the past several weeks, as my colleagues have been working on some of
the technical aspects of getting this blog “up and running,” I thought
of several different topics for my first discussion.
But all of those thoughts paled in comparison to the devastation and tragedy Katrina brought to our shores last week.
I suspect, like me, you were struck numb by the tragedy. I
will confess to moments of intense sadness as I contemplated the extent
of the personal toll, and the burdens that were suddenly cast on our
families, friends and colleagues.
an optimist, I believe that people are resilient and are already
working on getting their lives together and returning to at least some
semblance of normality. The outpouring of concern and help—financial and otherwise—is testament to how we support each other in times of dire need.
at the American Cancer Society, we knew that patients, families,
caregivers and health care professionals would turn to us for help. My
colleagues (especially those in our Health Promotions and Corporate
Communications Departments) at the National Home Office in Atlanta and Austin, TX worked tirelessly to assemble information resources. Our National Cancer Information Center based in Austin
already was available 24/7, and our cancer information specialists were
briefed and provided the necessary tools to help in the immediate
aftermath of the storm.
you are a patient with cancer, caring for a patient with cancer, a
health professional or anyone who needs help dealing with a
cancer-related problem, please call us at 800-ACS-2345, or go our
designated Katrina web site at www.cancer.org/katrina. There, you will find resources listed with the most up-to-date information we have. We remain in regular contact with a number of friends and other organizations to find resources that may be available for you.
you are a doctor or health care professional who wants to let us know
where you have relocated, contact us and we will keep the information
on file and provide it to your patients when they call us. If you are a patient, we will record your information as well, including the name of your doctor. We
recognized early in this process that perhaps one of the most important
services we could provide would be to match patients and their doctors,
who have the important information about diagnoses, medications and
American Cancer Society family is nationwide, and many of us were
concerned about our colleagues who were caught in the midst of
Katrina’s savagery. No sooner than they had secured their own personal situations, our friends in the Mid-South Division, which covers Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama, had gone to work to address the needs of the people in their communities. Our High Plains Division based in Austin, TX became involved in the immediate care and counseling of evacuees who had traveled to Texas. And,
as the evacuees spread across the country, all of our divisions either
are or will become involved in helping those in need.
I am proud to be part of a team that put so much effort into helping the victims of Katrina. But I’m certain all of us here at the Society want you to know that we are here for you. Call
us, check out our information on the website, and always know we are
always available, especially in this time of special need.