Did You Know?

The University of Maryland Medical System Foundation oversees hundreds of funds that benefit our hospitals, centers and departments. Did you know that each fund is different and focuses on a specific need within the medical system? Learn more about our featured fund below!

Virtual Needs Pantry Fund

FoodWhen Bob Kilberg sits in the waiting room before his radiation treatment, he typically engages in conversation with the people around him. It is almost a therapy within itself – a chance for Bob, who was diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma, to share his experience with others who are going through something similar, and vice versa.

During the two years since his diagnosis, Bob and his wife, Randi, who accompanies him to treatments, noticed a reoccurring theme in the conversations – many people had very little in terms of emotional and financial support.

“Usually you go the same time every day for treatment and when you are there, you meet interesting people,” Bob says. “One of the first things I realized when I was sick is that I had a good support system, while some of the other people waiting for treatment didn’t.”

Bob and Randi listened to several people explain the impact that cancer has had on not only their health, but on their entire life. Some shared their struggle to get to and from appointments due to a lack of transportation or its cost, which can add up overtime. Others said they could not afford food, rent, or other living expenses, while some revealed they had no family or friends to help them through this difficult time.

These conversations inspired Randi and Bob to become regular supporters of the Department of Radiation Oncology’s Virtual Needs Pantry Fund, which provides a safety net for financially disadvantaged patients during their radiation treatment. The University of Maryland Medical Center uses the Virtual Needs Pantry Fund to help patients pay for expenses that are medically necessary during their radiation treatment, such as food and gas.

“There is, or seems to be, no logical reason for someone who gets cancer. For someone who does though, it does not matter if you are young or old, rich or poor, what your ethnicity is, with family or alone. What does matter, what really impacts a person’s chance of survival, is the stress factor,” Randi explains. “From my conversations with other cancer patients while waiting for my husband to finish his radiation and chemotherapy treatments, having financial help for nutrition, food, transportation, and emotional well-being is a must.”

Helping cancer patients acquire these basic necessities is a priority for Bob and Randi. They hope their gifts to the Virtual Needs Pantry Fund will at least ease part of the financial burden faced by some patients and allow them to focus on what’s most important – beating cancer.

To support the University of Maryland Medical Center Department of Radiation Oncology, consider making a donation to the Virtual Needs Pantry Fund. Your gift will provide immediate resources to patients in need.