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East TN women start 'Peace of Mind at Home' program to help cancer patients

The program is partnering with the University of Tennessee Medical Center Cancer Institute to help as many people as possible.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — A cancer diagnosis is world-changing, and many people who receive it go through chemotherapy. The treatment may stop cancer from becoming lethal, but it can also make even the simplest tasks complicated.

A nonprofit started by East Tennessee women who faced cancer diagnoses in their families is working to help cancer patients who go through chemotherapy find some comfort. It's called the Peace of Mind at Home program, and it recently started working with the University of Tennessee Medical Center Cancer Institute.

"I can remember getting the phone call and, like, falling to my knees — to the ground, falling to my knees, hysterical," said Lauren Anderson.

When she was 29 years old, she learned that her mother was diagnosed with cancer. For six months, she watched her mother battle brain cancer and lung cancer. She and her siblings had to step up emotionally and physically, helping with many household tasks while also bringing comfort to her mother.

"Her being like, 'Oh, there's some hair coming out.' And I'm like, 'Yeah mom. You're good, it's fine. It's fine,'" she said.

Ellen Richey shares Anderson's experiences. Her mother was also diagnosed with cancer, and she had to step and keep her home running.

"My mom was a stay-at-home mom of four children. So, she ran our house. And all of a sudden, that's was my dad's duty to do," said Richey.

Their experiences helped form the Peace of Mind at Home program, alongside Kate Wogoman who also had experiences with a cancer diagnosis.

"What would it look like if we could provide the same stuff we do for-profit to cancer patients at no cost to them," said Wogoman. "We can't heal it. We can't cure it. But we can certainly bring relief."

The program can help patients with their laundry, providing clients and caregivers with four hours of in-home laundry services. They can also declutter spaces like pantries, closets, officers, or garages to make sure patients have more mobility. They can even run errands like picking up prescriptions, dry cleaning or returning items to the store. 

Through the program, they can also simply visit patients and caregivers, giving them comfort during stressful times.  Peace of Mind at Home is partnering with the UT Medical Center Cancer Institute.

In collaboration, the program will help people within a 30-mile radius of the UT Medical Center Cancer Institute.  They will serve people in Knox County, Blount County, Sevier County, Loudon County and parts of Anderson County. 

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