CAN Cancer

Mar 04, 2012

This year, thanks to Crystal’s efforts all garbage providers in Salem, though the Mid-Valley Garbage and Recycling Association, are supporting CAN Cancer.

I cannot do everything, but I can do something.

Those insightful words by Helen Keller could easily sum up Crystal and Doug Buchheit’s journey with a project called CAN Cancer.

“It all started a few years ago when I went to a conference on garbage; or as those of us in the business call it, ‘refuse and recycling;’ and learned about a program started in Bend, by a family who had been touched by cancer.”

Crystal and her husband Doug are part owners of Suburban Garbage, a local family-owned business since 1976.

The CAN Cancer idea seemed simple enough...give people the opportunity to support cancer patients in the community who need assistance with non-medical expenses such as food, gas, utility bills, etc.

“When talking to Corinne, one of the founders of CAN Cancer, I could see her passion, and I thought to myself, I wonder if this is something we could do in Salem.”

But then life happened. Crystal was busy raising a family, helping run a business and caring for an ill mother. But something in the back of her mind kept bringing her back to “How can I make this happen in my community?”

Corinne suggested Crystal check with her local hospital to see if they could help. So when Crystal found the courage to pick up the phone and was connected to the Salem Hospital Foundation, CAN Cancer was off and running.

“I was so apprehensive that starting this program would take a huge amount of work, because after all, we are a small family business,” said Crystal. “But when I talked with the Foundation staff and they said, ‘We’d love to help, what can we do?’ it was amazing how it all just fell into place.”

When Crystal learned the Foundation had a fund that provided financial assistance to cancer patients in need, she said she knew CAN Cancer was meant to happen.

Her first step was to educate their employees (haulers). Next she created and printed information pieces, then distribute donation envelopes. The easy-to-use envelopes were mailed out in October with the recycling calendars to all of Suburban Garbage’s approximately 7,000 customers.

“We really didn’t have any idea of the type of response we’d receive,” said Crystal. “And since the envelopes were being mailed directly to the hospital Foundation, I had to wait and see if this was something our customers would be interested in.”

But by the end of May, Crystal had her answer. The Salem Hospital Foundation had received over $6,000 from CAN Cancer donors.

“My mom passed away recently, and she used to make lap blankets for cancer patients going through chemotherapy,” said Crystal. “And I’m so proud that CAN Cancer is turning into a way to honor her, and help others as well.”

All donations are 100 percent tax deductible.

This year, thanks to Crystal’s efforts all garbage providers in Salem, though the Mid-Valley Garbage and Recycling Association, are supporting CAN Cancer.

Salem Health

503-561-5200