JEFFERSON COUNTY, Mo. – A Jefferson County woman facing her own battle with cancer is lending a helping hand online to those dealing with the physical and mental anguish that comes with cancer.
In Oct. 2019 Tia Gundlach of Desoto was diagnosed with cancer causing her to enter a deep depression.
“Before my diagnosis, I’d never even heard of Multiple Myeloma but I went through a very deep depression and every morning when I woke up I was pretty much crying before my feet would even hit the floor and I was thinking very desperate thoughts,” Gundlach said.
Gundlach said suicide rates are higher in cancer patients. She decided when she began to feel better, she would reach out to as many cancer patients as possible by starting a non-profit, “Tia Trunk”.
“I talked with my counselor and they helped get me in a good place and I told myself once I’m physically able I’m going to help other people in this situation,” Gundlach said.
Tia Trunk sends out comfort boxes called “A hug from a far.” Patients are nominated through its facebook page.
“You’re nominated and we like to know things about you, what are you into, what are your hobbies, what’s your favorite color, just different things to help me to build your trunk,” Gundlach said.
Right now, they are committed to sending out 44 boxes valued at $100-$200 dollars with hand picked goods by Tia, accompanied by a handwritten note.
“We’ve heard from family members, we’ve heard from patients, it’s made such a positive impact in a short amount of time that we’ve been sending these trunks,” Gundlach said.
She said she’s still dealing with her own health issues, but seeing her idea grow makes her feel better letting cancer patients they’re not alone.
“I’m full of love and excitement over this entire thing because I know that we can make a difference for people, I know that we can reach out,” Gundlach said.