Cancer Patients at St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital Win Florida Vacation and Atlantic City Weekend Trips in Latest Giveaway From Laura's Journeys

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A 54-year-old teacher from Orange County, N.Y. was the grand prize winner of an all-expenses paid trip to Florida awarded by Laura’s Journeys (http://www.laurasjourneys.org), a support program for cancer patients at Roosevelt Hospital in Manhattan and other institutions within the Continuum Health Partners network. Two additional winners were also selected at the March 3 drawing to receive weekend getaways to Atlantic City. .

A 54-year-old teacher from Orange County, N.Y. was the grand prize winner of an all-expenses paid trip to Florida awarded by Laura’s Journeys (http://www.laurasjourneys.org), 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.

Two additional winners were also selected at the March 3 drawing to receive weekend getaways to Atlantic City. The winners’ names were drawn from more than 70 entrants, all currently undergoing treatment for cancer, during a raffle in the hospital’s infusion suite.    

The grand prize winner, who requested privacy, won a weeklong stay for two in a one-bedroom unit at the Marriott Ocean Pointe Vacation Club in Palm Beach Shores, Fla. The week was donated by Marriott timeshare owners Laurie and Clark Nardinelli of Laurel, Md. The winner will be joined by his wife on the trip, which also includes airfare, car rental and meals provided by Laura’s Journeys.

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 donated by the Tropicana. Katrina Hodges, a 42-year-old Brooklyn resident being treated for colon cancer, will visit Atlantic City with a friend later this spring. The third winner, a 53-year-old breast cancer patient from Manhattan who requested privacy, will travel with a friend later this spring or summer.

“I’m excited about this trip because it’s been a while since I’ve had an adult getaway. I am looking forward to having some fun and ‘me time,’” said Ms. Hodges, a manager at Multiplan, Inc.

“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.”

Including these latest trips, since its inception in late 2009, Laura’s Journeys has awarded 15 vacations and weekend getaways to cancer patients at St. Luke’s and Roosevelt Hospitals. 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.

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

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William Parness

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