Nonprofit organization will receive $8,500 grant to help provide patient transportation for cancer treatment and online resources for patients and survivors
The American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) has selected a Boston-based organization, Boston Cancer Support, to receive one of two 2016 ASTRO Survivor Circle grants. The organization will receive $8,500 for its work supporting those who have been touched by cancer, including patients, friends, caregivers or healthcare professionals, through its website, www.bostoncancersupport.org, and its two community programs. The group will be in attendance at ASTRO’s 58th Annual Meeting, September 25-28, 2016, in Boston at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center.
The other group to receive an $8,500 ASTRO Survivor Circle grant is The Samfund, located in Boston.
“ASTRO is pleased to sponsor the Survivor Circle Grant Program, a funding initiative that provides gifts of financial assistance to two cancer support organizations in or near the state that hosts our Annual Meeting,” said ASTRO President David C. Beyer, MD, FASTRO. “Boston Cancer Support offers unique support both online and within communities. The organization exemplifies the grant’s work to ‘support the supporters.’ ASTRO is pleased to award the grant to Boston Cancer Support at our upcoming Annual Meeting.”
The organization, which began in 2013, shares resources for cancer patients, family and medical professionals with Boston, North Shore, Metrowest, South Shore and western Massachusetts hospitals, rehabilitation centers and support groups at the state, region, city and town level. These resources include information about support groups, palliative care, prosthetics, clinical trial participation, financial aid possibilities for prescription drugs, transportation and respite care for caregivers.
Boston Cancer Support also runs two Collective Impact Programs. CancerCollaborative™ offers professional development and networking for medical professionals including oncology nurses, social workers, patient navigators and patient-support organizations. Treatment Transport Program helps cancer patients travel to their treatments affordably.
“The Survivor Circle grant money will be used for patient transportation to radiation and chemotherapy,” said Susan Chaityn Lebovits, founder and executive director. “Having reliable transportation to treatments is one of the largest issues that we have found in all of the communities in which we work. We have relationships with social workers and patient navigators in both large and small hospitals and treatment centers throughout greater Boston and beyond.”
The organization has partnered with Lyft, a transportation service app, to provide discounted rates for cancer patients to get to and from their treatments. “But we must supplement funding for these trips as the cost of transportation to treatments for some patients could mean having to choose between getting to their center or a healthy meal. No one should have to make that choice. We are working very hard to serve patients and families who are already under a lot of stress,” Ms. Chaityn Lebovits said.
Ms. Chaityn Lebovits founded the organization after she lost her friend, Marie Szabo Bruno, to leukemia several weeks before Ms. Szabo Bruno’s fiftieth birthday, and soon after her neighbor, Randi Friedman, was diagnosed with multiple myeloma.
“I spent a lot of time online researching resources for her, but each search took me to a different location,” she said. “There was no single portal in the state of Massachusetts that housed everything from financial aid options to support groups to clinical trials. I left my staff position at Brandeis University and spent the next year building the organization and website, writing a business plan and applying for 501c3 status. We have grown and now offer community outreach programs.”
For more information about Boston Cancer Support, visit www.bostoncancersupport.org. For more information about ASTRO’s 58th Annual Meeting, visit www.astro.org/AnnualMeeting. For more information about Survivor Circle, visit www.rtanswers.org/survivorcircle.