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City of Hope receives $10 million donation for supportive cancer care

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CBS News Los Angeles Live

Tens of millions of dollars will go towards establishing a supportive care cancer treatment practice after the City of Hope cancer research organization announced Tuesday it received a $10 million gift.

The donation, from the Sheri and Les Biller Family Foundation, will offer practical, social, psychological and physical support services. Examples are counseling, pain management, and survivorship programs. 

The money will also allow for integrative medicine like yoga and meditation. The services are provided to cancer patients beginning at intake and City of Hope says it improves outcomes and enables people to maximize their personal and family strengths.

"Cancer diagnoses and treatments bring tremendous stress to families, with challenges that are uniquely personal. Providing patients with access to supportive care programs has a direct impact on their treatment outcomes and our ability to deliver value-based medical care. It results in a reduction in the length of inpatient stays, hospital readmissions and ICU stays, and an improved quality of life and patient satisfaction," said City of Hope president and CEO Robert Stone, who is also the Helen and Morgan Chu Chief Executive Officer Distinguished Chair.

"We are grateful for the ongoing and generous support and partnership of The Sheri and Les Biller Family Foundation. Together, our vision is to lead the way in expanding supportive care programs to cancer patients and their families early in their road to recovery -- no matter where they live or where they receive care."

The donation will be used to increase City of Hope's work to train providers in the delivery of supportive care, develop research that informs care guidelines and develop assessment tools that other health care providers can adapt and use for themselves. City of Hope will also focus the gift on expanding supportive care by convening and educating patients, policymakers, insurance companies and health care providers on why it should be used as a standard practice for cancer and other life-threatening conditions.

"Our shared belief at The Sheri and Les Biller Family Foundation and at City of Hope is that supportive care should be an essential part of cancer care for every patient and family. Having lost two close friends -- women I referred to as sisters -- to breast cancer, I've seen firsthand the immense toll that cancer takes on patients and their loved ones, and I have come to understand the relief that truly integrated and meaningful supportive care can provide," said Sheri Biller, president of the foundation.

City of Hope personalizes its care based on the individual's age, noting that more than half of all cancer patients and nearly 70% of survivors are older than 65.

According to City of Hope Orange County's physician-in-chief Edward Kim, "supportive care programs can level the playing field in health equity, giving all patients the care they deserve." He noted that older patients, people of color and economically disadvantaged patients face unique barriers to cancer treatment.

"We work with patients and their loved ones, from the very beginning, to understand their greatest concerns and challenges. Then we tailor our support to meet the specific needs of patients and family members at every step along the way," he said.

City of Hope is a leader in supportive care in the U.S., being the first to fully integrate it into a patient's clinical care. It now offers one of the largest supportive care programs in the country.


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