Cancer Association of Pickens County now at Baptist Easley

By Jason Evans
Staff Reporter

EASLEY — Pickens County residents who are battling cancer have a new helping hand in the fight.

Last week, a celebration was held to welcome the new Cancer Association of Pickens County to Baptist Easley Hospital.

The association is a division of the Cancer Society of Greenville County, which was founded 51 years ago as a local nonprofit. The society is not affiliated with the American Cancer Society or any other cancer entity.

Lisa Green is the executive director of the Cancer Society of Greenville County.

“We were founded to provide direct service to people in Greenville County with cancer,” Green said. “We improve 8-31 Page 2A.inddthe lives of cancer patients and we create new hope by helping them financially, by helping emotionally and by helping them physically.”

The society provides free nutritional supplements such as Ensure or PediaSure.

“Sometimes when you go through treatment, your body changes and you need these nutrients so you can fight that cancer,” Green said.

Supplements and other supplies can be very expensive, she said.

“Couple that with being diagnosed with a very expensive disease, and a lot of people are in need and need this help,” Green said. “Cancer care is very expensive.”

The society also helps by providing supplies such as diapers, wipes, lymphedema supplies, wigs, hats, turbans, ostomy supplies and equipment such as walkers and wheelchairs.

“Really anything that you can possibly imagine a cancer patient may need, we’ll get it for them, free of charge,” Green said.

Financially, the society helps by paying $200 a month in prescriptions costs, she said.

“Any cancer-related medication that someone is given, we will cover up to $200 a month,” she said. “We’ll work with local pharmacies and discount cards to make sure that’s plenty and will cover.”

The organization also helps with emergency assistance.

“So if cancer patients need help paying a power bill or they need help with a rent payment, we’ll do that as well,” Green said.

The society also provides transportation assistance, helping cover costs to and from treatment for patients.

“If someone needs to go outside of county, say to MUSC or M.D. Anderson or Sloan-Kettering, we will find a way to get them there,” Green said.

Green said the emotional assistance is also key. She believeS many oncologists would say that’s half the battle — maintaining hope.

“We have a licensed social worker on staff that leads 11 free support groups and does free one-on-one counseling,” she said.

The society serves 4,000 patients in Greenville every year.

Around 700 people in Pickens County are diagnosed with cancer each year, Green said.

A lot of Pickens County patients receive treatment in Greenville County and learn about the group through their doctors, Green said.

“So they walk through our doors and we have to turn them away because of funding and the way we were founded,” she said. “We have to turn people away who have the same disease and the same side effects and the same needs as the people who live in our community.

“That’s the kind of thing that keeps you up at night,” Green continued.

An effort began to provide services to those Pickens County residents. That led the society’s board of directors to community leader Tom Strange, who works with St. Jude and is a member of Manufacturers Caring for Pickens County.

“Tom Strange is our hero,” Green said. “That group is a phenomenal resource in your neighborhood. What a great group.”

That led to a meeting with the administration of Baptist Easley Hospital.

“I am honored that the Cancer Society of Greenville is working with Pickens County to do something for our patients here” said Brian Finley, Baptist Easley’s chief operating officer.

Several months ago, Finley was approached about helping to bring the help that the Cancer Association of Greenville provides to Greenville-area residents to Pickens County.

He didn’t have to think about it for long.

“Just like patients, I said yes,” Finley said. “Because when patients get diagnosed with cancer, they don’t say, ‘Hey, give me a couple of weeks and I’ll come back and we’ll figure out how we’re going to do our treatment. At that moment, their life changes and they have to figure it out.”

Finley assembled a team.

“I said, ‘We’re going to figure it out,’ because that’s what our cancer patients have to do — they have to figure it out,” he said.

Jan Childress knows firsthand the struggles cancer patients go through. In 2008, her husband, Ed, passed away after a long battle with carcinoma.

After Ed’s death, Childress said she and her family began looking for ways “to give back and try and make a difference.”

When the Cancer Society of Greenville asked her to join their board “I immediately said yes,” Childress said.

“Now those same services are available here in Pickens County,” she said.

So far, more than $74,000 has been raised toward the Cancer Association of Pickens County, Childress said.

“That should fund us for over a year,” she said.

Money raised for the group in Pickens County will stay in Pickens County, she said.

She encouraged the community to help sustain those efforts and thanked Baptist Easley for its role in bringing the association to the area.

“They’ve been so gracious and so generous in giving us a place, without any cost, that they’re going to staff,” Childress said. “I think we owe them a great debt.”

Tom O’Hanlan is the chairman of Manufacturers Caring for Pickens County and the chairman of the board of directors of Baptist Easley.

MCPC helped raised the funds to get the association started, he said. He recognized many of the donors who helped with contributions.

On behalf of Manufacturers Caring for Pickens County, O’Hanlan presented the association with an additional $2,000 donation.

He said the day was a very special one for him. It would have been his mother’s 90th birthday. She passed away after battling cancer, O’Hanlan said.

“Thank you all again,” he said. “I’m proud to be a part of this hospital.”

The Cancer Association of Pickens County is located at Baptist Easley Hospital. Its hours are 10 a.m.-1 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Learn more at

Learn more about Manufacturers Caring for Pickens County by visiting