BATON ROUGE, La. (BRProud) — Cancer patients undergoing treatment during these uncertain times struggle to find reliable transportation to and from facilities. The American Cancer Society (ACS) has awarded $261,208 to health systems throughout Baton Rouge to help alleviate the financial and logistical burden.
“Transportation assistance remains a vital resource for cancer patients in need, particularly during these challenging times when many are faced with social and economic disruptions,” said Todd Stevens, president and CEO, Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center.
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, according to ACS.
“I’ve practiced in Baton Rouge for over 30 years,” said Dr. Burke “Jay” Brooks, chairman, Ochsner Baton Rouge hematology/oncology department. “Over that time, I’ve seen too many patients struggle with transportation. What the American Cancer Society is doing for our community is truly remarkable.”
Each health system will determine how to best utilize the funds in order to address the unmet transportation needs of their cancer patients. Options include providing gas cards or paid transportation like taxis or Uber and Lyft. Patients will work directly with their treatment facility to receive the transportation assistance.
Awards were distributed to area health systems including Ochsner Cancer Center, Baton Rouge General, Woman’s Hospital and Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center. The funds were made possible through donations from Baton Rouge’s Best Dressed Ball held last year.
“When healthcare professionals on the front line are being inundated with patient care in every capacity, grants like these and the partnership of the American Cancer Society are essential,” said Michelle Lanoix, 2019 chair of the Baton Rouge Best Dressed Ball. “We are so proud and thankful that the investors and donors of the Baton Rouge Best Dressed Ball are able to directly impact our community and our patients in this way.”
For more information on how the Society is helping cancer patients cope during COVID-19, visit cancer.org/coronavirus.