By Jennifer Jang, ASTRO Communications
In fall of 2022, two Texas-based organizations, Breast Cancer Resource Center (BCRC) and Thrivewell Cancer Foundation were selected as ASTRO’s Survivor Circle grant winners for the services they provide to cancer patients, their families and caregivers. Each organization received a $10,000 grant in October and were honored at the 64th Annual Meeting in San Antonio. Specifically, the Survivor Circle Grant Program provides financial gifts to two cancer support organizations in the state hosting ASTRO’s Annual Meeting. ASTRO followed up with both organizations to learn more about how the grants provided tangible support in the past year.
Based in San Antonio, ThriveWell Cancer Foundation offers programs and support to improve the quality of life for patients and their families in San Antonio and the Bexar County community. They carry out their mission by providing the following: financial assistance to help offset treatment-related expenses, a complimentary fitness and nutrition program called Diva&Dude, and cancer research funding for local researchers.
ThriveWell used the Survivor Circle award to expand their Patient Assistance Program, which served a record number of patients in their community, 575 to be exact, a 30% increase in patients served over the same time frame the prior year. The grant specifically helped 10 cancer patients pay for their radiation treatment co-payments of up to $1,000 each, allowing the patients to fully comply with their treatment plan. Patient Graciela C. shared, “At a time when I felt my most vulnerable with this disease and everything that comes along with it, it was so comforting to have the support and assistance that ThriveWell provided. I am so grateful to the entire staff and donors who made it possible for me to get through my treatment. I will be forever grateful, and I hope to reciprocate what this foundation has done for me.”
BCRC has provided services for over 28 years in Central Texas. BCRC runs a Patient Navigation program that provides guidance and education to people diagnosed with breast cancer in their community. In addition to their one-on-one patient navigation, BCRC provides support to their clients, including monthly support groups, online forums and their Compass Crew program for health and wellness.
This past year, multiple Compass Crew events were very successful including Healing with Horses and Rowing, and this past spring, they had their infusion room volunteers begin, providing over 580 hours in five infusion centers comforting cancer patients. BCRC held their annual Art Bra Austin event in May and had over 600 attendees cheer on models who are all BCRC clients. They coordinated a retreat for their metastatic clients in August and 33 attended. A survey afterward captured that 92% said it felt good to be with people going through the same thing as they are. BCRC used the Survivor Circle grant to support their patient navigators, individuals who are critical to the BCRC mission of empowering those affected by breast cancer with personalized support and compassion.
The Survivor Circle grant has allowed these two special organizations to multiply their impact. We encourage cancer support organizations in next year’s Annual Meeting region, DC-Maryland-Virginia (DMV), to consider how they too might bolster their support. Applications are open and due in the spring.
Read about the 2023 California-based Survivor Circle grant recipients. These two organizations received their grants in October at the 2023 ASTRO Annual Meeting in San Diego.
This year, more than one million Americans received radiation treatment as part of their cancer care. That’s why the Radiation Oncology Institute (ROI) — ASTRO’s foundation — believes in the power of radiation therapy to save and improve lives and the essential need for more personalized technologies, techniques, tools and resources.
As the only charity dedicated to advancing research and education on radiation therapy to directly impact people living with cancer, ROI champions passionate investigators who employ bold, innovative approaches to solve oncology’s biggest challenges.
From Monday, December 4 through Friday, December 15, ROI is celebrating the 12 days of gRADitude! Each day, we’ll share an amazing milestone from our ROI-funded researchers. And, we invite you to join us in amplifying radiation therapy’s impact by making a tax-deductible donation.
In addition, Frank Wilson, MD, FASTRO, and members of the ROI Board of Trustees are offering to match all donations received up to $12,000! Help us raise vital funds, celebrate our successes, and prepare to give new grants and awards in 2024.
Follow the 12 days here or on the ROI social channels — X (formerly Twitter), Facebook and LinkedIn — and make your personal gift to accelerate radiation oncology research and education at ROInstitute.org/donate.