Community NewsThe Giving Project


'Bag It' helps cancer patients navigate the road to recovery

Organizational tools available in both English and Spanish reach as many as 6,000 patients across the country each year
Posted at 2:29 PM, Feb 01, 2023
and last updated 2023-02-01 16:31:20-05

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — Every month KGUN 9 features a local nonprofit for our Giving Project. Bag it is our charity for the month of February.

Bag It helps those diagnosed with cancer navigate through a very difficult time. It's a Tucson nonprofit with a footprint at the state and national levels.


"I had no control."

Ingrid Jacobs is describing the feeling she had while undergoing treatment in 2010 for colon cancer.

Bag It helped give her a sense of control.

"When I was able to use my bag to help me organize things and to refer to things that I needed, it made me feel like I was a part of my treatment," said Jacobs. "I was able to determine how I was going to respond to this."

Poster image (37).jpg

In her 'Bag It' bag were several brochures and one very important binder, for Jacobs to organize her course of treatment.

That one binder grew into three—all the tools she needed to organize the business cards of her many doctors.

"I was so excited about it, because they're all here and they're all here," Jacobs said.

She could also keep track of all of her lab results during chemotherapy treatments.

"The doctor and I could go over it."

Thirteen years later, Jacobs remains cancer-free. She credits Bag It for helping her navigate the uncertainty of her treatments.


"Knowledge is power, right. We don't know how to do that if we don't have the tools to do it."
Mindy Griffith is the executive director of Bag It.

The 20-year-old Tucson nonprofit got its start when cancer survivor Sherri Romanoski was compiling information she wanted to know about during her own breast cancer treatments.

That's when she came up with the idea of the binder.

"Sherri was an elementary school teacher and used to do take-home packets for the kids for the weekend," said Griffith. "The idea came up of just putting it in a bag and so let's just 'bag it'."

Sherri Romanoski, president and founder of BAG IT!, stands in her kitchen with a stack of tubs full of the information they provide to cancer patients. (photo by Tricia McInroy)

In the time since it was founded in 2003, Bag It has grown from its Tucson operation to statewide—and now it has gone national.

They distribute the bags in either English or Spanish, mainly through health care providers who offer them to newly-diagnosed cancer patients.


You can also order a bag off the Bag It website.

They have a small office at the Community Foundation Campus in midtown where they oversee the distribution of 5,000 to 6,000 bags a year.

That number is certain to go up with help from volunteers like Jacobs:

"It's been a very rewarding experience to help out."

We invite you to make a donation to Bag It at our Giving Project page.

Our partners in the Giving Project, the Community Foundation for Southern Arizona, will match the first $500 in donations.

Pat Parris is an anchor and reporter for KGUN 9. He is a graduate of Sabino High School where he was the 1982 high school state track champion in the 800 meters. While in high school and college, he worked part-time in the KGUN 9 newsroom. Share your story ideas and important issues with Pat by emailing or by connecting on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.


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