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Bridging a gap

Facing mounting expenses, a patient dealing with ongoing complications of his blood and marrow transplant (BMT) often had to make a difficult choice—whether to pay his mortgage or buy groceries.

Another young patient’s family was about to have its heat turned off because of an outstanding $1,200 bill it had no way to pay.

One man whose cancer came back twice ended up homeless for weeks, either sleeping in a storage locker or wandering the streets, because he couldn’t afford a security deposit for an apartment.

Then the BMT Patient Support Fund stepped in to lend a financial hand. Even relatively small grants have made a huge difference for many patients who have undergone BMTs at the University of Minnesota Medical Center, Fairview and University of Minnesota Amplatz Children’s Hospital, according to the social workers who manage the fund.

It’s all thanks to a gift of $100,000 per year from the Rising Sun Foundation, run by an anonymous Minnesota couple with firsthand BMT experience. The fund provides financial assistance to patients and their families for mortgage payments, food, utilities, insurance premiums, copays, transportation, and additional expenses when other funding is not readily available.

“The disease is bad enough with the scramble to get yourself treated”—without the added financial stressors, says one of the donors.

The donors are grateful for the care they received at the University, and they feel fortunate to have the means to cover their own treatment-related expenses. It only feels right to support others who aren’t as fortunate, one says: “I can help others like me who have been there.”

To learn how you can support patients receiving treatment at the University, contact Cathy Spicola at 612-625-5192 or

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