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Angels of Hope helps cancer patients | Community Spirit

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Angels of Hope helps cancer patients
Angels of Hope helps cancer patients

Hundreds of East Tennessee cancer patients benefit from a volunteer effort to help them around the holidays.

"This says love is all you need," reads a hand made pillow case.

Love motivated UT Medical Oncologist Dr. Susan Huntsinger to start a program to help the cancer patients she treats.

"To be able to do this for them and give them just that little bit of spark that little bit of hope is just a wonderful thing," she said.

She realized the holidays can be especially difficult for her patients.

"In addition to chemotherapy you're trying to have a nice holiday season for your family and you don't feel good, you're tired, and sometimes you just don't have the ability to get to the store and get the things that you need," she explained.

She started Angels of Hope, gift baskets distributed at Christmastime.

It's a full Christmas meal with a gift card for meat.

Wal-mart in Jefferson City donates food, Pilot donates gas cards, and a team of volunteers pitches in to help patients like Stephanie Gourley.

"I received a gift basket from Dr. Susan Huntsinger and her staff. And I said well this is wonderful. You know after you have chemo treatments you don't feel like going to a grocery store to shop for groceries and stand in line," she said.

Stephanie Gourley is a breast cancer survivor.

She's been cancer free since February 29th.

"I fought it from day one. 90% of the battle is just staying positive, surrounding yourself with the right people, staying focused on getting better, staying healthy," she said.

Angels of Hope baskets also include homemade gifts from children.

"They color or draw an angel that we have made for them and then this year we have done pillowcases and there's a quilting square on each one of the pillowcases," Dr. Huntsinger said.

They are unique creations for the patients made by children with love.

"I think this is a way that children are also able to give back," she said.

Donors contribute $50 to support one basket. Angels of Hope will distribute more than 200 baskets this Christmas to cancer patients in need.

Stephanie Gourley said, "It was a real convenience to have staples in the pantry. It was just a blessing in disguise and I appreciate it."

Dr. Huntsinger said, "I love my patients. And I want to see them taken care of the best possible."

"I share the love every day. I give it back," Stephanie said.

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