In 2019, IU Simon Comprehensive Cancer Center staff member Brittney Brightwell was diagnosed with gastrointestinal cancer. She had been working for the IUSCCC for nearly a decade, first as a medical assistant, then later as a clinical assistant where she had more opportunities to interact with patients and their families.
For many patients, Brittney was a smiling face at the IUSCCC door. It was Brittney with whom many patients had their first contact. It was Brittney who secured the records and made sure that the multiple doctors’ schedules were aligned and that laboratory tests would be ready for each visit. And it was Brittney whom patients asked to see before they left those scary initial appointments, just so they could meet the woman with the caring voice who played an important part in trying to make them well again.
Despite several hospitalizations and even as her health declined, Brittney continued to work. Dr. Patrick Loehrer recalled walking out of the hospital with Brittney a short time before she passed away. Though she was deeply jaundiced, she still had her trademark bright smile. Brittney told him that she was still working but had signed up for hospice. She was a working mom with a singular purpose—to help others, for as long as she could. In that capacity, she epitomized the spirit and commitment to the service of all the IUSCCC employees. Brittney was just 31 when she died on Jan. 11, 2020.
The halls of the IUSCCC are filled with stories of many remarkable people on both sides of the examination tables who seek to make all lives a bit more “bright” and all patients “well.” While physicians receive many accolades, the often-forgotten groups are the administrative staff, medical assistants, social workers, nurses, fellows, and other researchers. These wonderful women and men give so much to others, and from time to time, face personal financial stress outside of their control.
With this in mind, Pat and Debi Loehrer have worked with both the IU Health Foundation and the IU Foundation to establish the Bright-Well Fund to provide financial assistance specifically for the IU Health and IU School of Medicine employees who make up the IU Simon Comprehensive Cancer Center. This need is especially amplified with the current pandemic, but there is little doubt that needs will persist for months and years to come.
All employees who work within the IUSCCC—including both IU and IU Health employees — are eligible to receive support from the Bright-Well Fund. Awards are limited to a maximum of $1,000.
Funds will be awarded to offset the impact of emergent or unexpected events that cause a burden on the applicant, such as:
- Being the victim of a crime
- Expenses for an illness
- Natural disaster or fire
- Sudden death in the family
Expenses that may qualify for relief include:
- Temporary need for food or shelter when stranded, injured, or lost because of a disaster
- Temporary inability to be self-sufficient as a result of a sudden and severe personal or family crisis
- Assistance with housing, childcare, or educational expenses because of a disaster
- Need for counseling because of trauma experienced as a result of a disaster or a violent crime
The review process for awards and the distribution of awards is entirely confidential and will be managed by IUSCCC social workers and human resources representatives. Please click on the appropriate application form below.
The purpose of the Bright-Well IU Simon Comprehensive Cancer Center Staff Support Fund is to support cancer center staff enduring personal hardship.
Because the IUSCCC is staffed by employees of both Indiana University and Indiana University Health, gifts to the Bright-Well Fund at the IU Foundation are split evenly with a corresponding fund at the IU Health Foundation, allowing all cancer center staff to potentially benefit from this fund.
Gift amounts and donor information will be shared with the IU Health Foundation. If you prefer your information not be shared, please contact Amber Senseny at 317-278-4510
The Indiana University Foundation solicits tax-deductible private contributions for the benefit of Indiana University and is registered to solicit charitable contributions in all states requiring registration. View IU Foundation disclosure statements