While visiting a teacher who just received the news she had cancer, Independence Superintendent Jim Hinson came up with an idea – an idea that would provide support and help for those district staff members affected by the disease.

While visiting a teacher who just received the news she had cancer, Independence Superintendent Jim Hinson came up with an idea – an idea that would provide support and help for those district staff members affected by the disease.

“I walked away from that conversation trying to think of a way to navigate this issue,” he said. “Our system is overwhelmed with people affected by cancer. I wanted to come up with an idea to help employees with what they are going through.”

The idea became Reviving Hope, a program geared toward helping all of those people on the Independence School District’s health insurance plan facing a cancer diagnosis.

Hinson said information will be provided to employees who need it in the areas of how to navigate the health insurance system, where to find support groups and other services and even information on special cooking classes if put on a special diet during chemotherapy.

“I have never been through a cancer diagnosis myself, but it startled me how many of our employees are affected,” he said. “There have been 600 diagnoses or advanced testing for cancer in the last three years. That does not even include those individuals who are on a spouse’s insurance policy. The number is a surprise.”

Hinson said the goal through Reviving Hope is to teach employees how to advocate for themselves when dealing with doctors and hospitals.

“We want to make sure we are taking care of the people that take care of our students on a daily basis,” he said. “We want to be able to help families talk to their children about cancer and create a support system for them. We want to develop a comprehensive approach to deal with this issue.”

The Reviving Hope initiative is about six to seven weeks away from fully being implemented, Hinson said.

Those interested in being a part of the campaign can go to the Independence School District website at www.ourindependencschools.org and select the “District Reaches Out To Those Touched by Cancer” option.

From there, employees can complete an online form if they want to receive more information.

“We have already received a considerable amount of positive feedback from the staff. It has been phenomenal,” Hinson said. “I want to bring hope to those in our district battling cancer through this program. I want them to have those tools they need so that perhaps they are not as overwhelmed. This is really something we need to do for people.”