Facing cancer, even the smallest details can be overwhelming. When people are struggling with astronomical hospital bills, processing new information and the daily trials of treatment, small help can make a big difference.
That’s what CareBOX Program focuses on - being that small help that makes a big difference for cancer patients in Austin, Texas, USA. TradeGecko proudly sponsors this organization and as our inventory management software helps take care of backend operations, CareBOX Program can focus on the bigger picture.
Based in Austin, CareBOX Program is a wish list builder/crowdfunding type platform that provides care packages to cancer patients, funded and fulfilled by donors and volunteers.
CareBOX Program has a mission to take at least one worry away from cancer patients - that of where their care supplies are coming from. They deliver boxes of supplies directly to cancer patients at home.
What’s in the boxes? Supplies like nutritional supplements, infection prevention items, and mobility supplies such as canes and walkers. These are all items that people may not anticipate needing, but that will improve quality of life as treatment moves forward.
These boxes can be instrumental in making sure that their cancer treatment isn’t derailed by side issues that are caused by infection or falls. And that way patients can focus on beating cancer itself, which is no small task.
CareBOX Program works with cancer centers and nurses to develop lists of what patients may need, not just immediately but several months down the road. These lists are uploaded onto the website and once a patient is featured, it’s given out to the network of family, friends and strangers to fulfill the list through donations and help in a tangible way.
When someone they love is diagnosed with cancer, the first question many people ask is: what can we do to help?
This was the main question on founder Jillian Domingue’s mind when she started the non-profit in 2011. While working on her undergraduate degree at the University of Austin, at the age of 23, she had lost three close friends to cancer.
Being so close with these losses, she also noticed a big gap in care - from when someone is diagnosed to when they start treatment, the major medicine is provided, but what about the small items that people need in the interim, possibly items they didn’t even think about?
Jillian began fundraising and by October 2014, she brought on Program Director Lisa Keefauver, and the CareBox Program began making wishlists and fulfilling them.
Their first patient’s wish list was granted within 24 hours - and it was then that they realized that this was something that could be a real service to people in the community.
Since that first patient, CareBOX has served dozens of patients in the Austin area, and hope to reach 500 patients in 2016. They’ve already fulfilled the needs of 55 patients this year, so it’s looking good that they will meet that goal.
Every year, in central Texas alone, there are 12,500 new cancer diagnoses, and they want to help as many of them as possible. The potential impact is huge.
Care boxes contain up to 35 different items in impactful quantities. Through media and word of mouth, patients or loved ones of patients hear about the program and get them signed up. Local cancer centers also refer patients to the program.
When people are overwhelmed with the information of the diagnosis - CareBox Program hopes to be there to step in and at least take a bit of the burden from them.
CareBOX is completely free to the patient, but not need based - anyone with a diagnosis of cancer can have a wish list fulfilled. They’ve helped patients of all types of cancer, and served those from 2 months to 93 years old.
The CareBOX Program and TradeGecko partnership came about as they began to look for a way to keep better track of their inventory. Before using TradeGecko, they tracked everything using spreadsheets and volunteers had to manually write up pack lists.
Now, they use the Purchase Order functionality to track orders from suppliers and calculate moving average cost and provide better organization. TradeGecko saves a lot of time that used to be lost in spreadsheets, allowing them to focus on getting better prices from suppliers, moving boxes out to patients faster and saving volunteer time.
CareBOX hopes to scale, replicate and spread across the country. This is a program that is missing in many areas and the ultimate goal is to not only help those in Texas, but cancer patients across the US.
With just 5 employees, and a large network of office volunteers, volunteer drivers and packers, CareBOX Program is on the route to really make a difference.
Because while cancer is something that many people have in common, care and support are the things that really bring everyone together.
Find out more about the CareBOX Program here.