Fresh Hope for Cancer Patients
Hobbs woman comforts with love-filled backpacks.
The Fresh Hope Ministry at Crosswinds Community Church in Hobbs. Front row from left, Roberta Henderson, Evelyn Pereda, Lisa McNeill and Carla Whitley. Back row from left Frances Horton, Waynette Lester, Mick Cavanaugh, Yusheng Wu and Jim Horton.
- Lisa McNeill was preparing
lunch for the crew on her family’s cattle ranch near Hobbs in the
summer of 2017 when she
got the call from her doctor.
“You could’ve blown me over
with a feather when he told
me that I had breast cancer,”
she says. “I was sure it was
just a cyst.” As she hung up the phone, Lisa’s mind raced. “How do I start? Who do I call? I was lost,” she says. She underwent a year’s worth of chemotherapy, radiation and surgery. After her treatment, she told her pastor at Crosswinds Community Church
Hayden Andrews, Founder of Light of Lea County
A Fresh Hope backpack, filled with care items.
that she wanted to start a ministry for their congregation, to help any of the members who were diagnosed with cancer so they wouldn’t be as lost as she was. Her pastor was supportive — and Fresh Hope was born. “When you go in for cancer treatments, there are things that you take with you, and things you find later that you should’ve taken,” Lisa says. “So, I wanted to create a backpack of items that I found helpful.” Fresh Hope backpacks include things like thick socks, soothing lotion, a journal with pens and highlighters to record thoughts or questions for doctors, spearmint gum for nausea, hand sanitizer and a face mask for germ fighting, and laminated cards with scriptures and words of encouragement.
“Once we started, I found out about an organization called Light of Lea County,”
Lisa says. They offer financial assistance for cancer patients, helping with groceries, transportation and lodging for treatment, and utilities. “I didn’t know about Light of Lea County when I was diagnosed, so I was sure others didn’t,” she says. Lisa called Light of Lea County’s founder Hayden Andrews, and they decided to work together.
“With their support, we can now supply backpacks to all county residents diagnosed with cancer — not just those in our church,” says Lisa, who now serves on Hayden’s board of directors.
Fresh Hope and Light of Lea County are now helping 50 to 60 cancer patients each month. “I just want people to be aware of the local support that’s available,” Lisa says. “I want to help relieve some of their worries once they’ve received that initial diagnosis.”
“I want to help relieve some of their worries once they’ve received that initial diagnosis.” Lisa McNeill