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ACS awards Transportation and Lodging Grants

Cancer care delays can increase emergency room rates and mortality risk.

Cancer care often means frequent medical appointments and travel far from home to get the best treatment. To alleviate the financial burden of cancer treatment, the American Cancer Society has awarded $9.2 million in transportation and lodging grants. These funds will provide 830,000 transportation and lodging services for 81,500 eligible patients offered through 500 health system partners. The Patient Transportation and Lodging Grant program provides a chance for health systems to build a portfolio of services that meet their community's needs and deliver services to patients who need it most.

“Transportation obstacles or the cost of a hotel room should not be barriers that determine the survival of those needing cancer treatment,” said Dr. Arif Kamal, chief patient officer. “Providing funding to health systems and organizations across the country to deliver the direct assistance needed helps to fill these equity gaps and improves cancer outcomes.”

When the most effective treatment requires traveling away from home, patients facing a lack of reliable and affordable transportation and lodging can experience missed appointments, treatment interruptions, and incomplete follow-up care. In a 2023 Journal of the National Cancer Institute (JNCI) study, ACS researchers found that delayed care due to lack of transportation is associated with increased emergency room use and mortality risk among adults with and without cancer history.

The program’s grant cycle is 12 months long and runs from April 1, 2024 - March 31, 2025.​

  • Addressing Barriers to Care Grants presented to community organizations

    Social drivers of health can significantly impact patients.

    The American Cancer Society’s Addressing Barriers to Care (ABC) grant program recently awarded a total of $500,000 to fund 15 community organizations providing services that address food security and nutrition, physical activity opportunities, social isolation, financial stability, job security, education, housing security, and responsibility for dependents. 

    The grantees will help comprehensively address social drivers of health barriers which include non-medical factors that impact the ability to prevent, find, treat, and survive cancer. According to a January 2024 ACS CAN Survivor Views Survey, 40% of cancer patients and survivors experience some degree of food or nutrition insecurity, and according to American Cancer Society researchers, more than one in five patients with cancer in the United States struggles to meet at least one basic need. These material hardships are associated with delays in treatment, greater distress, financial toxicity, and a higher risk of relapse and death.

    ACS launched the Addressing Barriers to Care grant program earlier in 2024, our pilot year, to complement its existing programs and grants focused on removing treatment barriers connected to transportation and lodging.

    The 2024 Addressing Barriers to Care grantees include:

    • Advocates for Community Wellness  – Chicago, IL
    • Alliance Community Services – Murray, UT
    • Cancer Kinship – Newport Beach, CA
    • Cancer Legal Care – Oakdale, MN
    • Cheeky Charity Inc. – Mount Kisco, NY
    • Community Outreach and Patient Empowerment, Inc.  – Gallup, NM
    • FeedMore Western New York Inc – Buffalo, NY
    • Hope Cancer Resources – Springdale, AR
    • Institute for Research and Education in Family Medicine  – St. Louis, MO   
    • Miles Perret Cancer Services – Lafayette, LA
    • Feeding Southwest Virginia – Salem, VA
    • S.L.E.W. Inc./SLEW Cancer Wellness Center (Support Lending for Emotional Well-being) – San Antonio, TX
    • The Resurrection Project – Chicago, IL
    • Us vs. Cancer – Makawao, HI
    • Vital Access Care Foundation - Vietnamese American Cancer Foundation – Fountain Valley, CA

    Grant Program Cycle

    The program’s grant cycle is 12 months long and runs from April 1, 2024 - March 31, 2025. ABC grantees are serving patients and caregivers from many populations, including members of the Navajo Nation as well as members from the LGBTQ, Vietnamese, African American, and Hispanic/Latinx communities. Overall, more than half of grantees will serve cancer patients who are living in poverty, minorities, unhoused, un/under-insured, and those in crisis.

  • Work with Genentech continues

    During 2024 patient navigation programs to be piloted in Georgia, Ohio, and Oregon.

    The American Cancer Society marks another year of success and progress tackling health disparities alongside Genentech. This important work continues in 2024 with a focus on piloting patient navigation programs in three key regions: Georgia, Ohio, and Oregon. These programs aim to accelerate community-based interventions that directly improve health equity and cancer outcomes.

    Last year ACS received $4 million from Genentech to drive greater health equity and outcomes for all people with cancer with a goal of:

    • Increasing access to innovative, high-quality cancer care and improving health equity for marginalized populations
    • Expanding programmatic reach of patient navigation programs and seeking policy changes to enhance patient services to support the needs of every patient and family
    • Addressing health-related psychosocial needs for every patient and their families
    • Increasing access to, and utilization of biomarker testing and emerging therapies
    • Increasing discoveries and diverse representation in clinical trials

    For nearly 40 years, ACS and Genentech have collaborated in several efforts to advance cancer care for all patients. Genentech served as the founding sponsor of ACS’s Get Screened initiative, meant to rapidly restore and improve screening rates with a focus on communities that faced historical inequities and had the greatest impact from the pandemic.

    Visit for more information.

  • ACS NCCRT releases brief to promote screening in LGBTQ+ communities

    Roundtable describes barriers and outlines action steps to help reduce disparities.

    One in six lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, or other diverse sexual orientations or gender identities (LGBTQ+) adults avoid health care due to previous discrimination. At the same time, only 59% of age-eligible people are up to date with recommended colorectal cancer (CRC) screening.

    On May 21, the ACS NCCRT released a newly updated brief, Increasing Colorectal Cancer Screening Among LGBTQ+ Communities, that describes this community’s unique barriers to CRC screening and outlines action steps to support CRC screening in LGBTQ+ communities. The brief is intended for community-based organizations, health systems, and other organizations to use to better understand and serve LGBTQ+ members of their community.

    “People who identify as LGBTQ+ face barriers that make them less likely to get screened for colorectal cancer than the general population,” said Emily Bell, Director, NCCRT. “This brief aims to reduce cancer disparities in LGBTQ+ communities by providing clinicians and community-based partners with the tools they need to promote CRC screening at age 45 or earlier if needed.”

    ACS team members and volunteers are encouraged to review the brief and share with their partners, especially as we head into Pride Month this June! Share the brief from the ACS NCCRT website.

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  • FDA approves HPV self-collection for cervical cancer screening

    ACS applauds decision, which will expand access.

    The US Food and Drug Administration on May 15 approved primary human papillomavirus (HPV) self-collection for cervical cancer screening in a health care setting. The American Cancer Society applauds this decision, as it will expand access to cervical cancer screening, providing a more convenient and private option for all women and people with a cervix. 

    Self-collection is when a patient uses a collection kit to take a vaginal sample that will be tested for HPV, the virus that causes almost all cases of cervical cancer. There are many advantages of self-collection compared to provider-collected screening samples. This news covers self-collection in the presence of a provider, not at-home collection. A subsequent approval phase may include at-home self-collection. 

    ACS experts anticipate self-collection at a health care setting will play an increasingly prominent role in cervical cancer screening once regulatory and clinical prerequisites are in place and as supporting evidence continues to accumulate.

    Cervical cancer is one of the few cancers that can prevented through regular screening.

    “Despite the benefits of cervical cancer screening, not all women and people with a cervix get screened regularly,” ACS Chief Scientific Officer Dr. Bill Dahut said in a news release. “Most cervical cancers are found in people who have never had a cervical cancer screening test or who have not had one recently. That’s why adding self-collection as a screening method for this potentially deadly disease can make a huge impact.”

  • ACS PAWS program returns

    Second annual grant cycle increases funding.​

    ACS is thrilled to announce the launch of the second cycle of our competitive grant opportunity, aimed at expanding access to animal-assisted therapy in pediatric oncology settings. Ten grants will be awarded to children's hospitals. Applications should be submitted by Friday, May 31!

    In 2023, ACS PAWS (Pups Assisting with Support) awarded 10 children’s hospitals $8,000 each to support their facility dog programs and the therapeutic benefits of animal-assisted therapy.

    That first grant cycle was so successful that we’re expanding funding from 10 grants at $8,000 to 10 grants at $10,000. Grants will be awarded to children’s hospitals for a project period spanning from September 2024 to August 2025. 

    Widely considered a safe and desirable intervention for children with cancer, animal-assisted therapy for hospitalized children has been shown to decrease symptoms like anxiety, stress, depression, and pain, and increase quality of life indicators like feelings of joy and calmness, positive memories from hospitalization, and improved sense of well-being.

    Hospital facility dogs receive extensive, specialized training to provide goal-oriented, therapeutic interventions and emotional support. They work full-time alongside an expert handler like a certified child life specialist in hospitals. The ACS PAWS grant program fills a critical gap for institutions as animal-assisted therapy programs are primarily supported by philanthropy efforts. Collectively, the projects are estimated to have impacted more than 10,000 children and families affected by cancer.

    The link to apply is included in the request for applications guideline, so be sure to apply by May 31! Awardees will be notified on July 31. 


  • Help spread the love on social media this week

    ​​This Mother's Day let's celebrate all the fun things still to come. 

    This week ACS launched a new content for the ‘I Love You Get Screened’ public awareness campaign, just in time for Mother’s Day on Sunday, May 12. The video features children sharing their favorite things about their mothers.

    As with previous ‘I Love You Get Screened’ campaigns, we’re encouraging our team members and our volunteers to share posts, linked below, from ACS social media channels on your personal social media channels.

    Since the ‘I Love You Get Screened’ campaign was launched last year, it has been instrumental in raising awareness about the importance of regular cancer screening through relevant, engaging information that addresses barriers to screening.

  • Volunteers recognized for being the heartbeat of our work

    Watch the replay of our first Patient Support Volunteer Virtual Summit.​

    Volunteers who made a significant impact this year were recognized and appreciated during the first Patient Support Volunteer Virtual Summit, held on April 24. If you were unable to join live, you can watch a recording on YouTube.

    More than 415 people attended this first-ever event, and 671 registered. Feedback has been pouring in and the overall consensus is that the summit was full of inspiring and eye-opening information. Many guests walked away with a completely new outlook on the scope of our programs and outreach and are motivated to deepen their involvement. Responses to a quick survey at the end of the event have rated the event on average 4.7 out of 5 stars.  

    Some of the immediate participant feedback included the following comments:

    “This Summit has been REALLY great! Very inspiring and touching. And informative! I learned about other programs (like Hope Lodge). It was also wonderful to see the volunteer award winners and hear the video stories. Thank you for all you do!!”

    “The presentation I just heard was very interesting and the testimonies of some people were truly shocking, like Tiana's. I did not know about other programs as wonderful as Ever You or Hope Lodge, and it is very good to know that they exist to be able to give timely information to whoever needs it.”

    “I was not looking forward to the conference on my one day a week off. Left the golf course and my friends and made it just at 3 for the start. Have to admit I was totally impressed. Had no idea all the programs the ACS operates or facilitates. It was worth my attention and wish I could do more.”

    Thank you to the event organizers, speakers, and volunteers who made this event a success!

    Award winners honored during the event included the following.

    Nationwide Patient Support Pillar Awards 

    Two award winners were recognized during the Patient Support Volunteer Virtual Summit and had been recognized previously at the National Volunteer Leadership Summit, held in January, in Atlanta, GA. 

    2023 Patient Support Volunteer Award For Excellence 

    Carol Smith, Wyoming
    The Patient Support Volunteer Award for Excellence recognizes an American Cancer Society volunteer who has made an incredible impact on the lives of people with cancer and their families through one of our mission-driven patient support programs.

    Carol Smith began her volunteerism with ACS in 2008, when she began a 10-year run as a local Relay For Life event lead in her hometown of Lander, WY. However, Carol is best known for bringing the ACS Road To Recovery program to Fremont County, a rural area in Wyoming with more than 39,000 residents. With the majority of the county considered rural, area residents must often travel more than 60 miles one way to get to their cancer treatment. To help address these issues, Carol began working with the American Cancer Society in 2018 to launch the Road To Recovery program in Fremont and helped build up the program to where it is today. Carol actively promotes the Road To Recovery program across the county through volunteer fairs and other community events, church activities, local doctor’s offices, and in the local media. She is also a volunteer driver herself!  

    2023 Lane Adams Quality of Life Award 

    Eleanor Walker, MD, Michigan
    The Lane Adams Quality of Life Award is reserved for those unique caregivers who lead in their areas of expertise and make a significant impact for people with cancer, as well as their families and communities.  

    Dr. Eleanor Walker is a radiation oncologist and serves as division director of Breast Services in Radiation Oncology at Henry Ford Health in Detroit. She led the implementation of the ExcITE program at Henry Ford, which provides individualized exercise programs for any cancer patient or survivor as well as access to Henry Ford fitness facilities. In 2021, she was awarded a $250,000 grant from Pfizer and the American Cancer Society aimed at reducing prostate cancer disparities in Black men. She led a team focused on providing education to both the community and to providers, visiting churches, community centers, and even car dealerships to provide assessments and screening. In total, 382 men were screened for prostate cancer. This year, Dr. Walker will be a keynote speaker at the Detroit Discovery Ball, highlighting the transportation barriers that many patients face.  


    Three award winners were honored.

    2023 Student Standout Leadership Award

    Georgia Kern, South Carolina
    The Student Standout Leadership Award recognizes an ACS student volunteer who has made an impact on the ACS CARES non-clinical student program within the first three months of volunteering. 

    2023 Community Volunteer Award  

    Rose Bourassa, California
    The ACS CARES Community Volunteer award recognizes an volunteer in their unique role as navigation supporters offering information, resources, and shared lived experience to those affected by cancer. 

    2023 Health System Champion Award 

    Medical University of South Carolina, Hollings Cancer Center
    The ACS CARES Health System award recognizes the achievement of the health care team champion(s) who lead the team to this pilot program. 

    Hope Lodge

    Three award winners were honored.

    2023 Margot S. Freudenberg National Volunteer Group Award 

    Delta Mu Mu Chapter of Omega Psi Phi,  Georgia
    The Margot S. Freudenberg National Volunteer Award is presented annually to a volunteer group in recognition of outstanding contributions to the Hope Lodge program. 

    2023 Margot S. Freudenberg National Volunteer Individual Award 

    Ellen Elam, Texas
    The Margot S. Freudenberg National Volunteer Award is presented annually to a volunteer in recognition of outstanding contributions to the Hope Lodge program. 

    2023 Margot S. Freudenberg National Volunteer Rookie of the Year Award 

    Madison Pope "DJ Ness," Georgia
    The Rookie of the Year award recognizes an American Cancer Society Hope Lodge volunteer who has made an incredible impact on the Hope Lodge program within their first year of volunteering with the program. 

    Reach To Recovery

    Two award winners were honored with the 2023 Outstanding Volunteer award which recognizes an American Cancer Society Reach To Recovery volunteer who has made an incredible impact on the program by continuously going above and beyond. They were:

    Christina Green of Missouri, and Julia Stegeman "In honor of Blanche Williams" of Kansas.

    Road To Recovery

    Twenty award winners were honored in total for the Road To Recovery program.

    Five award winners were honored with the 2023 Rookie of the Year award which recognizes an American Cancer Society Road To Recovery volunteer who has made an incredible impact on the program within their first year of volunteering with the program. They were: 

    Aleks Rabrenovich of California; Jerry Bevacqua of Hawaii; Mike Donohoo of Wisconsin; Rod Morton of North Carolina; and Ron Lay of Pennsylvania.

    Five award winners were honored with the 2023 Pacesetter of the Year award which recognizes an American Cancer Society volunteer who has completed the highest number of Road To Recovery rides this calendar year in their region or state. They were: 

    Bob Johnson of Missouri; Julie Thomas of California; Sandra Waguespack of Louisiana; Yoko Momohara of Washington; and Judy Brim of Kentucky.

    Seven award winners were honored with the 2023 Outstanding Volunteer of the Year award which recognizes an American Cancer Society Road To Recovery volunteer who has made an incredible impact on the program by continuously going above and beyond. They were: 

    Carol Smith of Wyoming; Cynthia Wilson of Florida; Dana Gruber North Carolina; Kevin Schmidle of New York; Lon Kruger of Nevada; Rob Rickenback of Connecticut; and Tom Beres of Ohio.

    Three award winners were honored with the 2023 Partner of the Year award which recognizes an American Cancer Society Road To Recovery partner who has made a significant impact on the Road To Recovery program. They were: 

    Advent Health, The University of Kansas Health System & The University of Kansas Cancer Center, and Pohanka Automotive Group of Salisbury.

  • Hope Lodge guest room naming comes with a twist

    Pennsylvania family gets a surprise on evening of dedication.​​

    Do you believe in karma? Fate? If not, this Hope Lodge story may make a believer out of you.

    Recently, the Live Like Brent Foundation (LLBF) recently endowed a guest room at the AstraZeneca American Cancer Society Hope Lodge, which is nestled upon a hill in the Cheltenham neighborhood of Philadelphia, PA. Brent Evans was a dynamic young man from Wilkes-Barre, PA, who passed away from lymphoma at age 33 in 2017 after going in and out of remission for seven years. Brent was a young, active individual with a vivacious and friendly demeanor, whose “hellos” quickly turned into lifelong friendships.

    During his cancer treatment in New York City, Brent and his mother Karen stayed at the American Cancer Society Hope Lodge Jerome L. Greene Family Center in Manhattan. “We felt Hope Lodge was a beacon during the storm – a welcoming place to stay, especially after a long day of treatment. It really helped to lessen the burden,” Karen said.

    One of Brent’s closest friends, Josh Frank, LLBF president, recalls, “People loved being around Brent. He had a magnetic personality.” The LLBF website states, “He had the unique ability to bring people together,” and in the most magical ways.

    Brent founded an incredible snowboarding fundraiser, Carve 4 Cancer, to help blood cancer patients in need. To honor Brent, his close friends and family created the foundation in his name to continue his work.

    This April, Brent’s parents and friends, who live in Pennsylvania, visited Hope Lodge Philadelphia to host a dinner and dedicate room 304 as the Live Like Brent Foundation Room. To their amazement, the guest staying in the room selected by the family to become the Live Like Brent Room was also named Brent. Plus the guest, Brent Ransom, is from the same area of Pennsylvania as the Evanses.

    Brent’s mom and dad were incredibly moved by this amazing coincidence. Tears came to their eyes with smiles knowing that their son was clearly working his magic. It seemed like Brent’s magnetic draw was at work. “That was Brent,” said Brent’s father, Ken, during the visit. “He made this happen.” Once again, Brent Evans was bringing people together.

    Was this special moment coincidence? A sign? A message from above connecting people when they most needed it? It almost does not matter.

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