Unified4Kids is a cooperative community support program for kids with cancer, and the best thing about it is how it is going to enable everyone to make a meaningful impact in what has to be the most unjust disease process in the known universe.

We don’t treat kids with cancer in Lynchburg, because we don’t have pediatric oncology here. That means every kid with cancer in our town has to go out of town for treatment. And that’s by definition a pain in the ass. It means travelling. And needing a place to stay. And missing out on life at home.

It also means it’s hard for the providers here in town to help. We generally don’t have any idea what is going on. If one of these kids gets sick and has to come to the ER, we have no records, no connection to the people directing the care.

We are going to change that.

It also means that any support system for these kids and their families is also located at a remote site.

So we are going to change that too.

The program is split into two arms: treatment and support. On the treatment side, we have a very simple but extremely effective communication system (QliqSOFT) that will enable us to connect those distant providers and the local docs, as well as nurses and pharmacy and everyone else involved, and parents and other caregivers, too. We will be able to make important records and lab results and treatment specifics readily available to all, and be able to quickly and effectively discuss issues. We will also be able to send providers to the kids, as opposed to having them come to the hospital or an office, keeping them at school or activity or home. We will be able to let them just be kids as much as possible.

On the support side, our assets are already tremendous, and they are growing daily. Our town has no shortage of talent and capability; it’s all about getting the right stuff to the right people, and every kid and every family is different. Whether it is help at home (HumanKind), school (tutoring support by VES), mind (Wyndhurst Counseling), spirit (Interfaith Outreach), we can connect families to the help they need. The YMCA, American National Bank, Flint Construction, on and on. I am using MoveUP to build a cooperative transportation system for kids (you had to see that coming…).

It’s a full-court press.

This entire program – in fact the concept itself – is made possible by Mustaches4Kids, which raises money for local children’s programs. It is about the money, and yet its not the money. I know, as usual, I am confusing you. But as usual, life is complicated…

Look at the ability to provide mobile care. It is unheard of, simply because insurance won’t pay for it. So even if it’s $75 and the treatment plan is $30,000 a month, we “can’t” send a phlebotomist to a patient’s house. Well, no more of that nonsense, because M4K is breaking down those barriers. There will be no cost to patients for any of this. And then we will be able to show that this is actually better in every way. Beyond being better for the patient and family, it will lead to better outcomes, and lower costs. It’s a win-win-win.

Last week, the American Cancer Society endorsed U4K. It’s hard to explain the significance of that, and in fact I am still trying to get my head around it. But for sure it means we cannot fail – we will not fail. But I am not worried, because cooperatively, there is nothing we can’t do.

Do get more information or to enroll, send a email to U4K@UnifiedPotential.org.

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