CancerCare Welcomes New CEO, Patricia Goldsmith

April 7, 2014

As CancerCare approaches the 70th anniversary of its founding, we are pleased to welcome oncology leader Patricia Goldsmith as the new Chief Executive Officer. Patricia will officially join the organization on May 5, 2014.

“As CancerCare marks seven decades of helping the cancer community, we are thrilled to have found an exceptional leader in Patricia Goldsmith,” said CancerCare National Board of Trustees President Susan Smirnoff. “Patricia is a dynamic oncology visionary with an outstanding record of achievement, and we look forward to expanding CancerCare’s service offerings under her leadership.”

Patricia brings more than 20 years of nonprofit management and strategic planning experience to her new role, and has a proven track record of success in hospital and physician academic organizations, as well as nongovernmental health care organizations. She previously served as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN), an alliance of 25 of the world’s leading cancer centers devoted to patient care, research and education. In this role, she was responsible for overall operations and provided oversight for a multitude of programs and national initiatives.

Prior to joining NCCN, she was Vice President for Institutional Development, Public Affairs and Marketing at the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute, the only Florida-based National Cancer Institute-Comprehensive Cancer Center.

“CancerCare is a remarkable organization that does so much good for so many,” said incoming CEO Patricia Goldsmith. “As the leading social service organization in cancer, CancerCare is well-positioned to support the coming changes in our health care system directly relating to the psychosocial and financial effects of diagnosis, treatment and survivorship. I have admired the organization for many years and am honored to have been chosen to become the next CEO. I look forward to working with the talented staff and Board of Trustees to achieve even greater success in the coming decade.”


Caribou Coffee Raises $250,000 In Support of Our Free Services

November 18, 2013

Caribou Coffee offered its special Caribou Coffee Amy’s Blend collection of coffee, tea and merchandise from September 28 through October 31, donating 10% of all retail coffeehouse proceeds to CancerCare. The collection was named in honor of the company’s original roastmaster, Amy Erickson, and helped raise an astounding $250,000 in support of people coping with breast cancer.

Caribou Coffee CEO and President Mike Tattersfield journeyed from Minneapolis to our national headquarters in New York City to present Caribou’s donation on November 4. CancerCare breast cancer clients Michele “Maisey” Mais and Elisa Colon were on hand for the presentation.

L to R: CancerCare Board of Trustees Member Michael Parisi, CancerCare client Michele “Maisy” Mais, Caribou Coffee CEO and President Mike Tattersfield, CancerCare COO John Rutigliano, CancerCare client Elisa Colon, CancerCare Oncology Social Worker Carly Mesavitz

View more photos from Caribou Coffee’s visit.

As part of the social media program “Caribou Knits,” Caribou also presented us with 450 scarves, intended to provide warmth to those impacted by breast cancer.

To learn more about this year’s Caribou Coffee Amy’s Blend program, visit

We are tremendously proud of our partnership with Caribou Coffee, a company that shares CancerCare’s dedication to helping people affected by cancer. Thank you, Caribou!


AVONCares Supports CancerCare Financial Assistance for Women Facing Cancer

August 19, 2013

Being told that you have breast cancer or watching as a love one receives this diagnosis can turn your world upside down. Facing important medical decisions and managing difficult emotions can sometimes be overwhelming to everyone involved. But for many families, it is the tremendous financial cost of cancer treatment that presents the greatest challenge.

The financial impact of a cancer diagnosis is oftentimes overlooked and under-discussed. The inability to go to work and provide for one’s family, paired with medical and practical costs, can result in patients feeling lost and unsure of where to turn for help.

Donna came to CancerCare after she was diagnosed with breast cancer and facing a financial crisis. “I was overwhelmed with emotions, questions, concerns, and yes, sometimes fear. Because I was laid off from my job just short of a year before being diagnosed with aggressive stage-II cancer, I had nowhere else to go, since my treatments were overwhelming and left me with no energy to work. CancerCare came through for me, helping me to attend my daily radiation treatments that extended for seven weeks.”

Since 2000, The Avon Foundation for Women has generously supported CancerCare‘s financial assistance services, educational programs and publications for underserved women facing breast cancer. AVONCares, a partnership between CancerCare and the Avon Foundation for Women, provides limited financial assistance to underserved women for homecare, child care and transportation. Over the past 13 years of our partnership, the Avon Foundation has provided more than $20,000,000 to more than 65,000 women from all 50 states.

Remember to reach out for support—medical debt can cause emotional stress, but there are resources available to provide relief. Learn more about CancerCare’s financial assistance services, and view all of our support services for people affected by breast cancer, including counseling, support groups and education.

Support for CancerCare and the Avon Cares program is made possible by funds raised through the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer series. For more information, visit


“Ices for Andrea” Gives Back to CancerCare®

August 14, 2013

For the seventh consecutive year, sisters Joann and Diana hosted “Ices for Andrea” to raise funds for CancerCare. The fundraiser was held in memory of their mother Andrea, who died of breast cancer in 2007.

After her passing, Joann and her sons attended weekly counseling sessions at CancerCare. “They gave me the tools to start getting my life back, start parenting again and speak of my mom without being hysterical.”

In an effort to give back to the organization that helped them through their cancer journey, the sisters created “Ices for Andrea” on the first anniversary of their mother’s passing. As a tribute the sisters decided to sell Italian ices, Andrea’s favorite dessert, and donate all proceeds to CancerCare’s free professional services. Thanks to an outpouring of support from their community, this year’s event raised an astounding $10,150 for people affected by cancer.

Counseling for cancer patients, caregivers and loved ones is available over the telephone no matter where you live in the U.S. or in person at our offices in New York City, Long Island, New Jersey, and Connecticut.

CancerCare’s staff of professional oncology social workers provide support, information and resources to help you better cope with cancer. Learn more about our counseling services.

CancerCare Advocate Provides Hope for others Affected by Cancer

June 1, 2013

Maddy Gold sharing her story at the CancerCare Festival of Hope Gala

After being deeply impacted by cancer at such a young age, 13-year-old Maddy has become a courageous advocate for CancerCare’s free professional services available to anyone affected by cancer.

Maddy began coming to CancerCare for emotional support at the age of six after her mother, Alyssa, was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer. “It was important for me to be at CancerCare, because if not, I would have let my nerves and feelings get the best of me,” explained Maddy. “My mom started losing her hair and got a wig. At first I didn’t understand why, but CancerCare once again came to the rescue. They explained to me about the medicine in her body and how it made her lose her hair.”

In December 2006, Alyssa passed away. Maddy and her brother continued coming to CancerCare to learn how to cope with their loss and their father joined a weekly bereavement group.

Determined to give back to the organization that helped her family through their most challenging times, Maddy dedicated her Bat Mitzvah project to providing hope to CancerCare clients. “Because of my experience, I know a lot about cancer. I wanted to contribute my time to talking to or working with children,” she said.

She currently volunteers at the CancerCare New Jersey office each week helping to prepare for the annual Healing Hearts Bereavement Camp. One of her passion projects involves creating a memory lane path where the children can add their fondest memories of a lost loved one. She has also raised over $1,500 by selling CancerCare bracelets and collecting donations through her family’s “Hearts of Gold” walking team.

Maddy continues to inspire CancerCare staff and clients each day with her desire to provide others with help and hope in the face of cancer.

Get Help Coping with Lung Cancer

April 8, 2013

People diagnosed with lung cancer face medical, emotional, financial and practical challenges. They may also face a unique stigma, as lung cancer is often associated with smoking.

A lung cancer diagnosis may lead some to ask, “Did you smoke?” It is natural to find such personal questions offensive and react in anger. Consider responding by talking about how lung cancer has many causes besides smoking, including environmental factors. Many people with lung cancer have never smoked, and can be unexpectedly diagnosed. Turning an inconsiderate question into a teachable moment can be a very powerful means of confronting lung cancer stigma. 

CancerCare’s professional oncology social workers can help you find ways to talk about lung cancer through individual counseling, and can put you in touch with others in a similar situation through a free support group.

Leading lung cancer experts will answer questions during CancerCare’s May 17 Connect Education Workshop, “Advances in the Treatment of Lung Cancer.” Participation is free, but registration is required.

Learn more and register.

View all of CancerCare’s lung cancer resources.

CancerCare Honors Leader in Cancer Treatments at Partnerships in Hope Annual Awards Dinner

February 7, 2013

More than 175 dedicated CancerCare supporters convened at The Yale Club in New York City on Tuesday, February 5th for the 30th CancerCare Partnerships in Hope Annual Awards Dinner. The event, hosted by actress and cancer advocate S. Epatha Merkerson, honored Eisai, Inc. with the “Partnership Award” for their commitment to supporting people affected by cancer. 

CancerCare CEO Helen H. Miller with actress and cancer advocate S. Epatha Merkerson

Eisai, a leader in providing treatments for breast cancer and treatment side effects, is a longtime supporter of CancerCare’s free Connect Education Workshops and educational publications. Eisai is also the sponsor of CancerCare’s Healing Hearts Bereavement Camp, a weekend retreat for families who have lost a loved one to cancer. And, Eisai’s Magnolia Meals at Home program has to date delivered free meals to more than 285 people receiving treatment for breast cancer. Accepting the award on Eisai’s behalf was Dr. Takashi Owa, chief innovation officer of Eisai Product Creation Systems.  

Dr. Takashi Owa accepts the “Partnership Award” on behalf of Eisai

Also honored at the awards dinner was CancerCare client Pamela O., who told her courageous story of coping with triple-negative breast cancer. Pamela shared:

To survive something, one merely has to live through it. I wanted more than just to survive cancer, I wanted to live, thrive and prosper in spite it. Kristy [my social worker] was there for me…I could really tell she was listening, that she actually heard my pain, my frustration, my fear.  She believed in me! And she worked with me until I could believe in me again.

CancerCare client Pamela O. shares her story

CancerCare helped Pamela and more than 100,000 other people coping with cancer in 2012 thanks to our generous supporters. Consider making a donation to CancerCare to help us continue providing free, support services to anyone affected by cancer.

To speak with a CancerCare professional oncology social worker, call 800-813-HOPE (4673).

L to R: CancerCare oncology social worker Kristy Case; CancerCare client Pamela O.; CancerCare CEO Helen H. Miller


Looking for a Perfect Holiday Gift That Gives Back?

November 30, 2012

Support CancerCare this holiday season by shopping at using our affiliate link. Use it any time you shop online, and CancerCare will receive a commission of 4–10% of your purchase price.

Book lovers on your shopping list who love a good page-turner will be riveted by the new thriller, Lilith’s Awakening, which can be purchased through the affiliate link. A portion of the proceeds from each sale of the book will support our free services for people facing cancer.

You can also support CancerCare by shopping at, where you can find a wide selection of quality products for women, kids, men, and the home. For every $5 you spend, CancerCare will receive $1.

And, consider a trip to the CancerCare Thrift Shop at 1480 Third Avenue (between 83rd and 84th Streets) in New York City to find the perfect gift for the fashion enthusiast on your list.

The CancerCare Thrift Shop is located on Manhattan’s Upper East Side.

CancerCare Thrift Shop Director of Retail Operations, Caroline McKinnon

Visit the thrift shop for a wide selection of jewelry, items for the home, and high-end clothes and accessories. On any given day, you can find items from brands such as Chanel, Hermes, Gucci, Prada, and Armani, at a fraction of their original price. And the best part? All proceeds benefit our free, professional services.

Shoppers browse high-end items at the CancerCare Thrift Shop.

Learn more about ways to support CancerCare.

Partnership with Caribou Coffee Raises Record $250,000 in Support of CancerCare®

November 15, 2012

CancerCare was thrilled when national coffeehouse retailer Caribou Coffee announced they would partner with us this fall through their Amy’s Blend program. We were even more thrilled to learn that the partnership helped raise $250,000 in support of people affected by breast cancer—the largest amount raised in the 17-year history of the program!

Caribou offered its special “Amy’s Blend” collection of coffee, tea and merchandise from Sept. 29 through Nov. 7, donating 10% of the proceeds to CancerCare. The collection is named in honor of the company’s original roastmaster Amy Erickson, who passed away from breast cancer in 1995.

CancerCare® is a national nonprofit organization providing free, professional services to anyone affected by cancer. Our services include counseling and support groups, educational publications and workshops, and financial assistance. All of our services are provided by professional oncology social workers and are offered completely free of charge.

“Tribute to Our Friends” Honors Leading Medical Experts and Dedicated Donors

October 9, 2012

CancerCare honored leaders in cancer treatment and recognized dedicated donors at its annual “Tribute to Our Friends” awards ceremony. More than 80 of CancerCare’s steadfast supporters attended the event, held Thursday, October 4 in New York City.

Two of the nation’s leading medical experts, Kathryn J. Ruddy, MD, MPH, and Mario E. Lacouture, MD, were presented with CancerCare’s prestigious “Physician of the Year” award.

“Physician of the Year” honoree Kathryn Ruddy, MD, MPH with CancerCare Director of Education and Training Carolyn Messner, DSW

Dr. Ruddy, Instructor in Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Medical Oncologist at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, is an expert in the medical treatment and supportive care of women coping with breast cancer, as well as an expert in adherence. She has served as presenter on many of CancerCare’s Connect Education Workshops, including “The Importance of Taking Your Pills on Schedule: Understanding Adherence” and “Understanding the Important Role of Adherence in the Medical Management of Cancer.” Dr. Ruddy also served as an editor of our Connect booklet, The Importance of Taking Your Pills on Schedule.

Dr. Lacouture is Associate Attending Physician, Department of Dermatology at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. He is a leading expert in the treatment of skin cancer and melanoma, as well as in the care of treatment-related side effects that affect the skin. Dr. Lacouture is a longtime Connect Education Workshop presenter who has answered listeners’ questions during workshops such as “Progress in the Treatment of Metastatic Melanoma” and “Understanding and Managing Chemotherapy Side Effects.”

“Physician of the Year” honoree Mario E. Lacouture, MD with CancerCare Director of Education and Training Carolyn Messner, DSW

He is the author of Dr. Lacouture’s Skin Care Guide for People Living with Cancer, which provides information and practical suggestions for the prevention and treatment of treatment-related skin, hair, and nail changes. Dr. Lacouture also edited CancerCare’s Connect booklet, Treatment Update: Melanoma.

The evening continued with CancerCare Board of Trustees President Susan S. Smirnoff presenting John Evans with the “Donor of the Year Award.” Mr. Evans is a longtime supporter of CancerCare’s services, notably serving as Lung Cancer Walk for Hope Chairman for the past seven years. This past June, Mr. Evans served on CancerCare’s National Gala Committee, helping the committee to raise more than $450,000 in support of our free services.

John Evans & Family, with CancerCare Board of Trustees President Susan S. Smirnoff

CancerCare’s “Interdisciplinary Award” was presented to Jan S. Lewin, PhD, Professor, Department of Head and Neck Surgery, Section Chief, Speech Pathology and Audiology, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. Dr. Lewin is a well-known authority on speech and swallowing restoration in patients with head and neck cancer. She has served as expert presenter on our Connect Education Workshops, “Progress in the Treatment of Oral and Head and Neck Cancer” and “Current Trends in Oral and Head and Neck Cancer.”

Dr. Lewin (who was unable to attend the ceremony) reflected on her work with CancerCare in her acceptance speech:

“I am humbled and honored to receive this most prestigious award and am sorry that I am unable to be with you today to personally thank you. It has been my pleasure to participate in all of the CancerCare workshops over the years as the information and support these workshops provide to patients, families, and caregivers, as well as healthcare providers, is immeasurable. Often times, we forget that access to accurate information is unavailable to many people who fight the battle of cancer.

I would also like to thank my dear friend, Carolyn Messner, who has thought highly enough of my work to continue to include me in your educational initiatives. She has devoted herself to ensuring that critical information and services are available to people all over the world through high-quality professional presentations.

You are an amazing group of people who work tirelessly to support people with cancer and those who try to make life just a bit easier for them. I am truly flattered by your recognition of me and remain one of your biggest fans and strongest advocates.”

Peter Noseworthy, MD with his wife, “Physician of the Year” honoree Kathryn Ruddy, MD, MPH

This year’s “Tribute to Our Friends” concluded with CancerCare’s Program Division Director Rosalie Canosa presenting the “Special Fund of the Year” award to Donna Polisar.

“Special Fund of the Year” honoree Donna Polisar

Donna, Donna’s twin sister Jane, and their mother, turned to CancerCare when they received devastating news that Jane had been diagnosed with cancer. After Jane passed away, Donna talked with her social worker about ways to honor Jane’s memory by sharing their love for theater and the arts.  Since that time, each month Donna has arranged for a CancerCare client to enjoy a fun night out, complete with a Broadway play and dinner with a loved one.

We at CancerCare thank everyone who attended this year’s “Tribute to Our Friends” event, and indeed thank all of our dedicated supporters who help us continue to provide free support services to anyone, anywhere affected by cancer.