Cancer Loan Closet needs equipment back for next person

As president of the Dickinson County Cancer Unit Loan Closet, I would like to thank our community for their continued support of our organization. With your monetary and equipment donations, we are able to loan out medical equipment or in the case of those battling cancer, provide dietary supplements, incontinent supplies, cancer-related drug costs and mileage reimbursement for out-of-town doctor’s appointments.

Our equipment inventory includes: wheeled walkers (two- and four-wheel), commodes, shower chairs, transport and standard wheelchairs, crutches, knee walkers, canes and lift chairs. Our non-cancer clients are free to use our equipment for six months. At the end of that time, they must return our equipment. There are no extensions. Our cancer clients are able to utilize our equipment indefinitely, with the exception of lift chairs. Those must be returned after one year for maintenance and cleaning. Again, there are no extensions. If a client believes they may need our equipment longer than the time allotted, they should look into purchasing that item.

This brings me to an unfortunate situation that we have recently encountered. We have a number of clients who, for one reason or another, refuse to return our equipment when it’s due back. We have called these clients many times, written letters and even tried making a visit to a home to pick up a piece of equipment, all to no avail. We aren’t trying to make life difficult for those seeking assistance, but our goal is to help as many people as possible. In other words, we are a “loan” closet, not a “give-away” closet. We do have a give-away section and try to accommodate those outside of our service area or those who may need a piece of equipment longer than anticipated.

Our inventory is becoming increasingly depleted and while our client base has grown, our equipment returns are a serious issue. If you have a piece of our medical equipment that needs to be returned, please return it. It isn’t fair to those who are seeking our help to be denied because we cannot meet their needs. We are here for everyone, but our first priority is to the cancer client. It is very disheartening to turn someone away, for example, because we don’t have a lift chair available.

Our volunteers do a wonderful job and should be commended for their time and effort. All we ask is that our clients understand there are many others looking for the same medical help that they received. We are here to support our community, just as our community has supported us. Thank you.