Cancer Patients at St. Luke's Roosevelt Hospital Win Caribbean Cruise and Atlantic City Weekend Trips in Latest Giveaway for Laura's Journeys

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Program Encourages and Facilitates Therapeutic Recreational Travel for Cancer Patients. Rego Park, N.Y., resident Jamie Wynn, Jerryfen Arcentales of Jersey City, N.J., and Mary Hilliard of the Bronx are the latest winners of cruise and weekend getaway vacations awarded by Laura’s Journeys, a support program for cancer patients at Roosevelt Hospital in Manhattan and other institutions within the Continuum Health Partners network. The program is designed to encourage and facilitate recreational travel for the patient along with their spouse/partner or other family members/friends.

Rego Park, N.Y., resident Jamie Wynn, Jerryfen Arcentales of Jersey City, N.J., and Mary Hilliard of the Bronx are the latest winners of cruise and weekend getaway vacations awarded by Laura’s Journeys, a support program for cancer patients at Roosevelt Hospital in Manhattan and other institutions within the Continuum Health Partners network. The program is designed to encourage and facilitate recreational travel for the patient along with their spouse/partner or other family members/friends.

The winners’ names were drawn from among approximately 75 entrants, all currently undergoing treatment for cancer, during a raffle at St. Luke’s-Roosevelt on January 20.

“Laura’s Journeys,” was created by Aberdeen, N.J., resident Bill Parness in memory of his wife Laura, who passed away in November 2008 at the age of 54 after a courageous battle with breast cancer. He developed the program based on the therapeutic benefits he and Laura derived from their extensive travels during the six years she was being treated for advanced breast cancer. “The rewards Laura and I received from traveling during those years are just too numerous to mention,” said Mr. Parness. “Beyond the sheer pleasure of traveling, Laura always came home feeling refreshed and ready to tackle her next treatments.”

Ms. Wynn, a 31-year-old breast cancer patient, won the drawing’s grand prize: a seven-night cruise for two to the Western Caribbean on the Crown Princess, departing from Fort Lauderdale. She will be joined on the trip, which includes airfare and hotel accommodations in Florida, by her sister Lesley. They will travel in March.

“I am thrilled and honored to have won this trip,” Ms. Wynn said. “Speaking with Bill and learning about Laura makes me feel like I am part of their journey and celebration of life.”

Ms. Wynn is the coordinator of the Arts Fellowship at the Drisha Institute for Jewish Education, where artists grapple with ancient texts through painting, poetry, theater, and music. Born and raised in San Francisco, she received her Masters in Education and moved to New York to pursue her studies in Talmud at the Drisha Institute. She has a background in painting and community murals and has participated in over 40 mural projects in the San Francisco Area, Israel and Russia.

The winners of the second and third prizes will both be treated to two-night, weekend stays at the Tropicana Casino and Resort in Atlantic City this spring. Ms. Arcentales, a 47-year-old uterine cancer patient who works as an elementary school teacher in the Bronx, will travel with her husband Rick. Ms. Hilliard, 73, who is undergoing treatment for colon cancer, will travel with her son.

Including these latest trips, since its inception in late-2009, Laura’s Journeys has awarded 12 vacations and weekend getaways to cancer patients at St. Luke’s-Roosevelt. These have included one-week cruises to the Caribbean and New England/Canada; a one-week trip to Athens, Greece; one-week stays in Merritt Island, Fla.; and weekend getaways to the Berkshire Mountains in Massachusetts and Atlantic City.

Laura Parness was a patient of Gabriel A. Sara, M.D., Medical Director of the Chemotherapy Infusion Suite and Executive Director of the Patient Services Initiative at Continuum Cancer Centers of New York, located at Roosevelt Hospital. Dr. Sara is a strong advocate for therapeutic travel for his patients.

“Over my many years of practice, I especially enjoy hearing stories of my patients’ trips, seeing their photos and, more than anything, seeing their smiling faces as they felt revitalized and happy. After their trip they continue to remember the beautiful moments they had and know that they can do it again. Thanks to Laura’s Journeys, many patients will have the opportunity to create these memories,” said Dr. Sara.

In addition to trip giveaways, “Laura’s Journeys” offers tips for traveling while undergoing treatment for cancer, money-saving advice, and important guidance such as finding a doctor who is supportive of travel, setting realistic expectations, taking out travel insurance policies that don’t exclude pre-existing conditions, reaching out to airlines and front desks at hotels for special requests, and advising patients to always travel with a doctor’s note.

For more travel tips or to donate, please visit http://www.laurasjourneys.org.

FOR: ST. LUKE’S-ROOSEVELT HOSPITAL
FROM:
Parness & Associates
Lisa Kreda, 732-290-0121, parnespr(at)optonline(dot)net

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William Parness