T-shirts Help Oil Crisis Workers

June 22, 2010 5:43 AM

Melanie N. Cross

We all have them. Many of us have closets and dressers packed with them. They’re T-shirts, and they can help in the oil spill cleanup effort.

Oil Spill News from Tulane


Sorting and packing donated T-shirts are staff members (from left) Geraldine Servant, Maria Morales, Vincent Streva and Cecily Bennett, who all work in Dr. Prescott Deininger’s lab at the downtown health sciences campus. (Photo by Tammy Bordes)

Tulane Cancer Center is coordinating a T-shirt drive to assist relief workers. It started when Mary Ellen Menge, president of the Daughters of the American Revolution New Orleans chapter, remembered collecting a bottle of sunscreen at a cancer awareness event.  

“Our DAR chapter adopted a fleet of relief vessels, and they desperately needed sun screen,” said Menge. She called the telephone number on the bottle and requested 150 of them to give to the workers.  

“We were eager to assist and to protect relief workers from overexposure to the sun, a major risk factor for skin cancer,” said Prescott Deininger, director of the Tulane Cancer Center and co-director of the Louisiana Cancer Research Consortium, a partnership between Tulane, Louisiana State University, Xavier University and Ochsner.  

Menge also mentioned that the workers needed T-shirts. “They soil their shirts quickly and have to change often,” she said. That’s when the T-shirt drive was organized.  

Tulane Cancer Center faculty and staff members have donated more than 250 shirts to the effort so far and have mobilized other organizations to donate as well. “The American Cancer Society, Susan G. Komen for the Cure and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society were all very generous,” said Menge. “We collected over 1,500 T-shirts in the first week, and we could still use more!”

“It’s a win-win,” said Dr. Roy S. Weiner, associate dean for clinical research and training. “We were able to clean out our closets while helping with the cleanup.”

Anyone interested in donating T-shirts can call the Tulane Cancer Center at 504-988-6592.

Melanie Cross is manager of communications at the Tulane Cancer Center.

Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5000