OCHS Gets $100k Gift For Integrated Diabetes Program

by William F. Galvin
Harwich Select Board member Michael MacAskill, Lilly Lashar, John Lashar, and Scott Butcher serve on The Lillylulu Foundation board of directors. FILE PHOTO Harwich Select Board member Michael MacAskill, Lilly Lashar, John Lashar, and Scott Butcher serve on The Lillylulu Foundation board of directors. FILE PHOTO

HARWICH – Outer Cape Health Services, Inc. has received a major gift from The Lillylulu Foundation to establish an integrated and collaborative endocrine program to address Type One Diabetes. The local nonprofit foundation contributed $100,000 to get the program started.

The program seeks to target underserved and underfunded areas by linking a consultant endocrinologist, a nurse care manager and Type One Diabetes (T1D) patients with services through OCHS.

“This program and the initial $100,000 gift will have an immediate impact on addressing the gap that exists for patients that require customized and tailored care which is a major obstacle for T1D patients everywhere,” reads the announcement from OCHS “This is particularly acute on Cape Cod with underserved communities and those patients that rely primarily on the community health center model to receive the required care to live day to day with T1D and other endocrine focused needs.”

The Lillylulu Foundation works to raise funds for people who are combating T1D in hopes of finding a cure through research and to address systemic deficiencies in care. Several years ago, when John Lashar, a part-time Chatham resident and co-founder of the foundation, learned his 13-year-old daughter Lilly was diagnosed with T1D, he began raising funds to combat the disease.

“As a patient of Boston Children’s Hospital and recipient of the greatest care available in the world, having T1D is a struggle every day as it does not stop or turn off,” said Lilly Lashar, co-founder of the nonprofit. “I have had access to elite care and technology and it is important to me that we as a foundation and a T1D community do everything we can to expand access to both care and the latest technology to everyone living with this difficult disease.

“The lack of care leads to major health issues, a reduction in life expectancy and in many cases death. This collaboration and partnership is a first step we are undertaking on Cape Cod to achieve greater access and equity in this space,” Lashar, 22, added.

A major fundraising vehicle for the foundation is the annual Monomoy Shootout Fishing Tournament, which takes place in August in waters off Chatham. Last August 41 vessels participated in the tournament, raising more than $600,000 for the foundation. This year, 54 vessels, the tournament cap, have signed up, according to board of directors member Michael MacAskill, a Harwich select board member who is a T1D patient.

MacAskill spearheaded the foundation’s search for an impact partner here on the Cape, which has led to the relationship with OCHS. He is quick to point out that the support of The Lillylulu Foundation, and the partnership with the Monomoy Shootout Fishing for a Cure event, is a major reason the organization can establish customized, direct-impact programs focused on the need for real results.

According to the announcement, OCHS and The Lillylulu Foundation believe the partnership will be the catalyst to formalize the integrated endocrine services care model on Cape Cod. The immediate results will be to enhance the resources available, leading to a proactive outreach to high-risk patients and those in most need.

In order to establish endocrine services that uses an integrated and collaborative care model, the program requires, at a minimum, an in-house consultant endocrinologist and a full-time nurse care manager who will be the point person responsible for providing one-on-one support to patients with T1D and eventually a collaborative care partner upon program expansion.

The program is being launched under the leadership of OCHS CEO Dr. Damian K.L. Archer and CDO Kathleen Weiner.

“I want to echo my heartfelt thanks to The Lillylulu Foundation,” Archer said. “This gift will help us to quickly set in motion an innovative model of care close to home for those in need of T1D care on the Cape. I look forward to sharing with everyone the positive impact this program will have on our patients, current and future, who desperately need this support to achieve maximum wellness. Creative care and support from the private sector is required for OCHS to effectively fulfill our mission and strategic plan.”

Added John Lashar, “We believe that providing direct gifts in focused initiatives will allow The Lillylulu Foundation to use its strengths of passion and discipline to monitor the intended and actionable outcome of those we choose to partner with. As a 100 percent volunteer organization, we will seek out partners and organizations with fresh ideas and those that we believe are underfunded within our areas of focus to create relationships that allow us to drive influence and positive outcomes for our T1D community.”