Grove City thrift shop reaches $1 million in cancer assistance

The Grove City Cancer Thrift Shop has donated $1 million in support of cancer patients over the course of 46 years. (WSYX / WTTE)

Tough deals in life don't come with a map, but the Grove City Cancer Thrift Shop gives direction to those in need.

"This is a very, very special store," volunteer Sue Shilling said. "Every single penny of profit goes to the Columbus Cancer Clinic of LifeCare Alliance."

The $42,000 in profits from 2016 meant the small store located at 3684 Garden Court has reached $1 million worth of donations in the fight against cancer, Shilling said.

The milestone has been in the works for nearly 50 years.

"We get all this money by little by little bits and pieces," Shilling said. "$1, $2, $3 dollars at a time."

The store has donated proceeds to benefit cancer organizations since it opened in 1970, according to Shilling.

A group of roughly 50 women volunteer to run the shop, and many of them have been impacted by cancer.

Sharon Downing has volunteered for 37 years.

She lost her dad and sister to cancer, along with many friends.

"When that happens, it just makes you dig in deeper as to why we do what we do," Downing said.

The Columbus Cancer Clinic is the oldest cancer clinic in U.S., and it's one of the few remaining free clinics, LifeCare Alliance President & CEO Chuck Gehring said.

"We are seeing better outcomes, and your'e seeing clients who are completing treatments," clinic director Christin Brown said. "Basically we're saving lives."

The clinic offers financial assistance and services, including wigs, medical supplies, and transportation, to help qualifying patients through cancer treatments.

Last year, the clinic's screening program served 2,244 clients, providing 1,097 mammograms and 396 cancer screenings.

"Without the thrift store money , there's no question we'd have people on waiting lists, and we've have to turn them away," Gehring said.

Breast cancer survivor Michelle Brown utilized the clinic halfway through her recent nearly year-long cancer battle.

Her family received assistance with rent, food, as well as prescription costs.

"The biggest thing was knowing there were people out there who cared, and that there are resources," Brown said. "It was huge."

The Grove City Cancer Thrift Shop recently has started selling items on eBay. (Enter "gccthrift" in the advanced search option for sellers.)

The Columbus Cancer Clinic also receives support from thrift shops in Reynoldsburg and Worthington.

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