The Baton Rouge Area Foundation has granted $2 million to Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center to purchase and operate a mobile medical clinic. The clinic will provide free cancer screenings and related services for the uninsured and underinsured residents in southeast Louisiana parishes.
Mary Bird Perkins, a leading cancer care organization in southeast Louisiana, will begin operating the mobile clinic early next year in Terrebonne, LaFourche, St. Mary and St. Tammany parishes, where death rates from cancer among vulnerable populations are higher than the state average.
In a recent report on survivorship, The Centers for Disease Control cited early detection among the reasons why nearly 12 million Americans have been classified as cancer survivors. Expanding access to free cancer screenings is a critical step toward detecting cancer earlier when more treatment options are available and better outcomes are possible.
“The fight against cancer starts on the front end,” said Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center’s Vice President, Cancer Support and Outreach, Renea Duffin. “Offering more free screenings to at-risk populations is a driving force behind Mary Bird’s mission to improve survivorship and lessen the burden of cancer. We are so grateful to the Foundation for this incredible gift to help advance this vital initiative.”
Mary Bird Perkins already operates one mobile clinic that travels throughout its 18 parish service area. The Foundation grant will provide up to $750,000 to purchase a second unit and $1.25 million to operate it for five years. The rolling clinic will help support the mission of Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center at TGMC in Houma and Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center at St. Tammany Parish Hospital in Covington.
The clinic will have three exam rooms and provide services at convenient times and locations such as on weekday evenings and on weekends. Services include cancer screenings for breast, prostate, skin, oral and colorectal cancers – the latter involving distribution and education on easy-to-use take home kits. Operating funds will pay for a full-time early detection and education specialist, patient navigator and outreach coordinator.
Since beginning a mobile screening outreach program six years ago, Mary Bird Perkins and its partners have screened more than 45,000 people – all made possible solely by generous support from donors, corporations and grantors.
The Foundation provided the grant from its Fund For the Future of the Gulf, which is a flexible fund established following the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill in 2010 and generously funded by BP. Under the act of donation, the fund first assisted members of the deepwater drilling industry who suffered economic hardship as a result of the federal moratorium on drilling, and now is addressing long-term issues affecting people, wildlife and the environment, as well as developing and implementing solutions that deliver a stronger and smarter Gulf Coast.
About Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center: Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center is a regional cancer care organization that has been fighting cancer for more than 40 years. With centers in Baton Rouge, Covington, Hammond, Houma and Gonzales, its service area encompasses 18 parishes across southeast Louisiana.
About the Baton Rouge Area Foundation: The Baton Rouge Area Foundation is a community foundation serving South Louisiana. The Foundation does two things. One, we connect our charitable donors to nonprofits and causes, offering knowledge so they can make better decisions with their philanthropic dollars. Two, we take on civic leadership initiatives that solve fundamental problems. These include reclaiming the inner city, reforming schools, improving health care delivery across Louisiana and creating The Water Institute of the Gulf to respond to rising seas and subsiding deltas. More information is at BRAF.org.
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