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2 Georgia cancer patient support organizations to receive Survivor Circle grants from ASTRO

Fairfax, Va., September 18, 2013 The American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) has selected two Georgia cancer patient support groups, The Cancer Foundation of Northeast Georgia and the South Georgia Medical Center, Pearlman Cancer Center, to receive ASTRO's 2013 Survivor Circle grants. Each organization will receive $8,000 to recognize their efforts and provide direct support for their organization's work supporting cancer patients. The two organizations will also be featured in the Survivor Circle in the Exhibit Hall during ASTRO's 55th Annual Meeting, September 22-25, 2013, in Atlanta. Since its inception in 2003, ASTRO's Survivor Circle has provided more than $250,000 to patient support organizations.

"These two organizations, The Cancer Foundation of Northeast Georgia and the South Georgia Medical Center, Pearlman Cancer Center, are extraordinary examples of how important it is to provide support for our patientsfrom diagnosis through to survivorship," said Colleen A.F. Lawton, MD, FASTRO, president of ASTRO's Board of Directors. "ASTRO is proud to partner with these groups in the Survivor Circle to share their work with our Annual Meeting attendees, and ASTRO commends their outstanding programs for cancer patients."

The mission of the Cancer Foundation of Northeast Georgia, a non-profit organization based in Athens, Ga., is to help alleviate the financial burdens facing cancer patients by providing emergency (within 24 hours) monetary assistance to eligible cancer patients in its 18-county service area. Since starting program in 2008, the foundation has provided more than $300,000 in financial assistance to nearly 800 cancer patients for basic life needs such as rent, mortgage, utilities, nutrition, medication, insurance co-payments and transportation. Everyone who applies for assistance and who meets the income guidelines receives assistance from the Foundation. The Foundation is currently on track to exceed their goal of $135,000 and expects to provide almost $175,000 in financial assistance this year, as more people learn about the Foundation or are impacted by the economy, particularly rising gas prices.

"The Survivor Circle grant will help us tremendously because we grant direct financial assistance to cancer patients," said Kimberly Liebowitz, MSW, executive director of The Cancer Foundation of Northeast Georgia. "It will also help raise awareness of our organization and the financial challenges faced by cancer patients. A lot of people don't think about the financial piece; they think about education and research, but it's important to remember the financial impact of cancer. Thank you, ASTRO, for supporting our important role that benefits many patients."

Based in Valdosta, Ga., the South Georgia Medical Center, Pearlman Cancer Center serves nearly 250,000 people who live in 17 surrounding counties located along the Florida/Georgia border. The center plans to use ASTRO's Survivor Circle grant to launch a dental health support program that will assist head and neck cancer patients and other cancer patients who need dental care. The program, which hopes to help 20 to 25 cancer patients every 18 to 24 months, will provide up to $500 per patient for dental services, particularly in preparation for beginning cancer treatment. While the center expects most beneficiaries to be head and neck cancer patients, any cancer patient who meets the income eligibility requirements will receive assistance. Dental services can include X-rays, complete dental exams, fluoride trays and extractions. While the Survivor Circle grant will provide the seed money for the program, the center is also working to secure local dentists who will provide dental services and dental cleaning at a reduced cost. Additional fundraising events are planned to help support the dental services initiative.

"We are committed to doing what is in the best interest of the patient," said Bridgett Young, RN, BSN, OCN, director of Oncology Services at the South Georgia Medical Center, Pearlman Cancer Center. "In these changing health care times, we know money is tight, and we provide meaningful assistance for patients. We are thankful for ASTRO's Survivor Circle grant to help launch our dental health support program."


Contact: Michelle Kirkwood
American Society for Radiation Oncology

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