Nonprofit Kicks Off National Bus Tour to Collect Words of Comfort for Cancer Patients
Nonprofit, Giving Comfort, to collect photos, videos and messages of encouragement to share with low-income cancer patients currently in treatment
SAN FRANCISCO, Calif., July 24, 2014 /3BL Media/ – Giving Comfort – a program of the McKesson Foundation that provides care packages called “Comfort Kits” to low-income cancer patients – today launched its first ever cross-country bus tour to promote Words of Comfort, an online initiative to collect comforting and inspiring messages from the general public to share with cancer patients as they endure painful chemotherapy treatments.
The bus tour will span more than 6,000 miles and 12 cities, and will include visits to Giving Comfort’s Distribution Partners like Ronald McDonald Houses and American Cancer Society Hope Lodges, which deliver the Comfort Kits into the hands of patients across the country on an ongoing basis. The tour will also have a social media component, sharing photos and experiences along the way, as well as tracking the miles and messages collected, through tools like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr during each stop along the route.
“No one should fight cancer alone, and the McKesson Foundation’s Giving Comfort program is working to rally the nation to share their words of comfort, inspiration and encouragement with patients who are currently waging war against this disease,” said Elizabeth Howland, managing director of Giving Comfort and official “Bus Tour driver.” “Through my personal experiences and work with Giving Comfort, I know that it’s the little things that can mean that most during treatment, from a few kind words and a smile, to a pair of fuzzy socks.”
The tour will kick off in Detroit on July 24, and will head to New York City and other cities including Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Jacksonville, FL and The Woodlands, TX. Each stop will not only feature Comfy, the Giving Comfort mascot, but will also have video and photo booths where people will be able to submit their very own Word of Comfort on site. Each message submitted will bring Giving Comfort one step closer to their goal of 1.6 million messages – a number equivalent to the number of people newly diagnosed each year with cancer.
“Giving Comfort works with countless partners in 34 states across the country to bring comfort to low-income cancer patients who need it the most,” said Carrie Varoquiers, President of the McKesson Foundation and VP of Corporate Citizenship. “Our Comfort Kits bring physical and emotional relief to recipients, and Words of Comfort is a way for everyone to make a contribution, no matter how small, that can brighten a person’s day and provide strength at a critical time in that patient’s life.”
Comfort Kits are care packages for cancer patients of all ages that are filled with the most requested comfort items – ranging from warm, fuzzy socks to tea and stuffed animals – to ease discomfort during chemotherapy treatment. When Giving Comfort asked hundreds of patients and caregivers what cancer patients need most while they’re going through treatment, they learned that small comfort items – like those included in Comfort Kits – can really help patients endure tough times.
In the words of a patient at VCU Massey Cancer Center, “Every item included in my Comfort Kit was useful and made me smile. I especially loved the messages! Thank you to everyone involved in creating the Kits. They will never know how much they are appreciated.”
To coincide with the launch of the Words of Comfort bus tour, Giving Comfort is also kicking off its Comfort Corps program – a community of supporters, or “Ambassadors,” working toward the common goal of providing comfort to cancer patients in need through volunteer and fundraising activities that also spread the word about Giving Comfort. At each tour stop, people will have the opportunity to register to become a Comfort Corps Ambassador and help fight cancer with comfort in their own communities. Ambassadors have done a wide range of activities to raise awareness, such as “Dine and Donate” events, garage sales and making cards with comforting messages to send to patients.
Nearly one quarter of people with cancer will exhaust all savings as a result of treatment costs, even with insurance and 11% of cancer patients cannot afford food & basic necessities due to treatment costs. It’s during these times that comfort items and inspiring words can have the most enduring impacts.
For more information on the Words of Comfort Bus Tour and the McKesson Foundation’s Giving Comfort program, visit: www.givingcomfort.org
About Giving Comfort
This year, more than 1.6 million people in the U.S. will be diagnosed with cancer. Hundreds of thousands struggle to pay for basic needs, leaving them unable to afford the comfort items that make treatment more bearable. A nonprofit program of the McKesson Foundation, Giving Comfort fights cancer with comfort. It provides patients with Comfort Kits – cancer care packages filled with essential items that help ease the discomfort caused by treatment. Patients in need receive Comfort Kits free-of-charge through a network of Distribution Network Partners, which include hospitals, cancer treatment centers and hospitality houses. Through its e-store, Giving Comfort offers Comfort Kits for sale, with all proceeds going toward Kits for those in need. To learn more, visit www.givingcomfort.org.