It's not unusual for cancer patients and their families to be in a constant state of “coping.” They cope with the side effects of treatment and realities of mortality. They cope with simply trying to get through the day.
Often, simple activities of daily living take a back seat to the priorities pushed front and center by a patient who is exhausted and in need of constant care and support.
Unfortunately, this means nutrition, a critically important part of cancer care, is no longer a focus. Additionally, family meal time and feeding young children can be difficult when patients are too weak to assist in meal preparation.
Eisai Inc., a pharmaceutical company based in Woodcliff Lake, in collaboration with community organizations including CancerCare, is focused on putting cancer patients, and their most basic needs, first.
“Patients [and their families] are the center of everything we do,” explained Teresa Cronin, director of Corporate Advocacy at Eisai.
“We know nutrition can often become an issue for cancer patients when they are going through treatment. We wanted to help alleviate some of the stress,” she continued. “Magnolia Meals at Home is a program that allows families facing cancer to enjoy quality time over a meal without the stress of meal prep. It provides a little bit of daily respite for families.”
Magnolia Meals at Home is a free community program. There is no financial criteria requested at the time of application and there are no complicated forms to fill out. The enrollment process in New Jersey is managed by CancerCare.
Kathy Nugent, director of CancerCare’s New Jersey Chapter, said that since the meal delivery program’s founding by Eisai in 2013, more than 1,700 people have been enrolled by CancerCare and served by Magnolia Meals at Home in the communities around Woodcliff Lake, Andover, Mass., Raleigh-Durham, N.C., and New Haven, Conn., and some areas of New York, New Hampshire and Boston.
“The goal is to help patients cope day-to-day and to manage their families. Many patients who are going through chemo and radiation are exhausted,” Nugent said. “When they aren’t up to shopping and cooking, Magnolia Meals ensures their families can still have a good meal even though they aren’t feeling well.”
Eligible participants in the program will receive:
In New Jersey, CancerCare manages participant enrollment. Once eligibility is determined, the participant and family will be connected the local Meals on Wheels America chapter. Meals on Wheels then contacts the participants to set up meal delivery on a schedule and handles the actual transport and delivery of the food. Unlike traditional Meals on Wheels deliveries, Magnolia Meals are frozen.
“Every meal is labeled there is no guesswork for the patient and family. The frozen meals are delivered and can be stored and thawed daily,” Nugent explained.
To learn more about enrolling a cancer patient and family into the Magnolia Meals at Home program or about any other CancerCare program including support groups in New Jersey, call 201-301-6809.
Eisai’s mission is a strong focus on what the company refers as “hhc.” The company chooses to focus first on patients and their families by developing drugs for diseases with significant unmet medical need. Nowhere is this more compelling than in oncology, one of Eisai’s long-standing therapeutic areas of focus since 1987. (The company also has a major focus in developing drugs that treat dementia-related diseases and neurodegenerative diseases.)
Eisai is on the forefront of cancer treatment with two oncology products, Lenvima and Halaven. These drugs, currently on the market, are used to treat types of metastatic breast cancer, soft tissue sarcoma, differentiated thyroid cancer (RAI-refractory DTC) and advanced renal cell cancer (RCC).
“One of the unique things for Eisai is that two of our marketed products, Lenvima and Halaven, were internally discovered products, which serves as testimony to the commitment that we have in research and development to bring oncology patients new medicine,” said Shaji Procida, president and COO of Eisai.
Going forward, Eisai has a diverse in-house pipeline of oncology compounds in development and several more about to begin clinical trials.
“At Eisai, our employees know there is a huge corporate emphasis placed on socializing with cancer patients and spending quality time with them,” Cronin said. “We want employees to learn about our patients’ realities.”
For this reason, Eisai employees are encouraged to participate themselves by making Magnolia Meals at Home deliveries to cancer patients and their families. Currently, the program is available to residents of Bergen and Essex counties as well as some towns in Passaic.
“The stories our employees relate after coming back from meal delivery are truly inspirational,” Cronin added. “A lot of time the patients are alone most of the time, so the visit can really make a difference in someone’s day.
“For Eisai, we know that we are truly making a difference by touching patients. Our employees naturally feel more compassionate and, we find, are more focused on getting their work done. We are so proud that our mission encourages employees to go out there, make a difference and bring what they’ve learned back so they can use it in their daily work.”
To learn more about enrolling a cancer patient and family into the Magnolia Meals at Home program or about any other CancerCare program including support groups, call 201-301-6809.