ORONO, Maine — Mart Lapin of Orono understands the range of emotions that come with the words, “you have cancer.” He has faced the diagnosis four times and survived. Over the past 10 years, Lapin became determined to find a way to help other cancer patients with emotional support and transportation, lodging, food and prescription expenses.
Using his own experiences, Lapin wrote a booklet, “Four Down and None to Go (So Far).” First diagnosed with cancer in 2000, he describes the challenges he faced during treatment and recovery and the emotions that confronted him and his wife, Mary. He also details the life lessons he learned during his journey and his realization that cancer patients had many needs beyond their medical care.
“During the support groups at Eastern Maine Medical Center’s CancerCare of Maine, I became aware of the tremendous need for support services for cancer patients,” he said. Motivated by this insight, he created the Oncology Support Foundation in 2005, and eventually it joined with Healthcare Charities as the Oncology Support Project. The mission of OSP is to provide broad financial and emotional support for the basic needs of cancer patients during the course of treatment. Since its inception in 2005, OSP has provided more than $50,000 in gas cards for patients. In addition, OSP funded the printing of “Four Down and None to Go (So Far),” available at no cost to cancer patients and their families throughout the region.
Lapin hopes “Four Down and None to Go (So Far)” will encourage and comfort cancer patients, and that its publication will make more people aware about the Oncology Support Project. “OSP is funded entirely through individual donations and generous grants,” he said. “We are truly a local group helping local people.”
For information about “Four Down and None to Go (So Far)” or the Oncology Support Project of Healthcare Charities, call Liz Martin at 973-9633.