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ThriveNV navigation combines care, collaboration and compassion

11 November, 2022

“Knowing someone cares through an encouraging text kept me alive during such an abysmal period of my life,” said Charlie, who was diagnosed with metastatic prostate cancer in 2021. “It was a dark and dismal time for me ... fighting despair and trying to gather hope and resilience in the face of my physical problems.”

Not only was Charlie dealing with a stage 4 cancer diagnosis, but he had also lost his job after he was no longer physically able to work. That led to him losing his housing, too. In short order Charlie was living in his truck, could not walk without severe pain, and was struggling to access the health care and resources he needed to get treatment and take care of his daily needs.

He reached out to ThriveNV’s navigators for help. He was looking for cancer-related support, which he had a tough time finding on his own, and from nurse navigator Amy received much more.

Over the next several months, Amy connected him to support groups, peer support, and resources for medical equipment and financial options. Amy also began working with Ivonne, Charlie’s case manager at Reno community health clinic Northern Nevada HOPES. 

NCC's ThriveNV nurse navigator Amy.

“From that point on, we each helped Charlie and collaborated together to assist him,” Amy said. “I communicated with imaging centers and the medical team to determine out-of-pocket costs and types of imaging or treatment on Charlie's behalf so Ivonne and I could figure out how to get him the care he needed. Ivonne was able to secure funds from NNHOPES to cover imaging fees and find him a place to live.”

“We both made calls to remind Charlie of his appointments, ensure he had resources to get to where he needed to go, and if he didn't, we worked together to think of other options,” Amy added. “We took a ‘divide and conquer’ approach and would circle back with each other for updates.” 

The type of collaboration that Amy and Ivonne used to help Charlie is a part of the ThriveNV model. ThriveNV’s navigators are there to fill in the gaps and support Nevadans who do not otherwise have access to cancer navigation services. The program’s Navigation Network, which includes nurse and lay navigators, social workers, and case managers like Ivonne, leverages the expertise of dozens of people and organizations across communities and the state to create connections for clients to services they may never have found otherwise.

NCC's Cari Herington with Ivonne Veloza, a case manager at Northern Nevada HOPES, Charlie, and the State's Debbie Kawcak. Ivonne received NCC's Unsung Hero award in 2022 for her work with ThriveNV and Charlie.

Those connections landed Charlie a bed in a shelter, temporary housing, and eventually permanent housing.

“Ivonne worked with the Emergency Eviction Prevention Program of Northern Nevada (EEPPNN) who was able to take Charlie's case and find him permanent housing. By the end of May 2022, Charlie had a permanent address!” Amy said.

Charlie said the support he received from Amy and Ivonne saved his life.

“Always the texts,” he said. “’Charlie, I'm here for you and I won’t let you go.’ The nagging texts: ‘Be sure you make your doctor’s appointment. Did you sign up for this or that housing program? Is there anything I can do for you?’ Ivonne saved my life and I don't exaggerate…I'll always think of her as my shining angel.”

Charlie is just one of the more than 250 clients ThriveNV navigators have served since the program launched in 2020. Amy, along with two bilingual navigators based in southern Nevada, work with people who have been diagnosed with cancer, caregivers, other navigators, and community members across the state.

In that time, the Navigation Network has grown too, with more than 90 members working together to connect clients and other navigators with resources to help Nevadans. They do this all while sharing knowledge with each other and demonstrating the power of collaboration and patient navigation along the way.

If you or someone you know has been affected by cancer and needs support or services, reach out to one of our navigators using the form here.

If you would like to support the work of our navigators and help us to keep ThriveNV thriving, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution here.

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ThriveNV has been an amazing program to work with! I live in a rural part of Nevada, which means that sometimes resources are difficult to find. Working with ThriveNV and Amy Thompson made all of the difference. They were able to connect us with resources and eased the burden of trying to piece… Read More

Bre T., Caregiver and Community Partner, Rural

I have been extremely impressed with the professionalism, expertise, and supportive resources that ThriveNV has provided to our community. Additionally, having bi-lingual community partners ensures that our patient population is afforded the communication and support they deserve.

Kim D., Community Partner, Southern Nevada

Jorge, I am so grateful for you and your organization, both do so much for our cancer community. You have shown the utmost respect, knowledge and care towards me and my health. You listen, answer all my concerns and are always ready and willing to assist me. You always take the initiative and… Read More

I.A., Ovarian Cancer, Las Vegas

I am very pleased with the assistance and guidance I received from the patient navigator and ThriveNV. I will definitely refer my family and friends to this service.

R.C.G, Breast Cancer
ThriveNV has become a resource of resources for cancer patients and survivors in the state of Nevada. The patient navigators have been incredibly helpful as we share resources to help patients, caregivers, and medical professionals. The addition of bilingual navigators has been an enormous value-… Read More
Natalie S., Survivor and Community Partner

Nevada Cancer Coalition's [ThriveNV program] is the best resource in Nevada for everything cancer. They are so knowledgeable and willing to assist whenever needed. I always say, ‘I wish every state had this program because the care and knowledge you all have is unmatched!' They are experts at… Read More

Nicole, Community Partner / Patient Navigator

With the help of ThriveNV and the Nevada Cancer Coalition, CHA has been able to stay up to date on patient resources, whether it's cancer prevention or cancer treatment this Coalition knows it all. Throughout the years, we have collaborated on cancer prevention projects and patient navigation. I… Read More

Liz, FQHC Cancer Care Coordinator, Community Clinic Partner, Northern Nevada

Working together with ThriveNV, specifically with Amy Thompson, made all the difference when it came to giving our mutual patient the resources and the help he needed to get back to good health. By having the support and input of ThriveNV, I found the necessary tools to pave a clear and easy… Read More

Ivonne, Case Manager, Community Clinic Partner, Northern Nevada

I have nothing but good things to say about this organization. Starting with the staff, they are caring, friendly, and very knowledgeable! I immediately felt like they were looking out for the best interest of my sick mother. My main contact was Valerie and she provided me and my mother with all… Read More

Grecia, M., Caregiver, Las Vegas