500 Visa card donated by H&H Distributing; a $500 gas card donated by Tom and Sue Pirnie; and a $500 gift card to Super Saver donated by Super Saver.

Armstrong, whose last chemo treatment was in October 2011, said she has received a clean bill of health and has become passionate about raising awareness and funds for cancer-care services.

“My checkups have been great,” Armstrong said. “I’m a seven-month survivor, taking it day by day.”

About Saint Francis Medical Center

Saint Francis Medical Center is a nonprofit faith-based hospital serving Central Nebraska with state-of-the-art healthcare services. A new patient tower was completed in 2007 with 159 acute-care patient rooms, including the Family Birthing Center, Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Intensive Care Unit and a 10-bed inpatient rehabilitation unit. Saint Francis also operates a Cancer Treatment Center in Grand Island and Hastings, a Skilled Care Unit and an alcohol and drug treatment center.

About Catholic Health Initiatives

Saint Francis Medical Center is part of Catholic Health Initiatives (CHI), a national nonprofit health organization with headquarters in Englewood, Colo. The faith-based system operates in 19 states and includes 73 hospitals; 40 long-term care, assisted- and residential-living facilities; two community health-services organizations; two accredited nursing colleges; and home health agencies. In fiscal year 2011, CHI provided more than $612 million in charity care and community benefit, including services for the poor, free clinics, education and research. With annual operating revenues of approximately $9.6 billion, CHI is the nation's third-largest Catholic health care system.