Cancer Center’s transportation dreams come true thanks to overwhelming local support

“Access to healthcare is one of the most pressing challenges for our community. For years Northwestern Louisiana Cancer Center’s employees have witnessed countless patients struggle to get to and from treatment, often having no transportation at all,” said Sarah Stewart, director of the Northwestern Louisiana Cancer Center. In response to the heartbreaking stories, the Northwestern Louisiana Cancer Foundation was formed in 2018 to find partners and raise funds to meet this need. “The Foundation was created so that we could truly help our local patients. Natchitoches does not have public transportation (Uber, buses, taxis, etc.). When a disease such as cancer threatens you or your loved ones, transportation should be the last thing you’re troubled with,” Stated Stewart.

The Northwestern Louisiana Cancer Center and the Natchitoches Regional Medical Center joined forces to tackle the dual needs of early detection and access to cancer treatment. To that end, Tappedtober Craft Beer & Wine Festival was created to raise funds for a van for the Cancer Center and to bring 3D Mammography to NRMC (opening October 2019).

The success of the inaugural Tappedtober Craft Beer & Wine Festival far exceeded expectations. Approximately 1,500 attendees, 125 volunteers, and 32 sponsors stepped up in a huge way. Tappedtober provided the needed seed money and broad community awareness that resulted in individual donations and a grant from the NRMC Foundation.  A second successful fundraising event –  “A Kentucky Derby Pre-Party” was an incredibly popular event that brought over 150 people and lots of additional contributions to making the dream of NLCC owning its own van a reality.

The Northwestern Louisiana Cancer Foundation is grateful to Jimmy Granger Natchitoches Ford Lincoln for not only their generous presenting sponsorship of Tappedtober but also for helping make this van a reality. Mr. Granger found the perfect van at the perfect price to ensure the raised funds fully covered all cost related to acquiring a service ready van. Transportation services are scheduled to launch in October. We will have an unveiling and huge Press Release on Wednesday, August 7th at 12pm noon at Jimmy Granger Ford Natchitoches.

“Our new van will get our program on the road and helping cancer patients. However, the operational expenses of fuel, maintenance, insurance and a driver are the next fundraising goal,” stated Stewart. “Thankfully, the Cancer Center itself has dedicated 3 months funding to get the program operating. Fundraising must continue to keep the program operational at no cost for our most needy cancer patients. The most encouraging aspect of supporting this program is that 100% of all donations stay local and help our community,” said Stewart. The van will service patients from Natchitoches, Winnfield, Campti, Coushatta, Many, Jonesboro, Zwolle, and many more surrounding areas.

“We cannot even begin to express our gratitude to every single person who made this possible. There are too many to name. So many people stepped up and are giving back. We are Blessed to live in a community that cares so much for each other,” said Sarah Stewart.

The 2019 edition of Tappedtober will return to the Natchitoches Riverbank for its second year on Saturday, October 12 from 12-10:30 PM. Limited remaining sponsorship opportunities are available now. Please consider joining the mission to increase local access to cancer care and healthcare excellence in our community by becoming a sponsoring partner. You do not have to wait for an event to support this great cause. Donate today!

All donations should be made out to Northwestern Louisiana Cancer Foundation, a non-profit 501c3 organization. If you would like to donate, volunteer, or for more information please contact Sarah Stewart at 318-464-3850.