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Cancer patients surprised with Christmas dinner baskets delivered to their door

December 24, 2017 GMT

Douglas County cancer patients got a nice surprise Saturday morning when a Christmas dinner arrived at their door thanks to the Douglas County Cancer Services and about two dozen volunteers.

The volunteers assembled the baskets Saturday morning with turkey, potatoes, gravy, pies and all the fixings to make a complete Christmas dinner. They also included clothing for family members, especially for children.

The boxes were loaded up and delivered to the homes of cancer patients by the volunteers.

Jackie Barnett, the chair of the Douglas County Cancer Services board of directors, organizes the event each year to help those who are dealing with cancer treatments. This year, she said they gave out 48 baskets to patients.

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“The volunteers are wonderful to take time out of their weekend to help pack and deliver (the baskets), and people are asking us if they can help,” Barnett said. “It’s just the whole meaning of Christmas.”

Community donations and grant funds were used to purchase the food. And it’s all to support the cancer patients who are going through treatments, in the spirit of joy and giving.

Becky Duncan, of Roseburg, volunteers every year and said she gets a lot of satisfaction out of helping others.

“People are so thankful to get the food, and it makes us feel so good,” Duncan said.

One of those patients is 74-year-old Maria Chittum, of Roseburg, who is going through her third round of chemotherapy, and had no idea the food was coming for Christmas.

“We’re thrilled. This is amazing, just overwhelming,” she told volunteer Donna Russell, who helped deliver the food.

“We’ll have to invite the neighbors over,” said Maria Chittum’s husband, James Chittum, who has been doing all the cooking since his wife began treatments.

Maria Chittum has been able to do all of her treatments in Roseburg at the cancer center, and she’s pleased that she does not have to travel long distances for the appointments.

“Last year I did 35 radiations,” she said. “They’re wonderful people there, at the Community Cancer Center.”

Ally Gottfried, a dietitian at the cancer center, got both her husband and daughter to come and help with the baskets.

“Feeding people is what I do all year, and especially at Christmas, it’s even more important from the spiritual and family aspects,” Gottfried said. “And when people are going through treatment, this is probably the last thing on their mind.”

Douglas County Cancer Services is a volunteer-driven organization dedicated to providing support and services to Douglas County residents who are undergoing cancer treatment. The group supplies nutritional supplements, wigs, hats, scarves, turbans, blankets, plus bras and prosthesis for patients.

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The patients can get help with rent, groceries and utilities while they are undergoing treatment. The group will even provide gas cards to get to and from cancer treatment appointments.

Douglas County Cancer Services is always looking for donations of new wigs, turbans, hats, scarves, bras and prosthesis to help support the cancer patients who are in treatment there.