Organization helps cancer patients pick up the pieces - FOX 26 News | MyFoxHouston

Organization helps cancer patients pick up the pieces

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They met in a hallway inside Memorial Hermann Memorial City Hospital.

"How are you?" Ellen Dettore asked.

A tired, but spunky 67 year old woman name Elizabeth McGalin. "I'm doing good," McGalin replied. "Thank you."

It was their first time to meet. Two women, once strangers, now bonded by "a missing piece."

"If I hadn't had Ellen to get me started, I wouldn't have even been able to start," McGalin said."

Elizabeth McGalin is fighting cancer. McGalin is 67 years old. She doesn't have a family and lives alone. Kind of.

"All I have to depend on is 3 horses, 2 cats and a dog, and I can't even get them to answer the phone," she joked.

Like many Hempstead residents, McGalin lost her job 4 years ago when a car dealership, a major employer in her small town, shut its doors. Money is tight, and cancer is expensive.

"I mean I saw the invoice for that first three day period, and (it was) $10,839 and change," she said. "I get $975 a month. How do you do that?"

That's where Dettore comes in.

"What started it was my heart," Ellen said. "I knew that there's so many 'missing pieces' that a cancer patient goes through."

Find The Missing Piece, an organization that helps cancer patients in financial need, was born from loss.

Dettore lost her husband John to colon cancer almost two years ago. A heartbreak that started with his Stage 4 diagnosis and a move to Houston from Atlanta for treatment has now evolved into a blessing for a woman who wouldn't have otherwise been able to afford chemotherapy.

Dettore started the organization to help patients with the little things.

"I started to see more details of things people needed," she said. "Whether it was food to be delivered, the toll ways to be paid, gasoline in their cars."

But this is big.

The meeting between the two women took place after McGalin's fifth chemotherapy treatment.

She still has more treatments to go through and will continue to make the 140 mile roundtrip from her home to the hospital alone. It's a tough, but appreciated journey.

"I've gotten this far thanks to Ellen," McGalin said. "I'll make it."


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