By Nancy Gay
Folding laundry fresh from the dryer may seem mundane, but for patients and caregivers at Moffitt Cancer Center the household chore put a sense of normalcy back into their lives.
When Susie Strow first came to Moffitt in May 2015 life was anything but normal. She had been feeling achy and fatigued for a while. In fact, she could only eat about two tablespoons of food before feeling full. The pain eventually got so bad, she told her husband she had to go to the Emergency Room but was scared that she would never come back home.
Doctors diagnosed Strow with stage 4 Non-Hodgkin lymphoma. She had a tumor the size of a cantaloupe near her spleen and fluid filled her lungs. She underwent six rounds of intense chemotherapy and spent many nights at Moffitt.
She and her husband live about 90 minutes away from Tampa, which made it difficult to go home and wash their clothes. Fortunately while she was hospitalized, one of Susie’s sisters stayed in a nearby hotel that had a washer and dryer. She would take the Strow’s laundry back to the hotel and bring back fresh, clean clothes. Strow’s husband wondered how other patients and caregivers wash their clothes if they didn’t have a relative nearby.
The answer revealed itself when Strow’s family took a tour of Moffitt and nurses showed them a washer and dryer on the fifth floor that they could use if they needed it. The washer and dryer were free, but patients and caregivers had to bring their own laundry detergent. When her family returned from the tour, they mentioned the washer and dryer and came up with the idea of providing laundry detergent and dryer sheets as a way to give back.
That Christmas the Strows asked friends and family to give them boxes of ALL Free and Clear detergent and dryer sheets in lieu of presents. The family chose to request ALL Free and Clear so cancer patients would be able to wash their clothes with the detergent and dryer sheets as well. They donated all of the items to Moffitt to give patients and caregivers the opportunity to wash their clothes without having to go out and buy detergent.
After the first detergent donation, Susie told nurses to let her know when they were running low and she would ship more detergent or bring it with her when she had an appointment. She usually donated detergent every two months.
It’s been three years since Susie’s diagnosis and she is doing well. Her cancer is in remission and she comes back to the cancer center every six months for a checkup.
Nobody can say for sure how much detergent the Strows have donated over the years, but they say they plan on donating detergent forever.
If you’d like to learn more about becoming a patient at Moffitt, call 1-888-663-3488 or complete our new patient registration form online. No referrals are necessary.