CancerCare Year in Review 2023
2023 marked another eventful year for CancerCare’s emotional and educational support programs, both in-person and virtual, as well as advocacy efforts and fundraising for people affected by cancer. In this fiscal year alone, we provided over 52,000 hours of emotional and practical support and answered over 46,000 calls on our helplines.
Earlier this year, we partnered with the Bladder Cancer Advocacy Network to launch the first-ever helpline dedicated to anyone affected by bladder cancer, including patients, their loved ones, caregivers and those who have lost a loved one.
We also released our Employer Toolkit on Biomarker Testing, which helps those involved in benefit design make informed decisions about covering cancer biomarker testing for their employees. Biomarker testing helps improve outcomes of cancer treatment and reduce health inequities.
This spring, we gathered at the Ziegfeld Ballroom in New York for our national gala, which raised over $1,000,000 for our free practical, financial and emotional support services for anyone affected by cancer. Our Festival of Hope gala at the Park Savoy in New Jersey also raised over $150,000 to fund our free support services.
The updated 2023 edition of our Helping Hand guide was also released earlier this year. This guide compiles information about organizations providing practical and financial support for people impacted by cancer. It is available in print, digitally and through our Online Helping Hand.
In June, CancerCare's Young Professionals Committee held its 6th annual “Cocktails for a Cause” fundraising event. The gathering doubled its fundraising goal to support future undergraduate scholarships for young adults impacted by cancer while celebrating this year’s scholarship recipients.
In July, 19 families who recently lost a loved one to cancer gathered in Mount Pocono, Pennsylvania for our annual Healing Hearts Family Bereavement Camp. Both adults and children had the opportunity to connect with others who have similar experiences while engaging in fun and therapeutic activities including horseback riding, fishing, crafts and support groups.
2023 was also an eventful year for CancerCare's education department. Closed captioning is now available for our free recorded Connect® Education Workshops, making them more accessible to a wider audience. This year, we streamed 67 workshops covering treatment updates, health care inequities, coping techniques and more.
Our free virtual Coping Circle Workshops continued to offer education and support to people affected by cancer. Topics included clinical trials, shared decision making, gynecologic cancers and more.
Our community programs, both virtual and in-person in New York and New Jersey, also offered information and support to people affected by cancer. Topics and activities included exercise, yoga, gratitude, art and more.
Our oncology social workers and other staff attended many conferences and health fairs in 2023, where they had the opportunity to represent CancerCare, give presentations, speak on panels and share their expertise on a variety of cancer-related topics. At the Association of Oncology Social Work Annual Conference in June, our Director of Clinical Programs, Sarah Paul, LCSW, OSW-C, won first prize for her poster presentation on her work creating CancerCare's Cancer Out Loud podcast, which produced eight episodes in 2023, all available to stream or download on Spotify, iTunes and Google Play.
At the start of the school year, our Back-to-School Program provided backpacks and age-appropriate school supplies to over 200 students affected by cancer in pre-K through 12th grade throughout New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.
CancerCare also earned a prestigious four-star rating from Charity Navigator, demonstrating our commitment to financial accountability and organizational health. This makes us an official “Give with Confidence” charity, meaning that donations are used effectively to advance our mission based on Charity Navigator’s criteria.
In October, CancerCare and blend.works launched myTRIAList, a resource website and clinical trial finder that help people living with cancer and their loved ones navigate the challenges of finding clinical trials.
In November, we hosted our 20th annual Lung Cancer Walk for Hope in Woodbury, New York, where over 200 people walked to honor the memory of loved ones lost to lung cancer, celebrate post-treatment survivors and support those currently coping with a lung cancer diagnosis. Thanks to the generosity of hundreds of our supporters, over $90,000 was raised to fund our direct support services and programs for anyone affected by lung cancer.
In December, CancerCare for Kids’ Winter Warmth and Holiday Gift Card programs made the holidays a little warmer by providing 137 packages of winter accessories and 150 gift cards to children and teens affected by cancer in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.
The winter also got a little warmer thanks to CancerCare's Share the Warmth Program, which provided new coats to 75 individuals aged 50+ who are in active treatment for cancer in New York and New Jersey.
To top it all off, CancerCare provided $81 million in financial and co-payment assistance to over 28,000 people for costs including transportation and practical needs and to help pay for their medications.
The end of 2023 also marked the retirement of Patricia J. Goldsmith, CancerCare's former Chief Executive Officer and the appointment of Christine Verini as the organization’s new CEO. Christine brings over 20 years of oncology experience, which includes her role as CancerCare's Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer and we look forward to her guidance and strategic vision for the organization!
This year demonstrated the continued importance of different types of connection among our clients, staff and supporters. The return of more in-person events, conferences and programs led to more opportunities to build community, while virtual support services and programs allowed for greater accessibility and convenience. As we celebrate 80 years of providing help and hope in the new year, we will continue to build on the ways we can support anyone affected by cancer.