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Sock Out Cancer fund helps UHS cancer patient during treatment

March 19, 2019

Several weeks before her planned early November 2018 wedding, Binghamton resident Megan Scott, 30, was diagnosed with a urinary tract infection. As the big day approached, the UTI wasn’t clearing up and finally, unable to urinate at all, she saw a urologist. Scott was admitted to the UHS Wilson Medical Center the same day for surgery to biopsy what turned out to be a bladder tumor caused by Burkitt lymphoma, a rare cancer described as the fastest-growing human tumor. After her initial treatment at UHS, Scott traveled repeatedly to Memorial Sloan Kettering in New York City for six rounds of intensive chemotherapy, including chemotherapy injected directly into her spinal fluid.

As her planned wedding date came and went in the turmoil of treatments and travel, real life didn’t take a break: bills still needed to be paid, including an unexpected one for an ailing furnace in the home Scott shares with her fiancé. That’s where the Sock Out Cancer fund came in.

Since 2017, Sock Out Cancer has helped Southern Tier cancer patients coping with the financial challenges of the disease. The program offers financial assistance for rent or mortgage payments, child care, utility bills, groceries, gasoline or other identified needs. The program is funded by sales of colorful socks, available at the UHS Wilson Medical Center and Binghamton General Hospital gift shops, Wegmans, Mirabito convenience stores or online at sockoutcancer.org.An annual concert also contributes to the fund’s coffers.

To date, the program has raised $148,945, and 76 cancer patients with financial challenges have received money for practical, non-medical needs. A joint committee with representatives from the UHS and Lourdes Hospital Foundations reviews applications and distributes funds. Security Mutual Life in Binghamton – the program’s lead sponsor – administers the Sock Out Cancer Foundation and provides all administrative support.

During cancer treatment, many patients exhaust their paid leave, have to reduce their work hours or stop working completely, which can result in hardship, especially if the patient is single or the primary wage-earner for a family.

“Cancer creates an enormous strain, both emotionally and financially. The purpose of Sock Out Cancer is to ensure that a family affected by cancer can put all efforts into supporting the loved one with the disease, instead of struggling to pay bills or managing living expenses,” said UHS Foundation Executive Director Cory Jacobs.

The Sock Out Cancer fund covered some of Scott’s utility bills and the furnace repair during the coldest (and subsequently most expensive) part of the winter.

She said, “Receiving money from the fund took a huge weight off my shoulders during such a tough time. I am so thankful that my social worker Katrina Mallery approached me and explained everything that was available to me.”

Scott finished treatment on March 1, 2019 – she’s is back to her regular life and activities, including re-planning her wedding.

“This experience has impacted literally every aspect of my life, but I am very lucky to have had such a great outcome,” she said.

This year’s Sock Out Cancer concert is scheduled for 8 PM on Friday, April 12, at the Forum in downtown Binghamton. The concert will highlight music from the 1980s, featuring the songs two of the era’s most prominent bands, Santana and Journey. Alex Ligertwood, former lead singer for Santana, and Kevin Chalfant, who has performed on stage as lead vocalist with Journey, will both perform. Visions Federal Credit Union is a significant sponsor of the concert.

Tickets are available via Ticketmaster and at the Arena box office; those who purchase tickets at the Arena will receive a complimentary pair of Sock Out Cancer’s signature multi-colored socks (a $10 value) with each ticket purchased.

For more information about the program, including sock sales and concert tickets, visit sockoutcancer.org.