Fighting Chance is hosting its annual Gala at The Beach Club at Maidstone on Saturday, June 2.
The Sag Harbor-based free cancer counseling center, which has served the East End since 2002, is not only looking forward to another fabulous summer soiree, but this fall is an especially exciting time for the non-profit with the opening of Fighting Chance’s new “satellite office” in Southampton.
“The Philips Family Cancer Center is opening in late November or early December. We will be moving in there the same time that the doctors move in,” explained Duncan Darrow, who founded Fighting Chance. “The money that we raise for this Gala will help pay for the salaries of the professionals that are going to be in that office.”
The festive affair on June 2nd will feature cocktails, dinner, and dancing.
“Our office at The Philips Family Cancer Center is being given to us rent-free. We will have more staff in that office – with counselors as well as navigators. We’re trying to be sure our finances are robust when that Cancer Center kicks in because it will place demands in Fighting Chance,” Darrow noted. “I think after 16 years, pretty much everyone that is involved in the war against cancer – whether you are an oncologist, a hospital administrator, hospice worker – everyone now pretty much realizes – which was not true when we opened for business in 2002 – that psychosocial support and navigation make the cancer journey easier and often more effective.”
The satellite office will offer the same services as Fighting Chance’s Sag Harbor location, but Duncan hopes this new site will further the reach of the organization.
“The benefit for the East End of Long Island will be a lot of what we do occurs in our office, we’re a counseling center, so people get the greatest benefit from Fighting Chance if they can psychically visit our counseling center. We have a lot more resources we can run you through [in person], including taking you through our website,” he explained. “What we’ve found so far in our 16 years of serving the East End is right about when you get to the Canal, there’s a drop-off in the ability or the willingness of cancer patients to come to our office in Sag Harbor. We’ve looked at different options throughout the years, but with the Southampton office, which will have counseling and navigation, we think we will be able to make contact with people that live in Hampton Bays, Westhampton, and not to mention Southampton Town.”
As of now, Fighting Chance aids approximately 250 newly diagnosed patients each year.
“We’re going to be more accessible to people who are a bit further west from Sag Harbor. This Cancer Center is comprehensive so you have radiation, which is a huge breakthrough for healthcare on the East End because right now the closest radiation source is Riverhead,” Darrow said. “In cancer treatment, chemo is once every three weeks, radiation is every single day, Monday through Friday, for five weeks. It’s one thing to say you have to go to Riverhead once every three weeks for chemo, it’s another thing to say you have to go to Riverhead every single day, Monday through Friday, for several weeks.”
Additionally, The Philips Family Cancer Center, which is part of Stony Brook Southampton Hospital, will offer chemo infusions, access to oncologists, and there will also be a pharmacy onsite.
“If you’re in Montauk and you’re elderly – most people that have cancer are over 60 – and it’s the winter and you don’t feel very good to begin with, imagine driving to Riverhead versus, when this is open, driving to Southampton. It’s a big difference,” he explained. “They will also have clinical oncology, which means chemotherapy, and they’re going to have us, so we also are going to be presenting what we offer in the cancer journey to people that are already in the same building. In that sense, we are very excited because there are going to be people there going through chemo and most go with a friend or family member who drives them and during the course of the time that they’re there I think a lot of the caregivers will wander into our office.”
In addition to free counseling, Fighting Chance provides tips and strategies for dealing with cancer, help navigating the cancer journey, financial aid, free Jitneys to treatment, and more.
“Putting Fighting Chance aside, I think the creation of The Philips Family Cancer Center is revolutionary. You can look around communities with the population density of the East End – which in the winter is not that great – and very few communities of our size – I’m talking winter population – have a comprehensive cancer center,” he added. “We’re very fortunate and I think it will end up being a pioneering, very celebrated development in the field of oncology. We have a lot of data to reflect on we’ve counseled over 2,000 patients.”
Tickets to Fighting Chance’s 2018 Gala are $400. The Gala will take place from 6:30 to 11 p.m.
For more information about Fighting Chance, call 631-725-4646 or visit www.fightingchance.org.