American Cancer Society awards more than half a million dollars to help cancer patients in Louisiana

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NEW ORLEANS – Now more than ever, during these uncertain times, cancer patients undergoing treatment need transportation assistance getting to and from facilities. That’s why the American Cancer Society is awarding $541,592 to health systems throughout the state of Louisiana to help alleviate this financial and logistical burden.

Thanks to community partners, foundations, and sponsors of the Society’s Shuck Cancer event, more than $210,000 will be distributed in the Greater New Orleans area through health systems including Ochsner Health, Tulane Health System, and LCMC Health’s East Jefferson General Hospital, Touro Infirmary, and West Jefferson Medical Center.

“Treating cancers as quickly as possible vastly improves long-term survival rates and when transportation barriers are eliminated, patients have far better outcomes,” said Warner Thomas, President and CEO of Ochsner Health. “The American Cancer Society allows us to provide much-needed transportation assistance to our most financially-vulnerable cancer patients and we couldn’t be more grateful for their continued generosity. During this unprecedented financial crisis, now more than ever, our cancer patients are relying on the Society for transportation assistance.  Supporting the American Cancer Society supports financially vulnerable cancer patients in your community. As the largest healthcare system in Louisiana and the Gulf Coast region, we rely heavily on the ACS to help us help our patients – many of whom wouldn’t have access to care without their transportation assistance.”

An estimated 26,480 Louisiana residents will learn they have cancer this year and getting to their scheduled treatment is often cited as one of their greatest barriers. To help patients get the critical care they need and ensure treatment completion, the American Cancer Society’s community transportation grants are awarded to local health systems. The grants are available through an application process where each system determines how to best utilize the funds to help address the unmet transportation needs of their cancer patients.

“While we are currently living in uncertain times, the American Cancer Society community transportation grants provide certainty for our patients undergoing treatment,” said Greg Feirn, LCMC Health CEO. “For our most vulnerable patients, a ride can mean the difference between making or missing a treatment and ultimately impact a successful outcome. Transportation shouldn’t be a roadblock to cancer treatment. Thanks to the Society’s community transportation grants, hundreds of patients will now have access to care.”

 “We anticipate even more people will need transportation assistance because of financial hardships incurred during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Kate Kelley, executive director of the American Cancer Society. “We are proud to provide this additional support to help equalize outcomes for cancer patients in our community.”

The grants were made possible thanks to the generosity of community partners, foundations, and sponsors of the Society’s highly-successful block party, Shuck Cancer, held every year on the Thursday before Thanksgiving. 

“As a multiple cancer survivor, the American Cancer Society is extremely near and dear to my heart,” said Bob Merrick, CEO and Chairman of Latter & Blum, the event’s presenting sponsor. “Anything that we can do to alleviate obstacles cancer patients experience with getting treatment is priceless. The team behind Shuck Cancer has done a truly remarkable job creating an event that is lively, entertaining, and for a good cause. We are proud to support this organization and join in the fight against cancer.”

Funds will be distributed to the health systems beginning in May. For more information on how the Society is helping cancer patients cope during COVID-19, visit cancer.org/coronavirus.

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