Each year for the past five years, UPMC Hillman Cancer Center patients have been offered comfort items to help pass the time during long chemotherapy sessions, courtesy of CNX Resources, a Southpointe-based energy company. To date, CNX has donated nearly $300,000 to UPMC Hillman with a large portion going to this effort. This year, CNX has pledged to continue that support.
“Despite the many challenges of this year, COVID doesn’t take time out for cancer,” said Nick Deluliis, CEO of CNX Resources. “We know this is a challenging time for patients and it’s our hope that we can help to improve the experience for families during some of the toughest times in their lives.”
Together with UPMC Hillman Volunteer Services, the initial CNX donation in 2015 helped to establish the “CNX Caring Cart.” It’s filled with items such as snacks, lozenges, puzzles, games and blankets.
“While specific treatments may vary, many of our patients who are receiving chemotherapy or immunotherapy treatment are here for many hours, often several times a month,” said Dr. Stanley Marks, chairman of UPMC Hillman Cancer Center. “I know that hundreds of patients and their families have seen these items as a welcome distraction and one that gave them a bit of pleasure during their time spent with us.”
The CNX carts are taken throughout the patient treatment areas by UPMC Hillman volunteers. This year’s pandemic meant that plan had to be revised since treatment areas are limited to clinical staff. Now, efforts are underway to individually wrap the items and to rotate the CNX carts in areas of Hillman where patients will have easy access.
“Our efforts have been focused on finding a safe balance that gives the patients confidence that we are doing our best to maintain the highest safety measures but also offer these extra and vital care items during their treatment journey,” said Amber Miller, director of UPMC Hillman Volunteer and Guest Services. “We are most grateful for this partnership.”