Santa Fe, N.M. – Bud Hamilton, Chair of the Cancer Foundation for New Mexico Board of Directors, today announced the formulation of a Taos Task Force. The goal of the Taos Task Force will be to “create deeper connection between the Cancer Foundation for New Mexico (CFFNM) and the community of Taos along with the communities along the Enchanted Circle, while broadening the understanding of the Foundation’s available support.”

In accepting the position of Chair of the Taos Task Force, CFFNM Board Member Sandra Rolshoven Claymore, of Waterstone Mortgage said, “I have experienced cancer with family, friends, neighbors and colleagues since I was very young. My cousin died of leukemia when she was nine years old in rural North Dakota. Watching the light in her young life leave her body was very traumatizing to me as a ten year old. I remember lying in her hospital bed with her and on the overnights when she could come home from her numerous hospital stays. I am not sure that I will ever get past her loss. My Mother has had colon cancer twice and my Father experienced colon cancer once; they are both survivors to this day. I am sure everyone reading this has been touched in some way by someone with cancer. A member of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, I moved to Taos in 1990 with my six year old daughter Ash Rolshoven Loveless to raise her in a more rural, multicultural community. Taos was our calling, and we have never looked back. I care deeply about the health and support of our community. “

A.  Dion Silva, Regional President, Santa Fe of Enterprise Bank & Trust will also be a member of the Taos Task Force. Dion grew up in El Prado where his Grandpa’s grocery store, Silva’s Food Line, bordered the Taos Pueblo. His Grandpa spoke Tewa, and his customers represented the triad of Native American, Hispanic, and Anglo peoples. Dion reflected on growing up in the rural area in a simpler time; “playing in the backfields, skipping stones in ponds, and splashing in streams with my cousins and Native American kids.” He was steeped in the spirit of “neighbors helping neighbors,” where he called everyone mana (sister) or mano (brother). “What I think the Cancer Foundation wants to be is that neighbor in the community; we want to offer help with nothing expected in return.”

He further shared that his Mother, Irene Silva, was born and raised in Taos. “Years later when she was diagnosed with cancer, I had the good fortune to have an understanding employer who gave me a leave of absence to care for her in her final months. I recognize that not everyone has an empathetic employer and a built-in support network.  Ensuring that every cancer patient in Taos receives the support that they need during their cancer journey motivates me as a Board Member of the Cancer Foundation for New Mexico.”

The Cancer Foundation for New Mexico has as its mission “to help save lives by providing the needed support to enable every northern New Mexican with cancer to access treatment in Santa Fe.” No eligible patient has ever been turned away.

In the past twelve months alone, the Cancer Foundation for New Mexico invested $71,051 in providing services for Taos patients through:

  • Supporting 350 visits from patients from Taos;
  • Reimbursing 134,594 transportation miles from Taos to Santa Fe;
  • Providing 301 lodging nights in Santa Fe for Taos residents;
  • Supplying 310 grocery cards to enable patients from Taos to eat nutritionally while they are undergoing treatment;

Additional services, such as support groups and one-on-one volunteer support during treatment, are also provided regardless of financial need.

In the words of cancer patient Paula Martinez, “I’m a cattle rancher in Taos – I take care of my Dad’s cattle ranch.  One day I was about to walk out to the back pasture when I got a call from my doctor, and he told me I had cancer. The Cancer Foundation for New Mexico has helped me and my family by providing us with gift cards to Albertson’s so that we can buy nutritional foods – fruits and vegetables. It also provides funds for us to travel to my treatment, as it is a financially-draining 54 mile trip coming and going to Santa Fe – what a blessing!”

At the Cancer Foundation for New Mexico, we know that we can do more, and reach more cancer patients in the Taos Community who are in need. Over the next few months we will be creating and disseminating print and digital brochures and information in English, Spanish, and Tewa to reach a broader public. Taos Task Force members will also be meeting with civic, business, and philanthropic leaders to encourage their participation in meeting the essential needs of cancer patients in the Taos area. If you would like to help the Cancer Foundation for New Mexico’s work in Taos and communities along the Enchanted Circle, please visit our website and complete the volunteer form – we would welcome your participation.

Of course, donations are always accepted, and you may designate your contribution to support patients in your community. To make a donation, please click here.