Local Karmanos Cancer Institute center receives $25K grant 

By: Sherri Kolade | Farmington Press | Published July 18, 2018

 Gwendolyn Burton, of Detroit, a caregiver, receives a chair massage from Farmington Hills massage therapist and yoga instructor Katherine Schaefer. The Weisberg Cancer Treatment Center recently received a $25,000 grant for its cancer caregiver programming.

Gwendolyn Burton, of Detroit, a caregiver, receives a chair massage from Farmington Hills massage therapist and yoga instructor Katherine Schaefer. The Weisberg Cancer Treatment Center recently received a $25,000 grant for its cancer caregiver programming.

Photo provided by the Karmanos Weisberg Center

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FARMINGTON HILLS — The Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute was awarded a $25,000 grant for its cancer caregiver programming at the Weisberg Cancer Treatment Center in Farmington Hills.

The Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan, a Detroit-based philanthropic organization, has given many funds out after awarding nearly $1.2 million in grants to 46 organizations through the Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Legacy Funds, according to a press release. 

Each grantee organization is performing necessary work within Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, Monroe, Washtenaw, St. Clair and Livingston counties, the release adds.

“The grants stemming from the Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Legacy Funds are a true testament to Mr. Wilson’s values,” Mariam C. Noland, president of the Community Foundation, stated in the press release. “His legacy will live on through the impact created by each organization’s grant-funded project.”

Sarah Wedepohl,  Community Foundation senior program officer, stated in an email that the organization looks for opportunities to make a positive impact throughout the region. 

“Our grants support a wide range of projects and organizations. As our potential partner, organizations are initially directed to our website, where they can find our grant guidelines and then, if they think there is a potential fit, we ask that they call and talk to us,” she said, adding that after that conversation, applicants can apply for a grant through the foundation’s website.

Wedepohl said that the Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Legacy Funds support grants in four separate key areas that honor the lifetime interests of Wilson, including the Caregivers Fund, Design & Access Fund, Youth Sports Fund and Grosse Pointe Community Assets Fund.  

“Karmanos applied for a grant from the Caregivers Fund, which supports projects within southeast Michigan that assist caregivers of persons who are unable to fully care for themselves and are part of an underserved community,” she stated in the email. 

Karmanos has received two pervious grants from the Community Foundation’s Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Legacy Funds: a $20,000 grant in 2016 for art therapy programming to improve the well-being of people diagnosed with cancer, and a $25,000 grant in 2017 for its Cancer Caregiver Support Program, she said.

Karmanos was selected in 2018 because its request to build upon its Cancer Caregiver Support Program was compelling and was an “excellent fit” for the purpose of the Caregivers Fund, Wedepohl said. 

“Since receiving the initial 2017 grant, Karmanos has reported that participation in the Cancer Caregiver Support Program has exceeded their goal and includes over 500 caregivers,” she said. “The thoughtful consideration of caregivers’ needs is evident in the program’s expansion plans. It will keep elements that are working well and expects to increase the number of caregivers supported during this coming year.”

The program is offered at no cost to caregivers and allows for caregivers from neighboring cancer centers. 

Wedepohl said that the program looks bright.

“As the program staff looks to the future, they are working on sustaining the program, including hiring graduate-level interns to reduce staffing costs and seeking funding from donors and foundations,” she said.

Caregiver Suzanne Manji, of Royal Oak, agrees. 

“I joined the caregiver support group at Karmanos Weisberg Center a year before my husband died of lung cancer,” she stated in an email. “So many times I have had the thought, ‘I don’t know what I would have done without the group.’”

Manji added that not only did she learn from experts about such topics as legal issues and sexuality during cancer, that she developed long-term support systems that she still uses. 

“These relationships included other members of the group, but also allowed me to be introduced to the wide range of support offered at Karmanos,” Manji said, adding that she could use many offerings on-site, such as chair massages. “I would never have had the time while working and attending so many medical appointments to go and get a massage, so having on-site services aligned with the group hours was invaluable to me.”

For updates on the next granting cycle, visit cfsem.org/Wilson Funds.

For more information on the Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Legacy Funds, visit www.rcwjrf.org.

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