Cancer Patient’s Son Pays It Forward

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Wes Godar (left) presents Kelli Jones and Sharon Lee with $1820 to support the Patient Care Fund. The fund helped his mom Jolene (seated) when she needed financial assistance.

July 20, 2010 – Every once in a while, people are presented with opportunities to help others or “pay it forward.” Often these same people have been the recipients of the kindness of others or may have witnessed it. For Wes Godar pursued his opportunity to pay it forward with a big bang.

Godar had been looking for some way to help local cancer patients after his mom, Jolene, was diagnosed with cancer of the brain and lung. She has been a patient at the Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish St. Peters Hospital since January 2010.

“My mom recently needed a pair of compression socks to help prevent blood clots, but her insurance wouldn’t cover the cost,” Godar says. “Mom couldn’t afford them, so Siteman donated some of their patient care funds to pay for her socks. They helped her when she needed it.”

Registered nurse Kelli Jones is part of Jolene Godar’s healthcare team at Siteman. “Our Patient Care Fund exists only because of the generosity of others,” she says. “We, in turn, use those funds to help patients needing financial assistance with medication, supplies or transportation for treatments. For example, we might be able to help pay for a patient’s pain medication to alleviate or minimize suffering so he or she can focus on recovery and not on the money situation. We do what we can to help our patients who need it.”

Godar, who owns and operates the American Fireworks Stand located off of Bryan Road and Interstate 70 in O’Fallon, Mo., decided to use his business to raise money for cancer patients. He and his co-workers set up a special fireworks display table and donated 50 percent of the proceeds to the Patient Care Fund. He later presented employees of the Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish St. Peters Hospital with a check for $1,820 raised during the 10-day opening of his fireworks stand.

“We had a lot of customers ask questions about why we decided to do it and how they could help,” Godar says. “It was good to see people celebrating the Fourth of July and using it as an opportunity to help others at the same time. It was a win-win for everyone. Our customers raised money that could end up helping their parents, friends, neighbors or maybe even them someday. You just never know.”