More than 4,000 people in the 10-parish area surrounding Baton Rouge are diagnosed with cancer each year. It’s a sobering statistic, though not as frightening as the calls those 4,000 people receive confirming their diagnoses.
Easing fears is the goal of Cancer Services of Greater Baton Rouge, which since 1959 has set its sights on improving life for people with cancer by tending to their emotional, financial and educational needs.
Given cancer’s prevalence, it’s a cause that touches almost everyone personally, including voters in our giveaway. “I was a newcomer to Baton Rouge when I was diagnosed with breast cancer,” wrote one, who noted that the organization gave her wigs, nutritional supplements, and other products and services to help during the difficult months of treatment. But most importantly, she stated, “they provided me with the emotional support of knowing I wasn’t alone in my struggle.”
In 2013, Cancer Services gave out more than $103,000 in financial assistance for prescriptions and equipment purchases, along with thousands of wheelchairs, walkers and other vital supplies. The organization’s exercise classes help clients stay active during treatment, and counseling sessions bolster their emotional health. One of the group’s newest offerings, the Bella Bowman Children’s Program, offers summer camp experiences and tutoring services for kids with cancer as well as support events and grants for their families.
Cancer Services’ annual major fundraiser, Capital Chefs’ Showcase, has featured tastings from top restaurants for more than 30 years. This year’s showcase is set for Sept. 10. Volunteer support is welcomed, both at events like this one and in the organization’s office, where supplies are distributed to clients.
“When my daughter was being treated for leukemia, Cancer Services became a constant in our lives,” wrote one voter. “After one of their monthly events for children with cancer, she commented, ‘Having cancer is awful, but sometimes it’s kind of fun, too!’ Any organization that evokes such a response gets my vote hands down.”