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Eli Lilly and Co. Foundation Awards Multi-year Grant to Cancer Support Agency to Expand Reach to Underserved

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(INDIANAPOLIS) – Cancer Support Community, formerly The Wellness Community, announced today a multi-year grant from the Eli Lilly and Company Foundation that will allow the organization to reach and serve low-income, homeless and underinsured central Indiana residents and level disparities in cancer survivorship that exist among minorities and low-income individuals.

The grant will fund “Urban Outreach Collaborative”, a program designed to bring together organizations in the field of oncology and community-based organizations that target minorities and the underserved in order to connect them to vital cancer support programs. The multi-year grant will be paid in installments of $25,000 a year over the next three years to Cancer Support Community. The goal of the project is to bring together organizations that can help connect cancer patients with accessible services and programs.

“The Lilly Foundation reserves a significant portion of its philanthropic donations for organizations and programs that drive positive, measurable outcomes for patients,” said Rob Smith, president of the Lilly Foundation. “Therefore, we are pleased to be supporting Cancer Support Community and this important initiative. This collaborative effort will help people get access to services that can help them, perhaps even save their lives.”

According to the 2009 Indianapolis Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure’s Community Profile, African-American women in Marion County are diagnosed with late-state breast cancer nearly twice as often as Caucasian women, with similar statistics reported through National Cancer Institute, for low-income and the uninsured and underinsured.

“Lack of access to critical healthcare services is one of the main causes for the disparities in diagnosis and treatment of cancer among minorities and non-minorities as well as the un/underinsured and those with healthcare resources,” says Kathleen N. Spears, PhD, executive director, Cancer Support Community. “This same lack of access often precludes people with cancer from participating in programs that could improve their health outcomes. Our goal through this program is to address the ‘access issue.’”

“We are thrilled that Lilly supports programs that target the underserved in our community. There is a real need and this grant award helps address that need” says Helen Pryor, chairman, Cancer Support Community. “Yesterday, we held our first program as a result of this award and we had over thirty-five minorities in attendance. The most we’ve had and we are grateful that Lilly is helping to make this happen.”

Cancer Support Community (CSC) was founded as The Wellness Community-Central Indiana in 1995. Approximately 200 individuals were served in 1995 and that number has increased to nearly 1000 individuals in 2009. CSC provides at no charge, psychological and emotional support, including support groups and stress management programs, for individuals and their families affected by cancer. CSC is not an alternative to medical treatment; it is an integral part of a comprehensive approach to treating cancer. For more information call 317-257-1505 or visit www.twc-indy.org.

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