[WDRB] New foundation supporting Kentucky families facing cancer

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A recently established foundation is supporting Kentucky families facing cancer treatments.

Dalton Workman was settling into his career in Frankfort after graduating college.

"Mid 20s, you're living your life," Workman said. "Having fun."

He noticed a spot on the bottom part of his mouth, so he visited his dentist. That led to seeing a specialist and biopsy that changed Workman's life.

"For anybody that gets those three words, 'you have cancer,' it hits you like a ton of bricks," Workman said.

At 26 years old, Workman was diagnosed with head and neck cancer.

"He texted me when I was at work and the words were 'it's cancer,'" said Tammy Workman, his mother. "It's devastating to hear those words, especially as a parent."

He underwent a 10-hour surgery to remove cancer in his tongue and neck. He faced dozens of rounds of radiation and chemotherapy.

As Workman and his mother went to countless appointments and treatments, they met other patients dealing with cancer.

"We met a lot of low-income, fixed-income individuals, cancer treatment is very expensive for those folks," Dalton Workman said. "I remember a conversation, a couple was talking about which utility bill they were going to skip paying for so they could afford X, Y and Z for their family member to go into treatment."

While Workman had insurance, families and friends supporting him through the cancer diagnosis and treatment, he knew others weren't as fortunate.

"Dalton was like I want to do something, I want to help people, not money for cancer research but help people who need things," Tammy Workman said.

The Dalton Workman Foundation was set up to help families across Kentucky cover expenses like travel, lodging, meals, groceries, medical expenses and basic utilities as they face cancer.

"We want to be a resource when those patients come in and visit with social workers and let them know they're having financial issues," Dalton Workman said. 

A kickoff event in Louisville was hosted at Goodwood Brewing on Dec. 7. More than 60 people attended the event and contributed to the foundation's mission.

Workman has been cancer free for three years.