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Georgia Cancer Specialists to Sponsor Sixth Annual 'Totes 2 Tots' Suitcase Drive for Foster Children

GCS and WSB-TV Partner to Collect Bags at 25 Georgia Locations

ATLANTA, Jan. 9 /PRNewswire/ -- Georgia Cancer Specialists (GCS) -- the largest private oncology/ hematology practice in the Southeast -- will team up with WSB-TV for the sixth annual "Totes 2 Tots" suitcase drive. The event will be held at 25 GCS offices across Georgia on Friday, January 18, 2008, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

"Totes 2 Tots" delivers new or nearly new suitcases to foster children in Georgia, many of whom must shuffle their belongings from home to home in garbage bags during frequent relocations. The annual volunteer event was first launched by GCS in 2003 and has collected and distributed over 8,200 bags.

"This is a wonderful opportunity to support Georgia's foster community, which is often overlooked," said Dr. Bruce Feinberg, President/CEO of GCS. "We are thrilled that this event will be the biggest and most productive to date."

The Totes program has also gained the avid support of Governor Sonny Perdue and First Lady Mary Perdue. They are very active in the foster community and have been foster parents themselves.

"I'm pleased to join Totes 2 Tots and many other Georgians in finding ways to meet the needs of abused and neglected children in their own communities," said First Lady Mary Perdue. "This endeavor encourages and enables us to truly make a difference in the life of a child."

2008's 25 locations -- expanded from 13 in 2007 -- include GCS offices in Alpharetta, Athens, Atlanta, Austell, Blairsville, Blue Ridge, Canton, Conyers, Cumming, Decatur, Duluth, Douglasville, Fayetteville, Griffin, Lawrenceville, Lithonia, Macon, Marietta, Milledgeville, Oconee, Ringgold, Snellville, and Stockbridge (for complete listing, visit

"Children who come into DFCS custody are often traumatized by the experience of being separated from family members, familiar surroundings, and personal items that make up their daily experience," said Donna Pettigrew- Jackson of the Division of Family and Children Services (DFCS). "The luggage collected by the Totes 2 Tots program allows foster children the opportunity to carry some of their personal belongings with them into care. This wonderful initiative helps our foster children maintain both a sense of connection and a modicum of dignity during an intervention which can be difficult for them."

In 2005, WSB-TV recognized the importance of the drive and agreed to support it as a part of its Family 2 Family Project. This will be the fourth year that GCS and WSB-TV have partnered for "Totes 2 Tots." Family 2 Family is the longest running locally produced, comprehensive, station-wide public service effort in Georgia. It includes shows such as People 2 People, a weekly half-hour public affairs program hosted by Jocelyn Dorsey that chronicles events and newsmakers in metro Atlanta.

Georgia Cancer Specialists (GCS) is the largest private oncology/hematology practice in the Southeast and a leader in advanced cancer treatment and research. The practice offers community-based medical oncology and hematology services and is the first private oncology practice to also provide a full range of support services for patients in Georgia, including nutritional counseling, pain management, wellness counseling, and home health coordination. The GCS research department, whose focus is bringing targeted cancer therapy to communities, is the first in Georgia to offer Phase I clinical trials, the most novel cancer therapies available. GCS has 33 offices, 41 doctors, and over 540 support staff members located in Metro Atlanta and North and Central Georgia, and provides care through approximately 160,000 annual patient visits. Georgia Cancer Specialists can be found on the web at GCS is The Cancer Answer(R).

Statistics About Georgia's Foster Children

-- 15,119 children were in foster care as of December 2005

-- 30% of those children have been in foster care more than 24 months

-- 50% were African-American

-- 41% were less than 6 years old

-- 67% were younger than 12

-- About 2,237 of those children were staying with relatives

-- About 8,386 were staying in foster homes

-- About 1,561 were in group homes

-- About 974 were housed in institutions

-- Approximately 8% of the children discharged will re-enter foster

care within 1 year

-- Foster parents are reimbursed according to the age of the child:

birth to 5, $13.75; 6-12, $15.50; 13 and above, $17.75. The rate is

higher for children needing medical care or a higher level of

supervision. Medical treatment and clothing costs are covered by

the agency.

-- Georgia's 200 group homes are reimbursed for about 68% of their


-- Georgia's 4,174 foster parents are reimbursed for about 67% of

their costs

-- Those 4,174 families save the state approximately $34 million per


-- Georgia ranks 39 out of 50 states in overall child well being

**Statistics from Governor Sonny Perdue's web site:

CONTACT: Ryan Klee | Lenz, Inc.


SOURCE Georgia Cancer Specialists
Copyright©2008 PR Newswire.
All rights reserved

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