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Give a Gift of Hope This Holiday Season

December 4, 2007

Melanie N. Cross

When Joseph Cabrice counts his blessings this holiday season, he will be thanking the Tulane Cancer Center and its Patient Relief Fund.

Joseph Cambrice

Joseph Cambrice celebrated a birthday he didn't think he would see in September. Cambrice is one of approximately 25 patients who benefited from the Tulane Cancer Center Patient Relief Fund this year. (Photo by Melanie Cross)

Cambrice is one of approximately 25 Tulane Cancer Center patients who have received financial assistance this year from the center’s Patient Relief Fund, which is appealing to the Tulane and New Orleans community for holiday donations.

For Cambrice, there was a very real chance that he wouldn’t be around to celebrate the holidays this year. Cambrice was a full-time waiter when he was diagnosed with non-small cell lung cancer last December.

Doctors told him that if his cancer were left untreated, he had only six months to live. Since then, he and his doctors at the Tulane Cancer Center have been battling his cancer with radiation and chemotherapy.

Cambrice counts his blessings with a big smile on his face, including the financial support he received from the Tulane Cancer Center Patient Relief Fund. Unable to work this past year, he used the financial assistance to pay transportation costs so that he could travel to his treatment sessions, as well as to purchase food. In addition to the obvious financial benefits, the relief funds have helped Cambrice in many other ways. 

“The financial assistance I got from Tulane helped me out a great deal, both mentally and physically,” Cambrice says. “It gave me hope and a reason to live.” 

The Patient Relief Fund is often the only source available to the Tulane Cancer Center’s patient navigator and social worker to solve urgent financial problems for cancer patients. The fund was established in 1998 to help needy patients meet unexpected expenses associated with their care at Tulane so that they can focus on getting well.

Over the years, this fund has granted more than $30,000 in assistance, providing help with everything from transportation, meals and short-term housing to prescription co-payments and rental assistance for patients facing eviction. 

“Even though we are two years post-Katrina, the needs are still great in our community,” says Roy Weiner, clinical hematologist-oncologist and founder of the fund. “This type of assistance is more important than ever, especially because there are so few resources to assist our needy patients.”

The Tulane Cancer Center staff will send out acknowledgement cards in your name to your list of recipients for gifts of $5 or more per recipient.

To participate, send your contribution (make checks payable to Tulane Cancer Center), along with a list of those individuals who should receive acknowledgement of your gift. A donation form is available online or simply list your recipients and their address information on a sheet of paper and send it along with your check to: Keadren Green, Tulane Cancer Center, 1430 Tulane Ave., Box SL-68, New Orleans, LA 70112-2699. For more information, contact Keadren Green or call 504-988-6064.

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

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