Cancer Patients at St. Luke's and Roosevelt Hospitals Win Bahamas Cruise and Atlantic City Getaways in Latest Giveaway from Laura's Journeys

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Three Manhattan residents were selected as winners in the latest vacation giveaway by Laura's Journeys, a support proram for cancer patients at Continuum Cancer Centers of New York at St. Lukes and Roosevelt Hospitals in Mahattan and other institutions within the Continuum Health Partners network.

Three Manhattan residents were selected as winners in the latest vacation giveaway by Laura’s Journeys (, a support program for cancer patients at Continuum Cancer Centers of New York at St. Luke’s and Roosevelt Hospitals 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 approximately 120 entrants, all currently undergoing treatment for cancer, during a raffle last month in the hospital’s infusion suite.    

The grand prize winner, Mark Sutton-Smith, 56, an information technology professional, received a seven-night cruise from New York to the Bahamas on Norwegian Cruise Lines. Mr. Sutton-Smith, who will travel with his wife this spring, commented: “We’re delighted about this trip. We’ve never been on a cruise and we’re excited to travel during the beautiful spring weather. My wife and I consider this trip a stroke of good luck in what was a very trying year.”

The second prize winners will both receive two-night stays at a choice of Caesars Entertainment casino hotels on Atlantic City’s boardwalk, which donated a series of stays to Laura’s Journeys in 2012. Regina Brown, 58, a retired cashier will travel with her husband this spring. Annie Johnson, 63, a paraprofessional assistant for the New York City Department of Education who works with visually impaired children, plans to travel with one of her sisters this spring.    

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 nearly 25 vacations and weekend getaways to chemotherapy and radiation therapy patients. These have included one-week cruises to various parts of the Caribbean, Bahamas and New England/Canada; a one-week trip to Athens, Greece; one-week stays in Merritt Island and Palm Beach Shores, Fla.; and two-night 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

FOR:     St. Luke’s and Roosevelt Hospitals
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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