CancerCare® was founded in 1944 in New York City with the mission of helping advanced cancer patients. The lamp was chosen as the symbol for the organization because its light represented warmth, comfort and hope.
From the very beginning, CancerCare provided financial assistance for home care, as well as counseling by professional oncology social workers. By 1980, CancerCare was helping more than 25,000 people with its free counseling services, which to this day are the heart of the organization’s work.
During the 1980s and 1990s, technological advances helped the organization grow to its current national scope. The toll-free counseling line, Connect Education Workshops™ and website all made CancerCare’s services available to people across the country.
Today, CancerCare helps more than 1,000,000 people each year cope with cancer. Our websites have grown to become leading online resources, providing both information and support. The size and focus of the organization have grown tremendously since 1944, but the essential work is the same: caring for the individual, supporting their loved ones and providing help and hope to anyone affected by cancer.
The signing of papers of incorporation for the National Foundation for the Care of Advanced Cancer Patients (later called CancerCare).
The first CancerCare Chapter was founded in Flatbush, Brooklyn. For many years chapters served as the link between the community and the organization.
CancerCare’s bequest program begins with a large donation from the estate of CancerCare supporter Cecile Sawyer.
New York City Mayor Robert F. Wagner proclaims CancerCare Week during a ceremony at City Hall.
CancerCare produces "A Special Kind of Care," a nationally recognized film. The film showed how the organization provided care to advanced cancer patients and their families. Doctors, students of social work and health care professionals around the nation viewed this movie.
CancerCare honors Rawleigh Warner, CEO of Mobil, at its first Human Services Award Dinner. The Human Services Award Dinner continues to this day, raising more than $500,000 for the organization every year.
CancerCare Executive Director Diane Blum, MSW acts as co-founder of National Breast Cancer Awareness Week. This week recognized a major cause of death among women in the United States and educated the public about the importance of early detection. Today, the month of October continues to be National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, a major cancer awareness effort.
CancerCare offers its first Telephone Education Workshop on the topic: "Doctor, Can We Talk?" Today, CancerCare organizes more than 50 Connect Education Workshops each year reaching more than 42,000 people with current, expert information on a variety of cancer-related topics.
CancerCare becomes a national organization with the establishment of its toll-free counseling line which extended its counseling, support groups, educational workshops, resources and professional education to people throughout the country.
CancerCare goes online with email and its website, cancercare.org.
CancerCare receives its first grant from the Avon Foundation, marking the beginning of the Avon Grants program. The $2.1 million grant helped women with breast, ovarian and cervical cancers with financial assistance and support programs.
CancerCare is selected by the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Foundation to distribute its funds for cancer patients in the Gulf Coast area affected by the devastating Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. CancerCare distributed more than $500,000 directly to cancer patients within four months of receiving the grant.
The Institute of Medicine issues a comprehensive report calling for a new standard of care for all cancer patients that includes psychosocial services as part of the regular course of their treatment. CancerCare is one of the organizations named in the report as providing these vital services to people with cancer and their loved ones. CancerCare Executive Director Diane Blum served on the prestigious 15-member panel that produced the report.
CancerCare launches a co-payment foundation to help cover the cost of health insurance co-payments for treatment for people diagnosed with certain types of cancer. In its first three years of operation, the CancerCare Co-Payment Assistance Foundation distributed $8.4 million to more than 10,000 cancer patients.
CancerCare launches its Door-to-Door program with a generous grant to provide transportation assistance to people undergoing treatment for multiple myeloma.
CancerCare launches a helpline for women facing ovarian cancer, in partnership with the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund and L’Oreal; and a helpline for women facing Triple-Negative breast cancer, in partnership with the Triple Negative Breast Cancer Foundation.
In December, after 20 years as Executive Director of CancerCare, Diane Blum steps down to lead the Lymphoma Research Foundation.
In January, Helen H. Miller, LCSW, ACSW becomes Chief Executive Officer of CancerCare.
CancerCare partners with the Melanoma Research Foundation to launch a helpline for people facing melanoma. It is the fifth toll-free helpline operated by CancerCare’s staff of professional oncology social workers.
CancerCare provides counseling and practical help to more than 110,000 people affected by cancer, and gives $4.2 million to more than 26,500 people to help cover transportation, child care and home care costs related to their treatment.