PRESIDENT'S MESSAGE

 Hello Friends,

It’s been an exciting few months at The Assistance Fund. In case you missed it, be sure to check out our 2018 Impact Report. In 2018, we experienced a 30% increase in donations from 2017, allowing us to provide more support and resources to patients. Since our inception, we have supported more than 78,000 patients – in 2018 alone, we assisted more than 36,000 patients. The breadth of disease states we now cover has increased tremendously; we opened 14 new programs in 2018. Read more in the full report .

This past summer, we opened a Washington, D.C. office, which is home to members of our
communications, advocacy and philanthropy teams. Washington D.C. is a nonprofit hub, and having a second home there will allow us to develop relationships with like-minded patient advocacy groups and nonprofit organizations. Best of all, our Washington presence will enable us to more effectively advocate on your behalf.

As you know, 2020 Reenrollment is upon us! This year, to better serve you, we are reenrolling people in two groups, which are organized by disease programs. Your 2020 reenrollment dates are dependent on whether you are in the Purple or Teal Reenrollment Groups. Visit www.tafcares.org/reenroll to see whether your disease program fall under Group Purple or Group Teal. You can read more about reenrollment below. Have additional questions? Give us a call on our dedicated reenrollment phone number: (855) 927-0898.

Have a great fall and a wonderful holiday season!
 
Sincerely,

Mark McGreevy
President and CEO
2018 IMPACT REPORT
2018 was a year of great progress for TAF. We provided $151 million in assistance to over 36,000 people and opened 14 new disease programs. Read more in our 2018 Impact Report, which features a few of the many amazing patients and health care providers we work with:  https://bit.ly/2KL4xUo.
WE'RE GROWING!
Programs Opened in 2019

  • Acute Myeloid Leukemia
  • Breast Cancer 
  • Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia 
  • Gout
  • Hypophosphatasia (HPP)
  • Lambert-Eaton Myasthenic Syndrome (LEMS)
  • Lysosomal Acid Lipase Deficiency
  • Neuromyelitis Optica Spectrum Disorder (NMOSD) 
  • Paroxysmal Nocturnal Hemoglobinuria (PNH)
  • Prostate Cancer 
  • Pulmonary Fibrosis
  • Pulmonary Hypertension

View a full listing of all of our 
programs.
WATCH NEW VIDEO FEATURING CAROL, A TAF PATIENT

Sometimes life can take an unexpected turn. When TAF Vice President of Operations Danielle Vizcaino boarded a plane two years ago, she was seated next to a lovely woman living with Parkinson’s Disease.

Danielle and Carol shared a wonderful conversation during the flight and exchanged contact information. Soon after, Carol applied for TAF assistance when she learned she could no longer afford her monthly medication costs.

Watch the story of Carol and Danielle’s reunion.
ON THE ROAD
CONFERENCE ATTENDANCE
Over the past few months, the TAF team has participated in several conferences across the country, where we’ve enjoyed connecting with patients in person. 

By attending these events, we are able to glean a better understanding of the challenges patients and families face and spread the word about how TAF can help.
PROTECT YOURSELF THIS COLD AND FLU SEASON

For patients with chronic medical conditions, including cancer and diabetes, the months between October and April when cold and flu season peak can be particularly tricky. But taking proper precautions can go a long way in avoiding the flu.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) , the flu has caused 9.3 million to 49 million illnesses, between 140,000 to 960,000 hospitalizations, and between 12,000 to 79,000 deaths annually since 2010. And while the cold and flu are both respiratory infections caused by viruses and have overlapping symptoms, t here are ways to tell the difference between the two . For example, the flu will come on more suddenly and is usually accompanied by a fever. Aches and chills are a very common flu symptoms, but happen less frequently with colds.

You can reduce your risk of contracting the flu and developing flu-related complications with a yearly flu vaccination. September and October are usually the ideal times to get flu shots before the flu season begins, but it’s never too late. The CDC recommends regular annual flu vaccinations for everyone ages six months and older. And the CDC notes that flu shot protection is critical for patients living with:

  • Asthma
  • Blood disorders, such as sickle cell disease
  • Chronic lung diseases, such as cystic fibrosis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • Cancer
  • Diabetes and other metabolic disorders
  • Heart disease
  • Kidney and liver disorders
  • Obesity
  • Anyone with weakened immune systems due to leukemia, HIV/AIDS
  • Anyone undergoing chemotherapy for cancer treatment or receiving chronic corticosteroids to suppress the immune system

Each year, the flu vaccine is updated by scientists to ensure optimal protection against circulating viruses. For patients who cannot tolerate a flu shot, the nasal vaccine may be an option, but for others with certain medical conditions, this might not be the best choice. Speak with your physician to find out what's right for you.

And when it comes to staying healthy during cold and flu season, you can literally take matters into your own hands: wash your hands frequently with warm water and soap to reduce the risk of transmitting both the cold and flu viruses. Get plenty of sleep and follow a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables to bolster your body’s immune system. Stress can also tax your body’s natural immune defenses, so try reduce your stress levels through relaxation techniques, like meditation, deep breathing or yoga.

The bottom line: Riding out cold and flu season doesn’t have to be a stressful time. Timely vaccinations and simple, healthy choices that benefit you year-round are key to making sure colds and flu don’t wear you down this year.
PURPLE PRO: TEAL ANDERSON
What is your favorite thing about your job?

I enjoy the diversity of TAF staff members. We share cultural traditions with each other. I am able to grow as a person from the experiences.

What are some of the most common questions you receive?
In my role, I process all incoming mail. Leadership wants to be kept abreast of the types of documents we receive and the volume, so they can plan staff accordingly.

What three words best describe how to be successful at your job?

Accuracy, speed and efficiency.

What have you learned while working at TAF?

I've learned that there are so many rare diseases that most people don't even know about and once they are diagnosed, they don't know where to seek help with their medical expenses.

How are you trying to improve the patient’s experience?

I work efficiently to process each document. This speeds up the determination of support for patients so TAF is able to notify them quickly, relieving some of their stress.

Could you describe what it’s like to work at TAF?

It is fun and exciting, but very busy.

GET THE LATEST NEWS FROM TAF

You don't want to miss TAF's updates and news! Be sure to add info@tafcares.org to your address book to receive our messages.
2020 REENROLLMENT OPENING SOON!

This year, to better serve our patients, we are reenrolling people in two groups, which are organized by disease programs. Patients' 2020 reenrollment dates are dependent on whether they are in the Purple or Teal Reenrollment Groups. Patients may visit www.tafcares.org/reenroll to see whether they belong to Group Purple or Group Teal.

  • Reenrollment Group Purple Dates: Nov. 4 to Nov. 22
  • Reenrollment Group Teal Dates: Dec. 2 to Dec. 20

On Friday, Oct. 18, you should have received an email with 2020 Reenrollment directions, including options to reenroll by text, email, online, QR code and paper application. If you haven't already, you will receive a postcard in the mail with the same information soon. Questions? Give us a call on our dedicated reenrollment phone number: (855) 927-0898.
PATIENT PROFILE:

MICHAEL,
MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS
Michael, from Spokane, Washington, is enrolled in our Multiple Sclerosis Copay Program. Multiple Sclerosis (MS), an autoimmune neurodegenerative disorder of the central nervous system, attacks the tissue lining the brain and spinal cord, affecting memory function and mobility. More than 400,000 men and women in the United States have MS; the disease often strikes during their peak years.

DIAGNOSIS

Several years ago, Michael was on a tour of
the local Boeing plant when he lost all feeling
in his legs and collapsed. Young, healthy,
newly married and earning a degree in
aerospace safety from a local community
college, his MS diagnosis came as a complete surprise. Michael quickly learned the complexities of having MS.

LIVING WITH MULTIPLE
SCLEROSIS

Michael began a regiment of injections every
other day. Ten months after the start of his
treatment he was bedridden.

He moved from Seattle to Spokane,
Washington to be closer to his family, and to
receive help with his care. Then in 2017,
Michael suffered Trigeminal Neuralgia on the
right side of his face. This condition affects the trigeminal nerve that carries sensation from the face to the brain. Simple tasks such as a person brushing their teeth can trigger a jolt of excruciating pain.
For treatment, Michael turned to stereotactic
radiosurgery, known as the Gamma Knife, a
procedure that uses computer imaging to
direct highly focused beams of radiation
where the trigeminal nerve exits the brain
stem. This causes the slow formation of a lesion on the nerve, disrupting the transmission of sensory signals to the brain stem.

HOW TAF HAS HELPED

Medical expenses, as well as the stress of
managing a chronic condition, piled up.
Michael applied to the Multiple Sclerosis
Copay Program for assistance and was
accepted soon after. Now, thanks to support from TAF, Michael lives a healthy lifestyle and remains upbeat about the future despite the daily challenges of managing his condition.

"The copays for my medication are $1,600
month. If it weren’t for The Assistance Fund,
I wouldn’t be able to get my medication.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart.”

ADVICE TO OTHERS

"I would say never give up. I try to stay
positive. I exercise at the YMCA and work
with my physical therapists. You need to
stay busy and try not to think about your
illness ."
DONATE TO TAF WITH AMAZON SMILE!

Looking for an easy way to give back this holiday season? If you use Amazon your holiday shopping, please use Amazon Smile and choose The Assistance Fund, Inc. as your charity . For every qualified purchase on smile.amazon.com , Amazon will donate 0.5% of your purchase to us — no extra fee will be added to your purchase!
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