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Duke Endowment grant connects rural communities to health care

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The Gibbs Cancer completed a $72 million expansion in March. (Photo/Molly Hulsey)Gibbs Cancer Center is using a grant from the Duke Endowment to improve access to medical care in Cherokee and Union counties. The center also will use the $584,000 grant to provide screenings and early detection education.

The grant focuses on colorectal, breast, cervical, lung and prostate cancers, according to a news release.

Dalla Hill, who runs the Potters Storehouse Food Ministry, which feeds up to 800 people each month, says many of the people she serves go without health care simply because they do not have a way to get to a clinic.

“Many people don’t go to their doctors’ appointments, because they have to ask someone to take them places,” Hill said in the news release. “Oftentimes, they are charged financially for the ride. A patient may need to go to Union or Spartanburg and their ride will cost them $20. Many of them are on fixed incomes or retired.” 

Gibbs Cancer Center community outreach coordinator Kiara Long and community lay navigators are spearheading the efforts with the grant.  

“We want to make sure everyone has the same opportunity, no matter where they live,” Long said in the release. 

The grant helps provide early detection and awareness of cancer care services within Cherokee and Union counties.  Also through the grant, community lay navigators assist residents with transportation for screenings, treatment and oncology visits, as well as other local resources throughout the community. 

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