Cancer Services kicks off campaign

Cancer Services is there for the poor, uninsured and under-insured said John L. Daniel, a board member of the charity.

But it is also there for those who need no monetary help, said Daniel, a survivor of stage four colon cancer who connected with a cancer support group through Cancer Services.

“It is for all of us, somebody fortunate like me who has very good insurance, a very good job,” Daniel said Tuesday as Cancer Services’ kicked off its 2013 fundraiser at LSU’s Lod Cook Alumni Center.

Daniel and the keynote speaker, legendary LSU baseball coach Skip Bertman, spoke to the crowd of 200. Cancer Services of Greater Baton Rouge, founded in 1959, serves cancer patients in a 10-parish area of Louisiana.

The nonprofit provides financial assistance, emotional and nutritional support and medical equipment. It also supplies wigs, scarves and hats to women who lose their hair during chemotherapy treatments.

This year the nonprofit’s fundraising goal is $500,000, an increase from last year’s goal of $305,000, said John Boudreaux, marketing and development director for Cancer Services.

“We are always trying to extend our services to more people,” Boudreaux said.

Tuesday’s program raised $107,000, Boudreaux said, and the Credit Bureau of Baton Rouge announced it would match the first $25,000 raised.

During the event, Brian Hannah, the chief executive officer of Cancer Services, announced that the Bella Bowman Foundation had donated $25,000 in memory of Bella, the foundation’s namesake, who died at 8 years old of a brain tumor. In honor of the gift, Cancer Services is renaming its children’s services division after Bella.

Speaking to the lunchtime crowd, Bertman focused on the power of the individual to help change the world. The United States is a country of givers, he said, and last year Americans gave $300 billion to nonprofits.

“It’s people helping people, the greatest manifestation of the human spirit,” said Bertman.

And Louisiana, he said, is in the top 10 states in the country in charitable donations.

“We don’t always make the top 10,” he said. “This is one we could be proud of.”

While speaking, the cellphone of Bertman, who is LSU’s athletic director emeritus, began to ring. He pulled it from his pocket, then apologized, telling the crowd, “Hold on. I just want to make sure it’s not Les Miles’ agent.”

It wasn’t, but the crowd roared with laughter.

Telling the story of the movie “It’s a Wonderful Life,” in which a man sees how badly his town fared because he was never born, Bertman told the crowd how important an individual can be, especially when that person gives time and money.

“No one is ever a failure when they give,” he said. “No one can ever duplicate what you do.”

To find out more about Cancer Services, visit the website at http://www.CancerServices.org.