Today’s Somerset County (PA) Daily American online carries the following story about a program based in the Grace Brethren church in Meyersdale, Pennsylvania. To read the original, click here.
Caring Hands offers hope to cancer patients
By KATIE WALKER, Daily American Staff Writer
MEYERSDALE -— A group of Meyersdale residents is reaching out to cancer patients through a newly formed organization.
Aaron Schafer, Erin Byer and Laura Schardt are the faces of Caring Hands for Cancer, a group dedicated to helping cancer patients stabilize their homes and lives by offering volunteer yard work, cleaning and other at-home services.
The three have kick-started their efforts through the Meyersdale Grace Brethren Church and hope to aid cancer patients throughout the area.
“We’re starting in Meyersdale and Salisbury, but we want to branch out to all churches in the community,” Schafer said. “We will help whoever needs it.”
Helping cancer patients and their families is important to Schafer, whose father passed away from the disease in 2006.
“We thought of this group a long time ago,” he said. “The idea for it kind of started with a youth group I was working with in Frostburg.”
The group has expanded so far to include 15 volunteers and a Facebook page.
Services offered include yard work, house cleaning, minor painting and small gifts of money. For many, spending time with someone who is ill is really the best gift.
“A lot of people are very lonely,” Jeri Schafer, Aaron’s mother, said. “They really just want someone to sit and talk to them for a while.”
Schafer said his church has been enthusiastic about helping the group. He emphasized that Caring Hands for Cancer is open to any person in the community who needs help.
“It’s nice to have a group who can go out to anyone and help them,” Byer said. Byer, who lost her mother to cancer in 2006, is hopeful that more people will join so services can be expanded to neighboring communities.
She also hopes more people will reach out for help if they need it.
“Right now we get a lot of people who have cancer but don’t want help, maybe because they are too prideful,” she said. “We want to reach out to anyone who needs help.”
The group’s ultimate goals are to garner more community and church support.
“We are hoping to get more volunteers so we can go to more people’s homes,” she said. “We want to develop long-term support through local churches.”
A sand volleyball tournament for the group will be held from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. July 23 at the Grantsville, Md., community park.
Other fundraisers for the group include selling beaded bracelets. Dianne Schrock makes custom order bracelets with hope beads and cancer ribbons. She is also working on a bracelet for Caring Hands for Cancer.
To order a custom made bracelet, call Schrock at 814-634-8494 or check out the website www.sinesofamiracle.com.
For more information about Caring Hands for Cancer, call Schafer at 814-634-8276.