This month we thank longtime volunteer, Omar, who learned about Camp Sparkle, our week-long summer camp for kids who have been affected by cancer, and offered to host the kids at his farm. Since then, he and his wife Mona have graciously hosted a Camp Sparkle field trip every year at their farm in Monroe, WA. Imagine spending a gorgeous summer day on a rural farm, exploring and playing with all the barnyard animals. Our lucky Camp Sparkle kids rank this trip as one of their favorites, bringing their sunglasses and swimsuits to camp for a day of fun in the countryside. They get to pet and feed horses and goats, play big field games and water activities, and enjoy delicious homemade, wood-fired pizzas for lunch. One year, there were baby lambs to feed and cuddle. The whole neighborhood gets involved, inviting the kids to visit their nearby farms to see even more animals. Pictured with Omar and Camp Sparkle (left) are volunteers Stephen Thomas and Leslie Dolan.
Omar’s passion for cancer patients and cancer awareness doesn’t end at hosting the Camp Sparkle field trip. In his current position as Healthcare Specialty Supervisor for the Pacific Northwest Region for Walgreens, he ensures his specialty pharmacies provide a different level of service for cancer patients and patients with other chronic diseases, like Multiple
Sclerosis, HIV, arthritis, and for individuals undergoing organ transplantation; his pharmacy team is specifically, clinically trained to manage these patients’ needs. “For many of our team members, cancer hits home and they take it personally,” Omar shared. His technicians stay in frequent contact with patients, checking in about medication changes, side effects, and any other needs they may have. Additionally, technicians check for funding options daily to reduce the cost of prescriptions for patients in their care. The team offers copay assistance and financial assistance, even patients whose insurance is contracted elsewhere; for these patients, the technicians set up their copay assistance, get the medication approved through the insurance, assist the doctor with prior authorization, and search for financial support. Only when all the legwork is complete is the patient sent to pick their medication up at a competitor. Omar stated, “The words ‘sorry, we don’t take your insurance, go away’ don’t exist in our terminology.” He continued, “We don’t turn anyone away.”
A focus on empathy and patient-centered care helped develop a new Walgreens initiative, a collaboration between pharmacy and beauty to support cancer patients during their treatment. March 1st is the nationally launch date of the Feel More Like You initiative, which aims to care holistically for the needs of cancer patients, with both the clinical and pharmacological expertise of the pharmacists and the product knowledge of cosmetic beauty consultants. This initiative helps cancer patients find beauty products that they can use to feel beautiful and deal with side effects. Omar shared, “We’ve taken it on ourselves to help patients dealing with cancer and cancer treatment achieve that goal of looking good and feeling good.” From sharing his beautiful farm with children affected by cancer to helping cancer patients feel more like themselves throughout treatment, Omar has been a dedicated and valued supporter of Cancer Pathways and our mission to face cancer together.
Thank you, Omar!
*If you want to contact the specialty pharmacy, call 206-751-1345. To learn more about Feel More Like You, walk into any Walgreens retail store or call one of the community-based specialty sites (number above).