Family donates 'Betsy Bags' for chemo patients with nausea issues

Monday, December 10, 2012
Elizabeth "Betsy" Bueltel's children, Pat Bueltel, Heather Bird and Micky Oullette, show off the "Betsy" bags they have assembled for BVRMC chemotherapy patients. The bags allow patients to enjoy life without worrying about nausea. / Submitted

The family of Elizabeth Ann "Betsy" Bueltel want to offer security to area cancer patients who experience sudden nausea issues.

Betsy Bueltel passed away after an eight-month battle with lung cancer.

"Mom was the kind of person who wanted to remain as active as possible, but the fear of sudden nausea in public caused her great anxiety," said her daughter, Heather Bird.

Over the course of her illness, she developed -- with the help of others -- a tote bag full of items she needed to give her the security to get out and do things -- to enjoy life.

The Betsy Bag tote contains a gallon-size plastic zip lock bag discreetly disguised by a washable cloth cover made by a family member. The cover can be pulled off after use for easy disposal.

The tote bag also contains a journal, pen, moist hand tissues, peppermints, gum, Kleenex, hand sanitizer, Chap Stick and a bottle of water.

The bag is discreet and is handy to have in a car, or anywhere a bathroom is not readily available.

"These are the things our mother used in her bag. We hope that in some way, these bags will give the cancer patients the security to venture out and do the things they really like to do instead of staying home because they might get sick at an inopportune time," said Bird.

"We hope to get feedback from patients who request one -- and there is no cost."

Family members gathered at Thanksgiving time and stuffed 250 bags with the items they collected and purchased with money from Betsy's memorial fund.

Because of storage issues at the Cancer Center, Betsy's son Pat has agreed to store the boxes of bags until the Cancer Center needs a new supply.

Her daughter, Micky will bring a supply of the bags as needed.

"We are so excited with this project -- it has been very healing for us," said Bird.

The Cancer Center helped with the expenses of the bags, and if the bags are well-received, the family intends to accept donations and do mini fundraisers to keep the project going.