FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — When an individual is diagnosed with cancer, families often shoulder the weight.

Cancer Services of Northeast Indiana can help carry the load for those touched by cancer.

This year alone, Cancer Services is on track to help 5,000 families at no cost to them.

That’s why hundreds gathered to raise money at the annual gala and tribute dinner at the Parkview Mirro Event and Conference Center on Thursday.

Services can range from wigs for cancer patients to transportation, from nutrition services to mental health counseling.

“Everyone is connected to a client advocate,” explained Stacey Stumpf, Development and Marketing Director with Cancer Services of Northeast Indiana. “That [advocate] becomes their go-to, walking side-by-side with them, making sure that they get whatever they need. If it’s items from our warehouse or if it’s financial assistance, or if it is that emotional support that people need, even if they don’t know they need it sometimes.”

Before hearing from keynote speaker Lacey Adams, peers paid tribute to the late Dr. John Crawford for his years of patient care and advocacy.

Adams shared her battle with skin cancer, fighting the disease three different times, including when her family moved to Washington, D.C., as her husband Jerome served as U.S. Surgeon General.

Adams, who is originally from Adams County, said she appreciated the work of Cancer Services.

“You really just can’t understand how taking one thing off your plate means so much when you’re going through [cancer treatment],” she said. “They have mental health resources, nutrition resources, they give rides and massages. All the things that sometimes, when you go to your oncologist, they don’t have. They’re worried about trying to help you fight the cancer. But these extra services just really make what you’re dealing with a little bit easier.”