Community Dietitians Lower Stress for Cancer Patients

- April 26, 2021

Ashley Hayslip sits at desk looking at camera. She is wearing a mask and writing on a pad of paper.

Ashley Hayslip, RD, LD, is Dylan’s Community Dietitian at Food & Friends.

“I would probably be eating less healthy,” Dylan Evans admits. As a Food & Friends client, Dylan has been on service since last October after undergoing surgery for thyroid cancer. As a single dad who just began working again, grocery shopping, food prep and cooking are activities that he simply has very little time for in his post-op life. According to Dylan, “It alleviates some of that stress.” Without Food & Friends, he explains, “I’d probably be eating a lot of peanut butter and jelly,” and definitely wouldn’t have “the proper nourishment” needed to battle my illness.


Dylan credits his Food & Friends dietitian, Ashley Hayslip, for his nutrition education. At the beginning of service, Dylan recalls how much yogurt he was receiving in his deliveries. Confused, he asked Ashley what to do with “all this yogurt.” Ashley asked if he had a blender, which Dylan did not. So, Food & Friends sent a blender, just as we do for clients who don’t have a microwave, and Ashley taught Dylan how to make smoothies with the yogurt and frozen fruit he was receiving. Dylan even began mixing peanut butter into these smoothies for added calories and protein!


Beyond smoothies, Dylan greatly appreciates the home-delivered meals he receives each week. With the help of Ashley, he receives a combination of foods that reduce acid reflux and are low in sodium. This Food & Friends meal plan puts Dylan in a better position to recover and grow stronger following his recent operation. Among his favorite meals, he likes “the chicken breast with mashed sweet potato” followed by the “ground turkey and pasta.” Dylan also enjoys the vegetable curry and the frozen eggs and sausage that he assembles to make a delicious breakfast sandwich.


During such an emotionally and physically difficult time, Dylan feels relief that there’s “support out there.” Over the holidays, when his children received toys from the Food & Friends gift drive, Dylan was taken aback by the gesture. It was “totally unexpected and very sweet. They really enjoyed their remote control car,” he says with a smile. Thanksgiving was equally surprising, as Dylan recalls a meal “with all the food and sides,” bringing a small sense of normalcy during a time of tumult.
“It’s just comforting knowing that there’s an organization out there that cares about the health of people going through treatment,” Dylan says. He feels a great sense of relief knowing that “there’s always going to be something in my fridge from Food & Friends, I can pop into the microwave.”


And to the many volunteers and donors who make all this possible? All Dylan can say is a “Big thank you. [A] really, really big thank you.” He explains, “None of this would be possible” without such incredible support. “You’re really helping lives, you’re helping people stay healthy,” and “you’re showing them that they’re cared for enough that they should be eating properly.”


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