If you’re one of the 117 million people (about half of the adults in the U.S.A.)* who are currently suffering from at least one of these many chronic diseases, chances are you may be interested in learning about the Chronic Disease Fund. This is a name which has brought hope of improvement in the lives of many. Of course, not every adult sufferer is affected by their particular chronic disease in a way that really damages the quality of their life (at least not yet, while they are still in the initial stages of the illness). But for those who are struggling with life-altering illnesses that drastically reduce their ability to lead a normal life, the permanent need for assistance and living under chronic pain has become a deeply embedded reality. This is what the famous Chronic Disease Fund was created for: to help people in this situation improve the quality of their lives just a bit.
We have referred to this charity program as the Chronic Disease Fund (CDF) above, although this name isn’t accurate anymore. Nowadays, the program is called the Good Days program. Yet, since so many people have become accustomed to calling it the CDF and contributed to spreading its fame under this tag, few of all chronic disease patients have actively started calling it by its new name. The label “Good Days” and Chronic Disease Fund are still used interchangeably in doctor-patient circles, and therefore we will do the same throughout this article.
What is the Chronic Disease Fund?
The Good Days program (formerly known as the Chronic Disease Fund) is a charity which has been rated as number 48 on the Forbes Top 50 list for charities as of December 2014, with a revenue of $238 million. The organization is publicly represented by its CEO and Executive Director Clorinda Walley, who stepped up to take the lead of the whole thing in late 2013, when the CDF’s founder, Michael Banigan, stepped out of the position. This NGO was created to fill an ever-developing niche: helping people afford their prescribed drugs while also struggling with other daily life management costs.
Unlike what you may think at a first glance, the CDF doesn’t primarily target only poor, uneducated and lower class people who are chronic diseases patients. If you take a look at the interviews and cases outlined on their main website, you will notice that even the kind of people with higher education, a middle class background and sound career and retirement plan choices may find themselves financially overwhelmed by the costs of dealing with chronic disease. We don’t mean to make it sound as if the poor people who didn’t manage to tick all of these ‘right’ boxes are somehow to blame for their situation or for requiring help: all we mean to say is that the people helped by the Good Days program come from varied backgrounds and that there isn’t, and should not be, any stigma associated with the position of needing a bit of help.
To present all of the sides to the story, we should also mention that the CDF has not been free of controversy over time: especially at the end of 2013, when it also changed leaders, the fund was under some scrutiny for its association with Questcor Pharmaceuticals, a pharmaceutical giant, which was under scrutiny itself at the time. Still, the controversy didn’t reveal any big secret: it has long been known that all of these donation-based health charities benefit mainly from large pharmaceutical companies. After receiving the huge donation checks from these benefactors, the charities in return purchased the drugs they give their patients from the main benefactor(s), which made the whole charitable act just another way for the company to boost its profits.
We would argue that, despite these well-known facts, which, indeed, do not cast a positive light on the activities of the big pharma companies, on the side of the NGO workers and on the side of the patients, things look different. The money is used to buy approved and prescribed drugs, which the patients truly need, and the help given extends to far more than the drugs or related financial assistance (the NGO also pays doctors to consult and care for their patients). The Good Days program has actually managed to become a true support network for millions of people struggling with the devastating personal, emotional and financial effects of debilitating chronic diseases, and our point is that these facts should outweigh the funding companies’ questionable ethics. It doesn’t matter so much where the money comes from, when the Chronic Disease Fund genuinely helps so many people.
How to Benefit from the Chronic Disease Fund
If you or a loved one are suffering from one of the many life-altering chronic diseases, you know that this condition affects the quality of your life in more ways than one. First of all, the affected person’s ability to work becomes drastically reduced. Second of all, their disease management costs tend to rise and rise as the illness progresses, making it close to impossible to comfortably handle all the involved aspects (both medicine and nursing care or assistance). The Chronic Disease Fund offers help with the exorbitant insurance co-pays so they can get access to the drugs and medical care they need without needing to renounce the other daily comforts needed (such as general living costs or specialized assistance).
If you’re in the situation of paying highly expensive insurance co-pays and would like to apply for some financial and social assistance yourself, you can get all the information you need about the application process on the NGO’s official website. We should mention that you are only qualified to apply for the financial assistance of the CDF if you are already insured, unfortunately. Hopefully, with the new Obamacare program, everyone will be able to obtain at least a minimal level of insurance no matter how reduced or non-existent their income is. Another thing worth noting is that, as mentioned above, the assistance offered by the Good Days program extends to far more than simple financial assistance: it also includes a bit of help from CDF volunteers in the daily activities, as well as counselling, emotional support, group talk sessions and so on.
The point of the whole program is to offer chronic disease patients experience as many Good Days as possible without too many material sacrifices needed in order to get the drugs they need to alleviate their suffering. The secondary goal is to help a long-term personal relationship both with patients and their families and with the doctors who get involved in the program as well, effectively creating a support network around those struggling with chronic diseases, so no one feels alone in this. To get started on your application process, you can either browse online through their website (linked in the paragraph above) or directly call 972-608-7141 and talk to one of their representatives as soon as possible and let them guide you.
How to Lend a Hand
If you’re not reading this article because you require help yourself, but instead you’d like to lend a hand yourself to alleviate the suffering of those in need, then let us assure you that we can’t think of a better place to do that than the Chronic Disease Fund. You can donate following the same link as above (to get to their webpage), and even though you probably won’t be able to afford the same level of donating as one of the big pharma companies, rest assured that every step counts and your contribution, no matter how small, will make the life of a suffering person at least a little bit better. If you’re willing to get involved even more, you should know that there are countless other ways in which you can make a difference at CDF besides donating directly. By signing up to be one of their volunteers, you can work directly with the affected chronic disease patients by helping them in their daily activities, by providing comfort through talking, by helping out with a few daily errands perhaps, or simply by mediating the interactions between the program’s patients and its medical practitioners.
Good Days from the Chronic Disease Fund also has a strong and well-maintained social media presence, so last, but not least, we’d like to end this in-depth presentation by recommending you to follow them on Facebook and Twitter. Not only do they usually post important updates regarding how they conduct their activities, but they also often post useful scientific-backed information about chronic diseases and the care needed by those who suffer from one or more of them. Living with chronic diseases is, as we’ve mentioned before, quite a struggle, but thanks to NGOs such as the Chronic Disease Fund (Good Days), things can be just a little bit turned for the better, one step at a time.
*According to the U.S. Government’s CDC (Centre for Disease Control and Prevention), http://www.cdc.gov/chronicdisease/overview/