How One Patient's Family Decided to Help Others: the Recreational Relief Fund

tracy richmond-banks.

Tracy Richmond-Banks was a kind and generous woman. When she was diagnosed with breast cancer, she chose to be treated at Bassett Medical Center. Tracy felt well cared for and told her family that she loved Bassett. 

Her sister, Nathena Kain, said that Tracy never asked for help and always faced her treatments stoically, even when they were difficult. She fought cancer for a long time, eventually succumbing at the age of 52.

Along with Nathena, Tracy's husband, Burton Banks, wanted to do something special to remember Tracy. They sat down and talked about patients at the cancer center and what they go through when they face chemotherapy and the challenges of a stage-four diagnosis.

They decided that the best way to honor Tracy's memory was to begin a fund that would help families of people living with serious cancer do something fun and uplifting. They started the Recreational Relief Fund in her memory. 

Staff anywhere in Bassett Healthcare Network can nominate families of patients who have stage-four cancer. A committee evaluates each request and very quickly sends out $100 gift cards to families of nominated patients. These gift cards can be used to do anything the families choose.

"We wanted them to be able to choose for themselves," Nathena said. "That's important." 

One family with a patient who could no longer move independently spent the money on bird feeders and bird food; they positioned their young patient in front of a window so that he could watch the birds. A widow used the gift card to take her children to a water park, and a grandfather used the gift card to take his granddaughter out for a special night. Another family took their children to dinner and a movie.

Since the fund was established in 2015, it has helped many patients and their families. If you would like to donate to the fund, please call the Friends at (607) 547-3928, email us at, or make a gift online. Thank you!

Friends of Bassett Healthcare Network

Office Hours Monday – Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Address 1 Atwell Road, Cooperstown, NY 13326