By Jennifer Jang, ASTRO Communications
The Survivor Circle is celebrating its 20th year in recognizing patient organizations. The Survivor Circle Grant is one of ASTRO’s ways of giving back to the cancer community, and grantees are announced during the ASTRO Annual Meeting. Last year at the 64th Annual Meeting in San Antonio, ASTRO had the privilege to provide a $10,000 Survivor Circle Grant for two Texas-based organizations, ThriveWell Cancer Foundation and Breast Cancer Resource Center (BCRC). ASTRO followed up with both organizations to learn more about how the grants provided tangible aid since last fall.
To start, ThriveWell Cancer Foundation, is dedicated to finding the cure for cancer by funding cancer research, providing patient support and offering programs to improve the quality of life for patients and their families. Founded in 2007, ThriveWell furthers their mission by providing the following services in the San Antonio and Bexar County community:
- Patient assistance: ThriveWell Cancer Foundation provides patients with financial assistance to offset the costs associated with their medical care, as well as treatment related transportation and lodging assistance.
- Diva&Dude: Diva&Dude is a fitness and nutrition program offering a variety of exercise classes and nutritional counseling for cancer patients and survivors, provided at no charge.
- Cancer research: ThriveWell Cancer Foundation supports local investigators who conduct cutting-edge research in the fight against cancer.
ThriveWell Cancer Foundation specifically used the Survivor Circle grant to expand their Patient Assistance Program, which now serves record numbers of patients in their community. The grant has been used to help 10 cancer patients pay for their radiation treatment co-payments. ThriveWell paid those patients’ co-payments, up to $1,000 each, which allowed them to fully comply with their treatment plan.
The Breast Cancer Resource Center (BCRC) was the other Survivor Circle grantee. Most recently, BCRC shared that their Patient Navigation program is as strong as ever in providing guidance and education to people diagnosed with breast cancer in central Texas. BCRC provides support to clients with monthly support groups, online forums and their Compass Crew program for health and wellness. Because clients have become more comfortable with virtual gatherings, that has been their most recent format, but they plan to offer in-person meetings as well in hopes of clients being more comfortable with that format. Last November, BCRC hosted a retreat for their metastatic clients and 18 attended, with activities like jewelry making, aromatherapy and body movement. It was a time for them to celebrate each other, have fun and also visit with the patient navigators.
BCRC used the Survivor Circle grant to support their patient navigators, who are critical to the mission of empowering those affected by breast cancer with personalized support and compassion.
BCRC has been providing services for over 28 years in Central Texas. In 2022, they served over 1,200 clients. They provided over 7,600 hours of patient navigation and resolved 94.5% of all clients’ needs. Over their 28 years, they have supported thousands of women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer. Unfortunately, some clients have a recurrence or progression of their breast cancer. At any point, whether it has been one year or 10 years, they can access BCRC’s services whenever they need them. BCRC’s impact is to ensure any woman or man who has been diagnosed with breast cancer has the support to navigate through their initial diagnosis, treatment and into survivorship specifically equipped with the knowledge and care they need to lead the life they want for as long as they can.
ThriveWell Cancer Foundation and BCRC have used their funds to enhance their impact. This October, ASTRO will award two $12,500 grants to Breast Cancer Angels and Cancer Support Community Los Angeles during the Annual Meeting in San Diego as we celebrate 20 years of the grant program! The program is an opportunity for support organizations from the host state of California to advance their initiatives and receive recognition in the ASTRO community. For questions about the grant, contact Beth Bukata.