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Program to assist cancer patients

January 29, 2009

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. The American Cancer Society and Polo Ralph Lauren Childrenswear Division in Martinsburg announced Wednesday the establishment of a patient resource navigator program at WVU Hospitals-East.

The WVUH-East Regional Cancer Program is the first cancer center in West Virginia to partner with the American Cancer Society to hire a patient resource navigator, according to a news release.

Dr. Tim Bowers, medical director of the WVUH-East Regional Cancer Program, said Pat Fogle, a registered nurse and longtime resident of the area, has been selected to serve as the program's first American Cancer Society patient resource navigator.

The American Cancer Society's innovative patient resource navigator program is a comprehensive initiative designed to assist individual cancer patients in negotiating the health-care system. The patient resource navigator helps cancer patients and their caregivers cope with their cancer experience, from initial diagnosis through treatment and follow-up support.

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"A cancer diagnosis can be a life-changing experience for patients, their families and their caregivers," Fogle said in the release. "I'm here to provide support every step of the way, from explaining what to expect with chemotherapy, to making sure patients have transportation to and from appointments. Fighting cancer is a difficult, challenging journey; with the help of a trained navigator, patients don't have to go through it alone."

One local business played a key role in working with the American Cancer Society to establish the patient resource navigator program at WVUH-East. Polo Ralph Lauren Childrenswear and the Polo Ralph Lauren Foundation donated more than $15,000 to the City Hospital Foundation to provide funding for this new position.

"Our employees at the Martinsburg division raised $8,600 of the money through various fund raisers including their annual Pink Pony Day, and the Polo Ralph Lauren Foundation provided the $6,400 match," explained Penny Mathias, director of human resources for Polo Ralph Lauren Childrenswear Division.

The patient resource navigator serves as a personal guide to patients as they face the psychological, emotional and financial challenges of their cancer experience. The initiative is free and confidential, and places an emphasis on assisting the medically underserved.

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