By MARGARET DWIGGINS
The stories of three families affected by cancer, and the agency that helped them, will be told in a new documentary that debuts Monday.
“Stories of Compassion” will be shown at 5:30 p.m. at Winebrenner Seminary, 950 N. Main St. The film, commissioned by Cancer Patient Services, was produced by Timber and Frame, a filmmaking company that has produced films for several other area nonprofits.
Carol Metzger, executive director of Cancer Patient Services, said a grant from the Findlay-Hancock County Community Foundation helped fund the project.
The grant was given in part to help Cancer Patient Services market itself. Although Cancer Patient Services has been in Findlay since 1946, it still has a bit of an “identity crisis,” Metzger said. People often confuse the local organization with the American Cancer Society or Susan G. Komen, national organizations with which Cancer Patient Services has no affiliation.
Cancer Patient Services provides a variety of supplies and services, at no cost, to people with cancer who live and/or work in Hancock County. It can reimburse patients for chemotherapy and medications and for mileage to and from cancer treatments, as well as other financial resources. It is also a source of educational materials and emotional support for those battling cancer.
“Stories of Compassion” features interviews with the family of Wesley Rodman, 5, who has leukemia; Kathy Hinton, a breast cancer survivor; and breast cancer patient Cathy Zellner and her family.
Wesley, who just started kindergarten, will finish up his treatments this fall, Metzger said. His family has utilized Cancer Patient Services for reimbursement for mileage to and from treatments, nutritional drinks and emotional support.
Hinton, who was uninsured during her treatments, relied on Cancer Patient Services for mileage reimbursement and equipment. Some of the equipment the agency provides includes hospital beds, wheelchairs, shower seats and commodes. Wigs are also available to patients who lose their hair after chemotherapy treatments.
The Zellners used mileage reimbursements and nutritional supplements, and utilized Cancer Patient Services’ lending library.
Filming on the documentary began late in 2013. Zellner died in January, during filming. Interviews with her are included in “Stories of Compassion,” as well as interviews with her husband, Jim, after her death.
Metzger said Cancer Patient Services has seen a 78 percent growth in its budget the last few years. Patient demands is up, but so, too, is income. The agency’s signature fundraiser, an annual chili cook-off held in February, has grown steadily and now provides a significant source of revenue. Grants are also received from United Way of Hancock County, the Community Foundation and Susan G. Komen.
Metzger said one of the purposes of the documentary is to expand upon Cancer Patient Services’ visibility in the community, which will also hopefully cultivate donors. The ultimate goal is to build an endowment fund from which operating expenses could be drawn, she said.
“Stories of Compassion” is about 14 minutes long and will eventually be available online. Metzger said each segment can also stand alone and can be used in short presentations and at health fairs.
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