ARLINGTON, Va., May 18, 2016 – The American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) has selected The Samfund, a Boston-based cancer organization, to receive one of two ASTRO 2016 Survivor Circle Grants. The organization will receive $8,500 for its work in supporting young adult cancer survivors financially after cancer treatment.
The group will attend ASTRO's 58th Annual Meeting, September 25-28, 2016, in Boston at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center. The Samfund also won ASTRO's Survivor Circle Grant in 2012, when ASTRO's Annual Meeting was last held in Boston.
The other group to receive an $8,500 ASTRO Survivor Circle Grant is Boston Cancer Support, located in Boston.
"ASTRO is pleased to sponsor the Survivor Circle Grant Program, a funding initiative that provides gifts of financial assistance to two cancer support organizations in the host state and nearby states of our Annual Meeting. The Samfund helps young adults handle the financial impact of cancer treatment," said ASTRO President David C. Beyer, MD, FASTRO. "We are excited to support this Boston group in its mission for a second time."
"We were grateful to receive a grant from ASTRO in 2012," said Samantha Watson, founder of The Samfund. "We have seen tremendous growth since then, both internally–our staff has expanded from two to five, and we have been developing new programs in addition to expanding our grants program–and externally. We've continued to expand our webinar series, are developing our toolkit program and are working with our new Sambassador group, our key volunteers who have taken on a leadership position. With more of a focus on the costs of cancer, The Samfund has been uniquely positioned to participate in larger scale conversations, including our first published article."
"We applied for a second time because, with ASTRO's continued partnership and support, we can provide greater support to exponentially more young adults on an ongoing basis throughout the year."
Ms. Watson, a two-time cancer survivor, founded The Samfund in 2003 because of her own experiences during and after cancer treatment.
"'Cancer-free' isn't free–especially for young adults who are just starting out their lives," she said. "The high cost of health care, coupled with a dwindling savings account, lost wages and limited parental support, make moving forward after cancer feel impossible."
The Samfund supports young adult cancer survivors in their 20s and 30s in the U.S. as they recover financially from cancer treatment. By providing direct financial assistance and free online support and education, The Samfund helps young adults move forward toward their personal, Eprofessional and academic goals.
The organization will use the ASTRO Survivor Circle Grant money for its new Finances 101: A Toolkit for Young Adults With Cancer program. This toolkit is a resource that cancer professionals–doctors, nurses, social workers, resource specialists or patient navigators–can refer to patients, as well as a financial decision-making tool for young adults and others to reference during and after cancer treatment. The organization partnered with Triage Cancer, a national nonprofit educational organization, to develop the toolkit over the last year. They are now ready to launch the next phase, which is a free and online interactive tool that will provide more specific information and referrals to help young adults make well-informed decisions during and after cancer treatment.
"We hear from too many young adults every year who are facing financial crises because they didn't have the time or the guidance to make well-informed decisions," Ms. Watson said. "A classic example is health insurance, where a young adult who is choosing coverage for the first time is only considering the monthly premium, so she picks the cheapest plan, and then she faces bankruptcy because of a high deductible. In this case, more thorough information earlier could have made all the difference. The content for the first module of this interactive tool, which focuses on understanding health insurance costs, is already near completion. Modules on employment, disability insurance and other financial information are also in progress."
For more information about The Samfund, visit http://www.thesamfund.org. For more information about ASTRO's 58th Annual Meeting, visit http://www.astro.org/AnnualMeeting. For more information about Survivor Circle, visit http://www.rtanswers.org/survivorcircle.
ASTRO is the premier radiation oncology society in the world, with more than 11,000 members who are physicians, nurses, biologists, physicists, radiation therapists, dosimetrists and other health care professionals that specialize in treating patients with radiation therapies. As the leading organization in radiation oncology, the Society is dedicated to improving patient care through professional education and training, support for clinical practice and health policy standards, advancement of science and research, and advocacy. ASTRO publishes two medical journals, International Journal of Radiation Oncology , Biology , Physics and Practical Radiation Oncology; developed and maintains an extensive patient website, http://www.rtanswers.org; and created the Radiation Oncology Institute, a non-profit foundation to support research and education efforts around the world that enhance and confirm the critical role of radiation therapy in improving cancer treatment. To learn more about ASTRO, visit http://www.astro.org.
Erin L. Boyle