Article Written and Provided by: Bailey Roberts, La Porte, IN.
The Tour De La Porte is not just about fun summer runs and bike rides or the beautiful routes the community has to offer. It’s also about what the funds raised are used to support. All funds raised during the event are used to provide direct assistance to cancer patients and to fund free screenings for our community members. By doing so, the Healthcare Foundation of La Porte (transitioning from the previous La Porte Hospital Foundation) is bringing the community together in hopes of increasing knowledge and taking preventive measures while also supporting others during their fight with cancer. Two of the individuals who work closely with The Foundation, and see firsthand the impact of the funds raised through TDL are Katie Sarver and Teresa Tuholski. These women are doing all they can to fight cancer through prevention and constant care.
“The experience in itself is amazing, to see so many people from everywhere come to support cancer care,” Sarver said. “It’s inspirational.”
Katie Sarver is the Manager of Wellness Outreach at La Porte Hospital. She oversees the coordination of the cancer screenings for the community, utilizing funds provided by The Foundation to support the cancer screenings for the community. The cancer screenings are free to all community members because of the successful TDL event and The Foundation. The Cancer screenings provided are clinical breast, cervical, skin, and colorectal. If anything is found, then Sarver and her team will encourage those individuals to meet with their healthcare provider for follow up care. Early diagnosis of cancer increases the patient’s opportunity to treat this disease.
“We work very closely with The Foundation to insure that we are providing valuable screenings for the safety of the community,” Sarver said.
All screenings have scheduled days throughout the year, which are listed on the community calendar through La Porte Hospital. Screenings can be scheduled personally by calling 219-325-7468.
“I would say if you aren’t a runner or distance cyclist, you can still get involved! TDL offers shorter distance cycling events as well as a 5K walk. You can also get involved by making a gift to support the cause or volunteering your time. Any effort is appreciated, and is another way to tell the community that you are here for support,” Sarver said.
During TDL weekend, Sarver is volunteering her time to support the event by assisting with the Mini Fun Run for kids and setting up the event the night before. Volunteering is just as important as participating, especially for such a large event. $60,000 to $75,00 is raised during TDL weekend.
In addition to funding the cancer screenings, coordinated by Sarver and her team, the proceeds of TDL are used to provide direct assistance to patients with cancer. These patients are identified and connect with The Foundation for support by Teresa Tuholski. Teresa, an oncology nurse navigator with La Porte Hospital works directly with cancer patients, helping ensure they receive the best care possible while identify their personal area of need and serving as the liaison with The Foundation to address these financial needs.
“I meet with patients whose lives have just been changed.” Tuholski said.
All of the funds TDL brings in are kept local, to support members of this community. The funds are used for a variety of purposes, including ensuring a patient has adequate funds for transportation to and from medical appointments
and treatment, medication, lodging if treatment takes them away from home and supplies such as dietary supplements, wigs and more.
“I can ask ‘what is your biggest stressor other than cancer?’” Tuholski said. “These funds are used so patients can pause for a moment and forget what they are going through for a few moments. It gives these patients a new breath of life and something easier to worry about.”
Cancer is a disease that has impacted everyone, whether a personal diagnosis, friend, co-worker or family member. TDL offers an opportunity to get involved in a fun event, and the knowledge that each participant is helping to make a direct impact in the life of someone in this community.
It takes an arsenal of volunteers, athletes and community support to make this event a success – come and join – your support truly does make a difference!
If interested in making an impact in the community, go to tourdelaporte.org to see how you can help by participating, donating or volunteering.