New York, NY (PRWEB) May 26, 2012
A 59-year-old retired bookkeeper from Manhattan 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 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 grand prize winner, Ruby Jackson, won a week-long stay for two in a one-bedroom unit at the Marriott Ocean Pointe Vacation Club in Palm Beach Shores, Fla. The second prize winner, a Brooklyn resident who requested anonymity, received a one-week stay for two in a studio unit at the same resort.
The stays were donated by Marriott timeshare owners Laurie and Clark Nardinelli of Laurel, Md. The winners will be accompanied by a family member on their trip, which also includes airfare, car rental and meals provided by Laura’s Journeys. 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.
“I’ve entered every drawing since the program started in 2009 and each time I said, ‘this time I’m going to win.’ This time, I finally did,” said Ms. Jackson. “I just finished chemotherapy so now I’m going to get a chance to really relax.”
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 http://www.laurasjourneys.org.