As the cost of living continues to rise, patients struggling with the financial burden of a significant illness that requires extended treatment face additional financial stressors, commonly referred to as financial toxicity. These stressors are often attributed to factors like disrupted employment, high travel expenses, and limited insurance coverage. Recognizing this challenge, Dr. Katie Huber, Radiation Oncologist, and her husband Chris Tarmey recently established the Joey and Anne's Helping Hands Fund, to provide direct financial support to cancer patients in need.
Like the fund, its name represents the tremendous impact of a helping hand. Dr. Huber says the selflessness of her grandfather, John "Joey" Joseph Cuddihy, inspired her philanthropy. Joey was one of eight children in a family that lost its financial security during the Great Depression. He developed a sense of responsibility early on, as he saw his mother struggle to raise her children. Family members recall the kids sharing a single Snickers bar cut in eight pieces. Moments like that caused them to realize that even through troubled times, they were fortunate to have the bare necessities and each other.
As Joey grew up, he learned from experience that there were others in the world whose struggles exceeded that of his family's, which instilled in him a sense of gratitude and giving. After serving in World War II and witnessing the hardships people faced, he donated the small inheritance he received from his grandmother to charity. He felt his life was filled with abundance and others needed it more.
Through retirement and being on a fixed income, Joey continued to support multiple charities. His faith, and an enduring sense of having more than he needed, motivated him to always share with those in need. Dr. Huber says, "He taught his children and grandchildren that their lives were filled with more than enough, and that to be able to give was a blessing."
Like Dr. Huber, Chris was also inspired by a beloved family member. Anne, Chris's mother, raised her six children independently. She worked a variety of jobs, but was most proud of being the Food Service Director at Pioneer Valley Nursing Home in Northampton, Massachusetts. During her 25-year employment at the nursing home, Anne had many friends—coworkers and residents alike. She commonly invited residents out for the day, or to her home for the holiday when they would otherwise be alone.
As a struggling single mother, Anne knew what it was like to endure hardship. Since she was aware of the power of generosity, she took every opportunity to offer help to others when she could. Chris says, "My siblings and extended family have created this fund, in Anne's name and her spirit, to help people who find themselves in tough times."
The fund will support living expenses which include housing, food, transportation, medication and supplies, childcare, and on-site accommodations during treatment. The family excitedly shares, "We are honored to be able to ease the burden of the added costs of everyday life patients deal with while going through radiation therapy. We hope that this gift will inspire others to also support these patients in need of a helping hand."
We invite you to make a gift in support of Joey and Anne's Helping Hands Fund.