Advocates: Increased support for fight against cancer – The Guam Daily Post

Guam Cancer Care continues to raise awareness through its “Join the Fight” campaign, which peaked yesterday at the Sheraton Laguna Guam Resort, as more than 40 private and public sector representatives put ink to paper to pledge their support in the fight against the disease.

This is the highest number of pledges so far in one event, according to the nonprofit, whose advocacy has encouraged more companies to pledge their support each year. Guam Cancer Care credits Bank of Guam and Micronesia Mall as two of the companies that first signed up in 2013.

Guam’s high incidence of cancer remains a rallying point for service providers, patients and affected families on the island. According to the Guam Cancer Registry under the Department of Public Health and Social Services, every year around 300 residents are diagnosed with cancer, and the impact extends to families and loved ones.

To provide much-needed assistance, Guam Cancer Care offers professional support services to any Guam resident adversely affected by cancer, with programs that include patient navigation and advocacy, screening, some funding for treatment, counseling, support groups, education and transportation coordination.

Variety of accomplishments

Ellie Ongrung, Guam Cancer Care program director, provided an overview of what the nonprofit has accomplished so far.

According to Ongrung, since the nonprofit started offering services, it has registered 1,585 patients and brought in around $5.3 million in external resources to support patient services.

Following the inclusion of its patient supply services program in 2013, the nonprofit has released 2,697 issues of supplies in the form of nutritional supplements and medical equipment to 861 patients.

Ongrung said the nonprofit has transported more than 900 patients to and from treatment centers. While the organization can facilitate off-island transportation for qualified cancer patients or their caregivers, each case passes through a review process to match potential resources, according to information posted on the nonprofit’s website.

The nonprofit also assists patients financially by identifying potential funding sources. According to Ongrung, this year alone, Guam Cancer Care has awarded $296,000 in financial assistance to patients.

A unified campaign

Rhythm Blas, cancer outreach coordinator, in her presentation, described “Join the Fight” as a unified campaign where programs and ideas are developed as part of the outreach, education and cancer screening programs of the nonprofit.

The overall goal of the campaign is for every company, organization and group in Guam to sign the pledge.

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