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Cancer Coalition accepting grant applications

ALBANY -- The annual opportunity to provide tangible support for the out-of-pocket needs of Southwest Georgia cancer patients and their families is here again.

Officials with the Southwest Georgia Cancer Coalition are now accepting applications for this year's Cancer Care Grants. The grants are designed to assist area non-profit, community-based health or advocacy organizations that assist people undergoing cancer treatment.

The grants are awarded to the organizations, and from there the funding is filtered to meet the out-of-pocket needs of the patients.

"Part of our mission is to help support organizations that help support people with cancer in the region," said Cancer Coalition CEO Diane Fletcher. "It's an important part of the way we serve."

Grants up to $4,000, the maximum amount allowed, are awarded to organizations that provide cancer patients with medications to manage cancer-related symptoms such as pain or nausea, cancer-related prostheses, physician recommended or prescribed nutritional support, medical equipment and supplies, transportation for cancer-related medical visits, child care needed for a patient to receive care, treatment location lodging, food and living costs assistance and home accessibility or mobility support.

The organization must hold 501c3 non-profit status, and the patients and their families served by these funds must live in the Cancer Coalition's 31-county service area.

In the application packet, organizations should be able to state how they will accomplish the proposed activities within a 12-month period and describe how they will identify those to be served as well as how they will track or document the services and products provided.

"The application tells us how they will provide services to cancer patients," Fletcher said. "The organizations have to document that (those served) have cancer and live in the local area."

Proposals are due in by Sept. 30 at 5 p.m. Award decisions will be made by Oct. 31, and project funding is expected to start Dec. 1.

The number of applicants is generally six to 10 organizations annually. Last year, there were three applicants -- only one of which was considered eligible.

"We are really not certain what happened last year, but we are hopeful that if we get the word out (we will do better)," Fletcher said.

The first grants through this program were awarded by the coalition in 2006. Since that time, more than $136,000 has been awarded to various recipients including Archbold Medical Center, Mitchell County Food Bank, The Partnership Cancer Fund, PinkPals of Sumter County, Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital, Healthcare Advocates of Berrien County, Lowndes County Partnership Cancer Fund, Tift Regional Medical Center, Grady County Help Agencies and South Georgia Medical Center.

The grant funding is provided by donations made to the Cancer Coalition, Fletcher said.

For a complete listing of the Cancer Coalition's 31-county region, grant information, eligibility criteria and to download an application, visit www.swgacancer.org. Applications can also be obtained by contacting Jennifer Johnston at (229) 312-1700 or emailing jennifer.johnstonswgacancer.org.