Impact Report November 2023

Through October,

Crossroads4Hope, A Network of Cancer Support, has increased its reach in people served by 60% as compared to this time last year. The increase reflects our work in vulnerable communities with our community partners throughout the state. To date, we have collaborated on more than 40 outreach events across Union, Passaic, Hudson, Mercer, and Essex Counties.

All of this,

is made possible by the generosity of our donors, so that anyone facing cancer never receives a bill for our programs, service, and interventions that are fundamental to being able to live in the face of cancer.

Thanks to funding from the Margaret A. Darrin Charitable Trust, we were able to hire a bilingual social worker, resulting in better tools and resources to help our Spanish speaking members.

In one instance,

a Spanish speaking family was unable to communicate with their child's doctor or care team and did not understand that their child had a brain cancer- there was no translator available at the hospital where they were receiving care. Crossroads4Hope was able to intervene and provide support that helped to reduce the family's distress, confusion, and anxiety. Our care team developed a tool that outlined a set of common questions that the parents could ask the oncologist about their child's diagnosis. Our support improved their understanding of cancer and enabled them to better advocate on their child's behalf.

Jessica Olivares, our bilingual social worker [pictured right] also established a monthly support group for Spanish speaking patients because of the increased number of referrals to our program from the Trinitas Comprehensive Cancer Center and Health Champion trainings in Elizabeth and Plainfield.

As a result of funding from the Bristol Myers-Squibb and others, we are continuing to roll out and refine our Gladiator Program throughout New Jersey training Health Champions in communities to serve as force multipliers for change.

By the end of 2024,

we will have held five workshops across the state, empowering trusted community members to normalize conversations about cancer, enroll individuals in MyGo2Support, our 24/7 direct to mobile support program, and make referrals to Crossroads4Hope for our wrap around psychosocial support.

Crossroads4Hope is continuing to expand enrollment in MyGo2Support including providing information through our broader outreach efforts and partnerships with health providers on how people can enroll for this 24/7 support.

MyGo2Support is a digital direct to mobile program that proactively closes the cancer care gap. Embedded within this program are weekly subtle screenings using the NCCN distress thermometer and problem list, the PHQ 2 and PHQ 9 for risk for depression, and the Health Leads Social Needs Screening.

There are additional screeners for caregivers and the bereaved. With this information, we can quantify the impact of social determinants of health on those who are impacted by cancer, including access to safe housing, healthy food, health services, childcare and transportation. As an example, after nearly 400 unique patient and caregiver screenings of the active members we serve, "at risk" individuals are being triaged to our social work team for proactive interventions to address the following gaps which are barriers to care and adherence:

22% reported often lacking companionship

11% are worried that they may not have stable housing in the next two months

10% couldn't see a doctor in the last 12 months due to the cost of care

9% faced challenges with transportation to medical appointments, work, and school; the same percentage of people said they needed help reading hospital materials, with 13% of those respondents earning over $100,000 annually

6% had difficulties with childcare, impacting their work and school commitments

To ensure that we have the widest possible use of MyGo2Support, we are currently finalizing enhancements, including the message track for "Previvors" and translation of the program into Spanish, which will be available for implementation in 2024.

With support from The Bayer Fund and others, CR4H’s Support4Families Program addresses psychosocial, psychoeducational, mind body, and wellness programming for children and parents and the community.

The growing complexities within family systems, including mental health and health disparities, continue to create barriers to care that complicate a cancer diagnoses, including: a lack of insurance, access to treatment, transportation, childcare, health literacy, and financial constraints. S4F programs are available nationally, and like our adult programs, are integrated with our larger public health outreach initiative into vulnerable communities.

Within MG2S, CR4H has developed a specific track for parents raising children that delivers tailored messaging delivered seamlessly within their lived environment, whenever they need it. Embedded within the MyGo2Support program is the ongoing, subtle monitoring of distress and risk for depression using validated measurement tools to triage to our social work and child life professionals for intervention response.

In August, we attended the Annual Back to School Extravaganza hosted by the Trenton School District for the second time. At this event, we reached more than 3,000 people, 75% of which were Spanish speaking individuals. We distributed 900 educational kits with developmentally appropriate cancer education tools and connected with 14 community agencies interested in collaboration or referrals.

On October 26th, we held our Annual Cancer on Cancer: Supporting Youth and Families in New Brunswick, NJ thanks to support from the Bayer Fund. This conference is offered to our community, free of charge, to equip schools and community professionals with essential resources and support focused on how to respond when cancer impacts a family.

With funding from the Margaret A. Darrin Charitable Trust, Hillary Sachs, MS, RD, CSO, CDN joined our staff in July and is leading our nutrition programs. She has provided oversight of our Culinary Crossroads Program and has begun to develop stronger relationships in the community as part of our outreach work.

Among others, she is working with Anita Jalloh, a consultant for the Department of Health in Plainfield and Rahway to deliver food box programs alongside nutrition programming in the community. She has spent most of her onboarding time at Crossroads4Hope developing a comprehensive strategy to integrate more virtual nutrition education into our education programs along with in person outreach education programs and food boxes. Crossroads4Hope will begin to offer individual nutritional counselling guided by Hillary Sachs in 2024.

Additionally, we expect the Mark Lipschutz Center for Nutrition and Families to be completed in 2024. This new addition to our Bedminster Campus will provide a fully functional demonstration kitchen where Hillary will be able to hold in person nutrition programs, as well as live stream the content throughout the country. The new space will also house our Support4Families Kids Clubhouse as well as space for our mind-body programs.

Crossroads4Hope is committed to its vision to be THE safe space where a person turns first when affected by cancer to restore one’s whole being and family. We take on the cancer journey with all those who are impacted, no matter who they are, where they live or wherever their journey leads, and thanks to donors like you, no individual or family will ever see a bill.

Thank you for helping us live up to our promise to the community.