Chloe Ann Payne is a survivor. She’s had bladder cancer and a cyst in her breast.
“The doctor told me I’d be in the hospital more than I’d be out,” the 69-year-old Lawrence resident said.
She told doctors just to remove her breasts.
But that cyst led to some of Payne’s holiday cheer this year. Her family members — including her husband, Joe, and her dog, Baby — were adopted by the Catch A Break Foundation.
“Breast cancer takes a toll on you financially, and that’s why we started it,” said founder Cindy Sargent, a breast cancer survivor. Last year was the first she organized an adopt-a-family program. And this year, she received so many more monetary donations that she established the foundation. People who want to help can either donate to the foundation or volunteer to adopt a family.
“It’s really nice. Real nice,” Payne said. “I loved (the gifts). I appreciate it.”
Payne received some pajamas and slippers, along with a gift for her husband and bones for Baby.
“She’s spoiled rotten,” Payne said of her 11-year old dog.
Sargent also gave Payne gift cards to Dillons and Wal-Mart to help with anything the family might need.
For Payne, that’s medication.
“My Social Security takes care of some of it and then my medicine, that’s what’s kind of expensive,” she said. “For only four prescriptions, it cost me $395.”
The smile on Payne’s face while opening her gifts is the reason Sargent is happy to help families of breast cancer survivors.
“There are some families that are in the position of whether or not they can afford a holiday dinner, whether or not they can afford gifts for their children.”
And the financial difficulties are lasting.
“It’s not something you get over in a month,” Sargent said. “Cancer is something you have to fight for the rest of your life.”
Catch A Break reached outside of Lawrence this year and adopted families in Osawatomie, Ottawa and Olathe.
“We definitely branched out,” she said.
Payne loves Christmas, and her favorite part about the holiday season is simply “being alive.” And to her, meeting Sargent was a blessing.
“Cindy, she’s something else. She’s a good person,” Payne said.
Sargent arranged adoptions for 10 families this year, up from six last holiday season.
Some funds still remain for adoptions this year. For more information about Catch A Break and family adoptions, send an e-mail to Sargent at firstname.lastname@example.org.