Group offers helping hand to cancer patients in need

Joseph Michael Chubbuck with his dog, Shadow, in May 2011. Shadow was battling cancer at the time this photo was taken and died in 2012, while Chubbuck was in an intensive care unit fighting his own cancer.

Joseph Michael Chubbuck with his dog, Shadow, in May 2011. Shadow was battling cancer at the time this photo was taken and died in 2012, while Chubbuck was in an intensive care unit fighting his own cancer.

BY JIM HOWE

Central New York cancer patients facing money problems can get some help from a foundation dedicated to a young Rome, N.Y., native who died of a rare and aggressive cancer.

Everything from help with travel expenses to arranging a final holiday meal for a dying patient and her family has been paid for with grants of up to $300 per patient from the Joseph Michael Chubbuck Foundation, based in Rome.

Those grants total about $43,000 and include help to roughly a hundred patients a year, as well as donations to several of Central New York’s treatment centers, such as $1,000 for a special chair in a treatment room at the Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital. The foundation helps residents of Onondaga, Oneida, Madison and Herkimer counties and honors the memory of Joseph Michael Chubbuck, who was diagnosed with a rare, aggressive and unidentifiable form of cancer at age 21 in March 2012, while a student at Utica College and member of the Army National Guard.

Chubbuck in his Army National Guard uniform in August 2011. He was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer in March 2012.

Chubbuck in his Army National Guard uniform in August 2011. He was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer in March 2012.

The cancer, discovered during an emergency appendectomy, held a genetic mutation commonly found in a rare, incurable type of sarcoma. He underwent major surgeries and aggressive chemotherapy treatments at various cancer centers around the country and died in August 2013 at age 22.

Before his death, he asked his family to start a charity to help others facing cancer. The foundation was launched and began helping cancer patients in January 2015.

The aid is often arranged through a medical social worker, such as Chevelle Jones-Moore of Upstate, who says the foundation money has helped numerous patients at the Upstate Cancer Center and the children’s hospital.

“They are very consistent, they are faithful, they are dependable, they are flexible, and they are willing to hear what you have to say, so they can figure out how they can accommodate your needs,” Jones-Moore says of the foundation.

Barbara Chubbuck, Joseph’s mother and the foundation’s vice president, says, “When an individual is fighting cancer, they shouldn’t have to worry about how their monthly bills are going to get paid. Knowing that the foundation can help ease the financial burden of these patients, even a little, makes me feel good. I know it is what my son wanted.”

For more about the foundation, including how to apply for help, go to its website, the jmcf.orgwhich also offers general information and advice for cancer patients.

This article appears in the winter 2018 issue of Cancer Care magazine.

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