(T-G photo by John I. Carney)
Stewart noted that the Relay For Life, ACS's flagship community-based fund-raiser, took in $126,000 in Bedford County during the Relay year which ended Aug. 31. But she said local organizers hope to do better in 2013.
"We can't go backwards," she said.
Last year, she said, 84 cancer patients in Bedford County, 12 of whom were uninsured, received a total of 137 different ACS services. These included Look Good, Feel Better makeovers for women going through cancer treatments; gas cards to assist patients with transportation to cancer treatments; and Reach To Recovery, a program which pairs newly-diagnosed breast cancer patients with survivors who can listen and share their own experiences.
ACS operates a network of Hope Lodge facilities, including one in Nashville, which offer free lodging to out-of-town patients undergoing cancer treatment. Stewart said that 10 Bedford County cancer patients spent a total of 207 nights in the Nashville Hope Lodge last year. At an estimated cost of $125 a night for a hotel room, that saved those patients a total of $25,875.
Stewart said that Vanderbilt is one of the leading centers for treatment of some types of brain cancer, and so patients from every state and the U.S. Virgin Islands have stayed at Hope Lodge while undergoing treatment there. By the same token, patients from Tennessee might need to use an out-of-town Hope Lodge facility if their diagnosis sends them to a hospital elsewhere in the country.
ACS's advocacy includes pushing for smoke-free work environments, and for cancer screenings such as mammograms and PSA tests to be covered by insurance. Educational efforts include extensive information at the cancer.org website on cancer prevention and treatment.
For more information about the American Cancer Society, go to cancer.org or call (800) 227-2345. For information about Relay For Life, go to relayforlife.org/bedfordtn, email email@example.com or call (615) 516-0807.