By Michaela Gibson Morris/NEMS Daily Journal
Project Hope has become part of a vital life line for people fighting cancer, diabetes and heart disease in Northeast Mississippi.
Money raised by the Festival of Hope teams goes directly to organizations who are helping patients in need or are reaching the community with education or prevention programs.
The money, which is distributed through a grant process, makes a real difference in people’s lives.
Curtis Adair, 31, of Belden had to stop work at Sunshine Mills when a skin cancer tumor grew into the muscle of his arm in September, making it difficult for his family, including wife, Natasha, and their three children to make ends meet.
“We’ve almost lost our home twice,” said Natasha Adair, who has had little luck finding a full-time job.
Curtis Adair has gone through chemotherapy and radiation treatments and is currently awaiting surgery.
The NMMC Cancer Patient Assistance, which is one of three patient assistance funds that receives funding through Project Hope, has helped the family with gas money to get to the daily radiation treatments and their electric bill.
“They have really helped,” Natasha Adair said.
James Cowley, 37, of Plantersville lost his job and health insurance shortly after being diagnosed with diabetes in 2004. Even after he found new employment, he couldn’t afford his medications, and his diabetes spiraled out of control.
In 2006, he found out he qualified for the Antone Tannehill Good Samaritan Free Clinic, which receives funding from Project Hope.
With regular care and access to diabetes management medications, his A1C – a measure of how well diabetes is being managed – has dropped from above 8 in 2006 to as low as 6.8.
Managing diabetes well is key to avoiding complications like amputation, blindness, nerve damage and heart disease.
“It runs deep on both sides of my family. Lots of people I know have lost legs or arms,” to diabetes, Cowley said. “This place is a godsend.”