Cancer Patients at St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Win Bermuda Cruise & Atlantic City Weekend Trips from Laura's Journeys

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A resident of Newton, NJ, won a 7- night cruise to Bermuda and two Manhattan residents won weekend trips to Atlantic City from Laura's Journeys, a support program for cancer patients at Continuum Cancer Centers of New York. The program, which encourages and facilitates recreational travel for patients, has now awarded 18 vacations since its inception in Fall 2009.

Newton, N.J. resident Frances Smeal was the grand prize winner of a seven-night cruise to Bermuda awarded by Laura’s Journeys (, a support program for cancer patients at Continuum Cancer Centers of New York 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 Manhattan residents, Aurora Humes and a patient who requested privacy, were selected as second and third prize winners of two-night trips to Atlantic City.

The winners’ names were drawn from more than 150 entrants (the largest number to date), all currently undergoing treatment for cancer, during a raffle last month in the hospital’s infusion suite.

The grand prize winner, Frances Smeal, 76, a lifelong Manhattan resident who recently relocated to Sussex County in New Jersey, will travel to Bermuda from New York on the Norwegian Gem with her daughter, Roberta Eaton, later this fall.

“My mom has never won a thing and I can’t begin to tell you how excited she was when she learned that she had won a cruise,” said Ms. Eaton, who also lives in Sussex County. “My mom worked her whole life and never had a real vacation. After winning the cruise, she told me that the only thing she’s ever wanted to do was take a cruise.”

The winners of the second and third prizes will receive two-night stays at an Atlantic City casino resort. Ms. Humes, an 86-year-old retired dietician, will visit Atlantic City with her daughter later this fall. The third winner will also travel this fall.

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.”

Since the program’s inception in fall 2009, Laura’s Journeys has now awarded 18 vacations and weekend getaways to chemotherapy and radiation therapy patients. These have included one-week cruises to various parts of the Caribbean and New England/Canada; a one-week trip to Athens, Greece; one-week stays in Merritt Island and Palm Beach Shores, 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 have come to believe that there are therapeutic benefits to traveling while undergoing treatment for cancer,” said Dr. Sara. “No matter what the duration, planning a trip gives patients something to look forward to and provides a vitally important psychological lift from grappling with the day-to-day issues associated with cancer. 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.”

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

FROM: Parness & Associates
Lisa Kreda, 732-290-0121, parnespr(at)optonline(dot)net


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William Parness
Parness & Associates
(732) 290-0121
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