“What Cancer Services offers is so important – even though my body might not feel like doing much, knowing I can be around smiling faces helps me push myself to help others laugh, too.”
– Sharish Adolph, breast cancer survivor
Cancer Services opened its doors in 1959 as a local, independent nonprofit to serve the needs of people living with cancer in the Greater Baton Rouge area. In the past 60 years, the organization has expanded its footprint to 18 south Louisiana parishes with the help of Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center. Due to the generosity of the community, individual donors and corporate sponsors, the agency continues to rapidly evolve with medicine and technology, empowering families by helping meet financial, physical and emotional needs that are part of the cancer journey. Cancer Services is known for advocating for recommended cancer screenings and helping ease the high cost of cancer diagnoses for area families by loaning medical equipment and distributing medical supplies and nutritional supplements.
“Since opening sixty years ago, Cancer Services has maintained a legacy of helping those in the area affected by cancer,” said Whitney Craig, director of Cancer Services. “Support isn’t just important for cancer patients; it’s vital. Our mission is to improve life for those living with cancer, and on this 60th anniversary, we are celebrating all the good that’s been done for the community, the many supporters we have to thank, and everything that’s to come in the future.”
|Founded as The Cancer Society of Greater Baton Rouge with the support of the United Givers Fund, now known as the United Way, under the direction of Anna Jane Warriner, and provided hand-made bandages and bed pads to 50 patients within the first year.
|Provided educational information about cancer, gave sick-room supplies to patients, worked with Baton Rouge schools to promote screenings with literature and sandwich boards.
|President Nixon declared a national war on cancer, and organizations nationwide rallied to help those with the disease.
|Available resources changed to reflect advancements in cancer care, including the increasing use of chemotherapy to treat cancer and the addition of nutritional supplements to assist patients throughout treatment. As services increased, volunteers became vital to day-to-day operations.
|The monthly Make Today Count support group began in Baton Rouge for those living with, through and beyond cancer. The group is still active and is the longest running of its kind in the area.
|Flourished as important United Way agency in the area, expanding services like library materials, support groups, and a wig room for those with hair loss because of treatment.
|Established annual fundraiser, Capital Chefs’ Showcase, to support growing services and programs. The event originated as a two-day cooking demo with a George Rodrigue-commissioned painting, and resulted in an annual gala that ultimately raised more than $2 million dollars to further Cancer Services’ mission.
|Following a capital campaign for a new building, moved from small house on Steele Boulevard to its new location at the old Bell South building.
|Support groups and services increased significantly in the new space, with an emphasis on children’s programs, including hosting the local chapter’s Candlelighter program for kids with cancer and their siblings, and developing Kids Kare and Camp Care, a still-flourishing weeklong summer camp for kids affected by cancer.
|Cancer Services continued to grow, with a substantial staffing increase and more than 250 volunteers from the community.
|Hosted region’s first-ever weekend Camp Erin for kids who have experienced the death of a loved one.
|Joined forces with longtime partner Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center to streamline services and extend reach to those affected by cancer in 18 parish-service area, merging annual fundraisers to form “The Gala Goes,” raising more than $475,000 to benefit area cancer care.
|Partnered with St. Joseph’s Academy to host the region’s inaugural STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Camp for youth affected by cancer.