From OHC, Specialists in the Treatment of Adult Cancers and Blood Disorders
August 26, 2021
Karen Herzog, an ovarian cancer survivor, knows all too well what it’s like to cope with cancer during treatment. She was a patient of OHC’s Cynthia C. Chua, MD, and Sarah Wilson, MSN, APRN. It wasn’t long after she completed her chemotherapy treatment that she began to look for ways to support cancer patients and became involved as a Board member of the Ovarian Cancer Alliance of Greater Cincinnati, a local ovarian cancer resource organization that offers patients emotional support, education and research funding to find a cure.
In October of 2016, Karen began to feel strongly about supporting those suffering with all types of cancer. “There’s no such thing as a good cancer,” said Karen. “I wanted to do something to help brighten the day of cancer patients, both men and women.” An idea about creating gift bags for patients came to her, and she reached out to her friend and fellow ovarian cancer survivor, Pat West, to work on logistics.
In February of 2017, Karen and Pat, who had lost many fellow “teal sisters” over the years, launched Teal Loving Care (teal is the awareness color for ovarian cancer) as a way to share love, encouragement, and hope with Cincinnati-area chemotherapy patients during a difficult time in their lives. Teal Loving Care assembles gift bags, known as cancer care kits, and delivers them to various health care facilities for chemotherapy patients.
Teal Loving Care, now a program of the Cancer Support Community, has delivered 1,724 kits to date. Each kit is comprised of a hand-decorated gift bag filled with practical items that help patients cope with chemotherapy treatment, including an encouraging note, ginger chews for nausea, lotion, lip balm, socks, and an adult coloring book with colored pencils. To fund the purchase of these items, Teal Loving Care organizes fundraisers. To prepare and stuff the bags, Karen and Pat solicit volunteer support to host packing parties. Volunteers gather to decorate the bags, write notes, and stuff the bags.
Karen recently delivered 61 cancer care kits to the OHC treatment suite in Blue Ash where she had received treatments. “It’s my way of letting cancer patients know that someone’s thinking of them,” said Karen. OHC Blue Ash office manager Cindy Mihailoff notes, “Patients in our treatment suite received one of Karen’s bags that day and they were so appreciative.”
To learn more about Teal Loving Care, participate in a packing party, or make a contribution, contact Karen through the organization’s Facebook page or by sending an e-mail to TealLovingCare@gmail.com. To learn more about OHC’s cancer experts or request a second opinion, call 1-888-649-4800 or visit ohcare.com.
Top picture: Pictured left to right are Pat West, Christie Barnickel, Ciarra Barnickel, Arriana Barnickel, and Becky Coning who recently gathered for a TLC packing party.
Right picture: Recent TLC delivery of 61 cancer care kits to the OHC Blue Ash treatment suite.