Cancer Association of Darke County reaches 20-year milestone


GREENVILLE — The Cancer Association of Darke County (CADC) is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year.

The group was formed in September 1995 to provide services to cancer patients who reside in Darke County. It is a local and independent organization that has a board of directors comprised of Darke County residents.

Any Darke county resident with a diagnosis of cancer can receive services of the CADC. Services will begin on the day the agency is contacted.

The purpose of CADC is to give service according to need to cancer patients; to provide information to cancer patients and their families; to provide education in the prevention, detection and treatment of cancer; to give an annual contribution to an accredited research facility and to support other cancer-related projects, which would have the approval of the CADC’s board of directors.

Christine Lynn is the executive director and has been for approximately four years. Board members are Monica Alexander, Delores Beisner, Pam Bowman, Tonya Breymier, Jill Brown, Kay Curry, Tonya Dohme, Marilyn Emmons, Barbara Fee, Dori Howdieshell, Paul Jones DVM, Sharon Lehman, Sherry Marten, Dr. Carlos Menendez, Becky Saylor and Eddie Grace Young. Honorary board members are Bill Benkert, Wanda Rismiller, Verona Smith, LaJeanne Willhelm, Keith Raney, Mary Frances Schultz and Fran Watt. Others working out of the office are volunteer Pat Lemmer as well as volunteer drivers.

Current officers are Howdieshell, president; Lehman, vice president; Dohme, secretary; and Emmons, treasurer. New officers will be taking over Monday. They are Dohme, president; Fee, vice president; Marten, secretary; and Emmons, treasurer.

The association provides reimbursement in support of those battling this illness in the form of transportation, medication, medical supplies, nutritional supplements as well as donated supplies “with no strings attached” to these benefits that have gone directly to the patients.

The services provided by the Cancer Association of Darke County has been made possible through local grants, United Way, memorials, fundraisers and corporate and personal donations from many people in the area who want to help those battling cancer. The fundraisers included special events such as Annie Oakley Golf Tournament, Gourmet Dinner drawing, Christmas poinsettia sales, National Cancer Survivors Day Walk/Run, CADC chicken/pork barbecue, Monte Carlo and Gospel Sing concert.

“We have committees for everything,” Beisner said.

“Youth For Christ this year volunteered for the National Cancer Survivors Day Walk/Run, and volunteered to help whenever we need them,” said Dohme.

Services include assistance after insurance and other benefits with the following items: Transportation, medications, wigs or hairpieces, nutrition supplements provided with a doctor’s prescription monthly support group meetings at Wayne HealthCare and other cancer-related expenses considered on an individual basis. There is also a small lending library in the office.

CADC sponsors the annual health fair for fifth-graders in cooperation with Wayne HealthCare at the Darke County Fairgrounds, and is also involved in the adult health fair, set for next week as well as at various other health-related events.

“We did a First Friday one time uptown,” offered Dohme.

“We make a contribution to Dayton Oncology Research to help out clinical trials for Darke County patients,” Beisner said.

Most importantly, all funds stay in Darke County.

This significant milestone has made a difference in the lives of cancer patients and their families over the years.

Esther Barkley was the CADC’s first executive director, and Emmons and Curry are the only original members.

“The Cancer Association of Darke County evolved from a former cancer group,” said Beisner. “The Darke County office was going to become defunct, and Mary Frances Schultz got us together. We met at the Chamber of Commerce office. Each of us gave money so Esther could pay for office supplies. We had a total of $130 to start the organization and we’ve already given away $1 million in those 20 years.”

“You don’t want to make a lot of women mad,” Curry said. “We were like the blind leading the blind.”

First officers were Mary Francis Schultz, president; Wanda Rismiller, vice president; Keith Raney, secretary; and George Pierron, treasurer. Other members of the board, in addition to the officers, Beisner and Curry, were Bill Benkert, Elma Moss, Ernie Myers, Paulette Shields, Jan and John Slagle, Verona Smith, Millie Stammen, Janet Utz, Fran Watts and LaJeanne Willhelm.

“I went to that first meeting, and that was all it took,” Beisner said, adding, “The backbone of our organization is the Annie Oakley Golf Committee, which always gave money to cancer but gave it to us. It was quite a boost…$12,000. We got $16,500 from them this year and last year, $19,000.”

“Bunco For Boobies donated $28,000 this year,” said Dohme.

The first CADC office was at several locations before taking up space at the Coin-Op building on Walnut Street. It then moved to the East Fourth Street office in the United Way building, before moving to its current location at 1111 Sweitzer St., Suite C, Greenville, in Wayne HealthCare’s Cancer Center.

“When the first office opened, the directors bought some table and chairs, Corning Glass made a contribution and Marv Stammen gave us a desk from Second National Bank” Beisner said. ” Then, when Wayne HealthCare offered us this [space in the Cancer Center], we purchased desks and such to match the ones here.”

The new move also meant an increase in patients, because of its close proximity to the Cancer Center.

“Now, we have 253 actual patients,” Beisner said. “We keep them for five years after their last treatment and then they go inactive.”

“We are getting more patients, plus cancer is terrible,” added Emmons, who noted that breast and prostate cancer are the most prevalent in Darke County.”We average eight to nine patients signing up each month. We had 99 new patients in 2014 and gave out 1,321 cases of Ensure last year, up 285 cases from the year before. We’re busy.”

She went on to report, “We gave out $30,926 in 2000 and $109,000 this past year.”

The two original members, Beisner and Curry, would never have believed this not-for-profit agency would have grown like it did.

“It’s unbelievable,” said Beisner. “I learned a lot especially on a flying trip to Columbus with another lady to do corporate papers. It’s a feeling like you’re doing something for somebody. I don’t know what it would be like to sit behind the desk here like Chris and Marilyn do. It’s satisfying you’ve accomplished something.”

“We’re a lot smarter now,” said Curry. “It’s nice to have a nurse here. Chris [Lynn-executive director] is absolutely wonderful with people. She handles people beautifully. She brings a huge amount of knowledge here with her.”

Additional members of the boards over the years included Connie Stucke, Kathy Greendyke, Kathy Black, Ginny Metzcar, Twila Oldham, Kay Kirby, Betty McLaughlin, Diane Swallow, Pam Fritz, Marvella Fletcher, Becky Saylor, Judy Eikenberry, Monica Alexander, Maureen Foster, Larry Ullery, Rita Arnold, Peggy Sonner, Peg Emrick, Julie Schmitz, Janice Kress, Lynn Bliss, Louise Lucas and Pennie Ullery.

After Barkley moved away, Jan Smith was director for a short time, then Nancy Miller for quite a while, Warren Richards for a couple of years and now Lynn.

Its Cancer Support Group meets every three months at Wayne HealthCare, and generally there is a speaker there.

To celebrate CADC’s 20-year milestone, there will be an open house at the office on Nov. 6 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. There will be refreshments and giveaways.

Those wanting more information about the cancer association may call 937-548-9960, visit at website or email at [email protected]. Office hours are Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

By Linda Moody

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Linda Moody can be reached by calling direct at 569-4315. Be her friend on Facebook by searching her name. For more features online, go to or “like” The Daily Advocate on Facebook by searching Advocate 360.

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