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Amy Umble is health reporter for The Free Lance-Star

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A link for cancer patients

Sharon Caldwell

To illustrate the work that her organization does, Sharon Caldwell told the story of a woman who walked into a hospital accompanied by her disabled son. The woman told the doctors that she just didn’t feel well. It turns out that she had end-stage cancer and three weeks to live.

“How that woman kept going I don’t know, but she did, and it’s because she was caring for her son,” Caldwell said.

One of the hospice workers at the hospital called LINC, or the Legal Information Network for Cancer. Based in Richmond, LINC has a network of 130 attorneys and 40 financial planners who volunteer to help cancer patients, said Caldwell, the organization’s outreach and education director. Caldwell was the guest speaker last week at the quarterly symposium for cancer patients, sponsored by the cancer program at Mary Washington Healthcare.

The woman had made no arrangements for the care of her son, so LINC dispatched one of its attorneys to meet with her. The attorney helped the woman put in place all the things that would be necessary for her son to live in her house and be cared for until he died.

Later, when someone from LINC called the woman to see how she was doing, the woman said, “I feel empowered. I feel like I can go ahead and leave.”

LINC offers this kind of free legal work, as well as free debt management and community referrals, Caldwell said. The organization serves cancer patients and their families, survivors and caregivers. Other examples of its work include help with drawing up wills, assistance with public benefits, including Social Security, and dealing with insurance companies to get them to cover the cost of treatments.

“We want people to feel that they are in control of their lives, not the cancer,” Caldwell said.

LINC’s web site can be found here.


  • LarryG

    Thanks for the education. I was/am clearly ignorant on this end of things and thanks to the folks who help out in this area.