6 CONCORD HOSPITAL TRUST Stronger,Smarter,Kinder MELISSA PAQUETTE ORGANIZED A ROCK ‘ N RACE TEAM TO GIVE BACK. In 2016, Melissa Paquette of Concord got the running bug. She wanted to get healthier and lose weight, so she set a goal of running a 5K race. She ran one race, then breast cancer got in the way. In 2018, after surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy and more support than she ever thought was available at Concord Hospital Payson Center for Cancer Care’s HOPE Resource Center, Melissa walked the Payson Center for Cancer Care Rock‘N Race to say thanks. Melissa, who is 46, organized a team to participate in the 2018 Rock‘N Race, the annual 5K walk/run event in which thousands of people raise money for the HOPE Resource Center.The event, presented by Merrimack County Savings Bank, raised more than $250,000 – including $1,700 from Melissa’s team. “It is my way to give it back,”Melissa said. “They did so much for me, so I need to do a little something in return.” While Payson Center cancer specialists treated Melissa’s disease with the latest techniques and technology, the support specialists at the HOPE Resource Center helped her and her family cope with gaps in insurance coverage and high deductibles, paying everyday expenses, helping with her hair loss, maintaining a healthy diet and the stress of dealing with cancer. Melissa said the extra help, and caring, was a huge relief. “I was feeling sick and scared and trying to save what little energy I had to try to share good time with my children,”she said. Thanks to proceeds from the Rock‘N Race and other charitable gifts, the HOPE Resource Center sent gift cards for groceries, connected Melissa with other resources to help with rent and non-medical expenses and helped sort through piles of insurance claims. Melissa recounted how she mentioned to Payson dietician Megan Ryder that she appreciated the colorful‘chemo’hats available at the HOPE Resource Center, but hoped plain black hats might be available sometime. A couple of weeks later, two plain black hats appeared in her mailbox, from Megan, who had contacted the volunteer who makes them and placed a special order. “Everything has been amazing,”Melissa said.“Not just the level of care, but the ‘above and beyond’and being embraced by everyone, specifically at the HOPE Resource Center. It felt like a safe place. It felt like people genuinely understood what I was going through.” As if she needed confirmation of the extraordinary level of care she experienced, Melissa learned from other patients in an online breast cancer support group that Payson’s medical care and HOPE compassion were not available everywhere.The women, from several states, Ireland and England, often were shocked at the latest technology Melissa described as part of her treatment and fascinated about the comprehensive help she received from HOPE. Melissa is giving back with her Rock‘N Race team, but also by volunteering at Payson Center’s Cancer Survivor’s Day and taking part in clinical trials. She walked the course in 2018, much of it with her six-year-old daughter on her back, but looks forward to running the Rock‘N Race next year and raising more money to help other patients. “This year was the first step to being able to run again,”she said. but hoped plain black hats her mailbox, from Megan, who had contacted the volunteer available at the HOPE Resource Center, available at the HOPE Resource Center,