Community Connection: Giving Back to Families with Cancer

“The mission of Tricia’s Troops can only be carried out thanks to the compassion and generosity of our community.”

Candice Strong says the launch of Tricia’s Troops Cancer Connection began with the people who surrounded her late sister, Tricia Wright, and family with support while she was going through Stage 4 Colon Cancer that had metastasized to her liver and lungs. Twelve years later, Strong says the legacy of love is never-ending.

“While we still have many of the same core of supporters who helped us create this organization, we have only been able to grow because of the businesses, churches, schools, families and more who have taken the initiative to truly care about those going through cancer,” she says. “Without financial assistance, we wouldn’t be able to provide $100,000 in support to families needing help with their most urgent daily living needs while enduring both a health and financial crisis.”

The non-profit organization focuses on financial assistance, wellness programming and supportive services, resources and supplies for cancer patients and survivors in southeast Wisconsin.

“It is our belief that our whole-person approach to cancer care, by addressing the financial, practical and emotional impacts of a diagnosis, helps local cancer fighters, survivors and their loved ones find strength, hope and peace in body, mind and soul while navigating through a difficult time,” adds Strong.

Tricia’s Troops Cancer Connection was initially based in Oconomowoc in a small office space until moving to their Delafield headquarters earlier this year. Their beautiful 2,700 square foot building now houses mindfulness meditation classes, workout and nutrition classes, a group support room to create strong emotional connections, a private wig room to address the physical side effects of treatment and a storage room for supplies to provide comfort, relief and encouragement for those just beginning to find their way through their new diagnosis.

“We recently had a woman walk in who was looking frail, sad and scared. But when we introduced her to a sassy red wig – that she said made her feel like the Princess Ariel, it was like the flip of a switch and we saw her come alive,” Strong recalls. “As she was leaving, she didn’t just walk out of the door – she waltzed. As special as that was, it was the impact on her husband that meant even more. As she went to the front of our space to see her hair in sunlight, her husband hung back in the hallway with me. Just as she was out of earshot, he hugged me and immediately broke into tears. The man who was so stoic just moments before could barely utter these words to me, ‘“I don’t know the last time I saw my wife smile. There’s been nothing to smile about in a long time,”’ he said.”

Strong says there are so many ways people can help, whether donating a tribute or matching monetary gift, hosting or sponsoring an event, volunteering or fulfilling a wish list.

“Without the donations of the physical items we receive from our wish list, we wouldn’t be able to assemble more than 250 tote bags each year – which offer a sense of comfort, relief and encouragement for those just beginning their treatment.

“We are endlessly grateful to have IPS believing so strongly in our mission, offering such kind support and spreading the word about our cause to inspire others to get involved.”