“Making seriously ill women choose between paying for their cancer treatment and paying for their house payment seems unusually cruel.”
What is Sue's Gift?
The Sue’s Gift Financial Assistance Program offers economic support specifically to Southern Colorado women diagnosed with gynecologic cancer to help with medical and household expenses. Whether it’s health insurance deductibles, doctor’s bills, housing payments, utility bills or prescriptions, Sue’s Gift is a promise to the women of Southern Colorado that no one stands alone when it comes to battling cancer.
Who is eligible for Sue's Gift?
All applicants must be a resident of Southern Colorado.
Proof of residency is required with application.
Diagnosed with ovarian, fallopian tube, cervical, uterine, peritoneal, vulva, or vaginal cancer
Currently in chemotherapy or other oncologist-directed treatment for gynecologic cancer OR have completed surgery or treatment for gynecologic cancer within the last three months
Medical verification form required
Monthly household expenses must be more than monthly household income, and total income must be equal to or less than 300% of the HHS Federal Poverty Level
Available assets, including cash, investments, and real estate properties other than your home, are less than the total of 6 months of your household expenses during treatment.
Sue's Gift Stories
You have ovarian cancer.
Hearing those four words sent life spiraling for 52 year old Colorado Springs resident Debbie Gordon in August of last year. The stage three level of the cancer meant immediate surgery. The painful aftermath and slow recovery left Debbie unable to work. As the medical bills piled up, Debbie’s ovarian cancer diagnosis snowballed from a life-and-death battle into a financial one as well.
Those same four words brought 43 year old Aracely Avitia to Penrose Hospital for her surgery and chemo treatments. Her stage four diagnosis coupled with complications during her recovery led to difficulty breathing, and her limited insurance left her unable to obtain oxygen tanks needed to resume healing and what remained of a normal life back home. In the days after her surgery, Aracely’s struggle with health care providers seemed more overwhelming than her struggle to breathe.
For these Southern Colorado women, ovarian cancer proved a life-shattering diagnosis.
The disease, often referred to as the “silent killer”, is difficult to diagnose and has an incredibly high mortality rate. Estimates from the Colorado Ovarian Cancer Alliance place the death rate from ovarian cancer at two to three times the rate of breast cancer. 81% of patients diagnosed with ovarian cancer have it discovered at an advanced stage and less than a third of those women will live longer than five years after their diagnosis.
Locally, however, one Colorado Springs organization is fighting back – fighting against cancer and standing up for the women who battle it.
The Sue DiNapoli Ovarian Cancer Society began its crusade following the death of Sue DiNapoli, a longtime Colorado Springs resident who lost her five year battle with ovarian cancer in 2005. Motivated by the memory of their mother and the need to help other women and their families, the Sue DiNapoli Ovarian Cancer Society has grown into Southern Colorado’s strongest advocate and support network for women battling this heinous disease. Their mission is to educate and support low income and under-insured women in the Pikes Peak area with expenses, education, screening, and early detection of ovarian cancer.
2015 marked the beginning of the Sue’s Gift program offered by the SDOCS. Often times, as families battle long-term illnesses like ovarian cancer, expenses and bills can quickly pile up and overwhelm even families with great insurance. The Sue’s Gift grant program offers economic support specifically to Southern Colorado women diagnosed with ovarian cancer to help with medical bills, health insurance deductibles, prescriptions, and other medical expenses.
For Debbie Gordon, Sue’s Gift meant instant payment for her outstanding medical bills and the peace of mind that helped her healing continue.
“Sue’s Gift helped me when I needed it the most. I’m not sure what I would have done without it,” she said.
When informed of Aracely Avita’s struggle with the oxygen supply company, the Sue DiNapoli Ovarian Cancer Society swung into immediate action. Sue’s Gift worked directly with the oxygen supply company to arrange to pay Aracely’s monthly bill for the delivery of her oxygen tanks. As a Colorado Springs organization dedicated to helping local women, they expedited her Sue’s Gift request, and the oxygen was delivered the day she was sent home from the hospital, which happened to be the same day she applied for Sue’s Gift.
The Sue DiNapoli Ovarian Cancer Society also takes an active role in the community educating women as to the warning signs of ovarian cancer. These subtle symptoms, often used with the acronym B.E.A.T. (as in B.E.A.T. ovarian cancer), include: Bloating, Eating less but feeling full, Abdominal discomfort, and Trouble with your bladder. Their rallies, fundraisers, and educational efforts have been featured on numerous news outlets including the The Gazette, the Denver Post, KRDO, and Fox21, and they have been active participants in many of the great Colorado Springs community events like Springs Spree, Fox21’s Foxy Moms Expo, and the Women’s Expo where they educate women about this killer disease and its vague symptoms.
The Sue DiNapoli Ovarian Cancer Society and their Sue’s Gift program welcomes financial and volunteer support to continue advocating for women in the Pikes Peak region. “We wish to share Sue’s Gift with any woman in Southern Colorado who needs it,” said President of the Board of Directors for the Society, Susan DiNapoli-Guyton. “Every dollar we raise for goes to help someone’s mother or daughter in the struggle against this horrible disease. Every dollar we raise goes to relieve part of the financial burden that often times feels bigger than the cancer itself.”