Dear Local Residents,
Kate Corsitto here- your American Cancer Society Representative supporting our 3 Putnam County Relay For Life events (Brewster, Mahopac and Patterson). The fight against cancer is being challenged. But it’s a fight that cannot be cancelled, postponed or rescheduled. The mission of the American Cancer Society is critical to families facing cancer and this mission to save lives is at risk. Now, more than ever we can’t let up on the fight and leave cancer patients to fight this alone.
While this is a difficult time, our dedicated volunteers are working hard to keep our Relay communities connected virtually and fundraising to support our mission. Based on the current guidance and out of an abundance of caution, the American Cancer Society has decided to suspend all in-person events through the end of June due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This does not mean our events are cancelled. Stay tuned for more details about new event platforms! We are motivated because we see the impact that the resources we raise funds for are right here in Putnam County. Cancer doesn’t stop for a pandemic and we haven’t stopped being there for cancer patients either.
I’m proud of the work the American Cancer Society has done to transition services to help fight the COVID-19 pandemic, and I wanted to share with you some of what we are doing:
- Hope Lodges are being converted to house front line health care workers. With the spread of coronavirus, we had to make the difficult decision to close Hope Lodges to cancer patients, to protect those we serve. With Hope Lodges standing empty and health care workers being called on to work longer shifts and are often afraid to go home for fear of infecting their families, we stepped in. We are offering Hope Lodges free-of-charge to front line health care workers who need a safe place to stay.
- Our 24/7 helpline for answers and support is still operating, and we are investing in capabilities for video chat. 80% of our calls in March were related to coronavirus, and we can’t stop taking those calls. Reach To Recovery, our peer-to-peer breast cancer support network, is also still operating during this time, and has transitioned to be phone and video based.
- We are dedicated to providing fact-based answers and support for cancer patients and caregivers, especially with misinformation about the coronavirus circulating. We built a hub on our website, with resources for patients, survivors, and caregivers; we invited Dr. Len, our deputy chief medical officer, on our podcast to talk about what cancer patients need to know about coronavirus; and we’re producing a series of short videos answering common questions that we are sharing across our social media channels.
We’re continually adapting to meet this crisis, and I feel hope because of how our community has risen to the occasion around us. Though the way we serve our patients, caregivers and loved ones of patients has changed this past month, our mission has not and cannot stop – cancer diagnoses are still happening, patients are still receiving treatments and undergoing surgery, and patients, families and friends are learning how to cope with cancer during this crisis. Cancer hasn’t stopped, so neither will we. Our volunteers, donors and sponsors are vital to our organization and fulfilling our mission.
To donate to Relay For Life Brewster visit- relayforlife.org/brewsterny
To donate to Relay For Life Mahopac visit- relayforlife.org/mahopacny
To Donate to Relay For Life Patterson visit- relayforlife.org/pattersonny
Relay For Life truly is a community movement to end cancer, and we can’t do that without amazing cancer fighting partners like you!
American Cancer Society- Community Development Manager