KANSAS CITY, Mo. (August 4, 2014) A local foundation that will provide financial support to head and neck cancer patients has received its nonprofit status, and also hired its first executive director. The HNC Living Foundation will provide financial aid for head and neck cancer patients during or after treatment to help improve their recovery and quality of life.

HNC Living Foundation is the brainchild of Teresa and Tom Walsh, co-owners of Lenexa-based Silpada Designs. In 2013, Teresa was diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma in her jawbone and underwent treatment at The University of Kansas Cancer Center. Throughout her treatment and recovery, Teresa and Tom experienced the impact of head and neck cancer, not just physically, but emotionally and financially. The Walshes recognized the real need in the Kansas City area, and across the country, to help head and neck cancer patients who may struggle with significant financial needs.

In December, they formed HNC Living Foundation to provide financial assistance for head and neck cancer patients to improve their treatment, recovery and quality of life. Last month, HNC Living’s 501(c)(3) application for nonprofit exempt status was approved and, the Walshes hired the organization’s first executive director, Chris Uithoven, in June. The Walshes commitment to the success of the Foundation is both personal and financial – they have established a $500,000 endowment for HNC Living.

Head and neck cancers include those found in the mouth, throat, sinuses, nasal cavity, larynx, salivary glands, thyroid and parathyroid (any part of the head and neck except the brain and eye.) According to the American Cancer Society, more than 118,000 new cases of head and neck cancer will be diagnosed this year. Dr. Terry Tsue, physician-in-chief for The University of Kansas Cancer Center, says head and neck cancers are increasingly diagnosed in people at a young age, including nonsmokers and nondrinkers. This is due to the human papillomavirus (HPV) which is now a leading cause of oropharyngeal cancer in the U.S.

The Foundation has recently funded the purchase of a specialized massage table for lymphedema therapy for head and neck cancer patients treated at The University of Kansas Cancer Center and granted funds to locally-based Cancer Action to support their direct assistance programs for head and neck cancer patients. “We want to demonstrate, early on, our commitment to helping those in need get the necessary treatments that can truly impact their quality of life.” said Teresa Walsh. “While we’re starting local, we are becoming a national resource by partnering with National Cancer Institute-designated cancer centers across the country. Our promise, in expanding nationally, is that money raised in any community will be granted back to assist patients in need in that community,” Tom Walsh added.

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For more information about HNC Living Foundation, please call Chris Uithoven at 913-402-6028 or email Chris@HNCLiving.org