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Cancer Specialists of North Florida Hosts Inaugural Gala Benefitting the Patient Assistance Foundation

By February 1, 2024No Comments

On Saturday, January 27, the physicians of Cancer Specialists of North Florida (CSNF) hosted their inaugural gala, benefiting the Patient Assistance Foundation. Over 250 guests spent an evening at the Jacksonville Public Library, celebrating 20 years of The Foundation’s mission to provide short-term financial assistance to patients undergoing treatment for cancer.

“When we realized that The Foundation would be celebrating its 20th Anniversary,” explains CSNF board president Dr. Marc Warmuth, “we knew that we wanted to do something special to raise both funds for The Foundation and awareness to our colleagues.”

The idea was initiated by outgoing CSNF board president, Dr. Yousif Abubakr, who served the company in that role for 12 years.

“We’ve never done anything like this before, and I thought it would be a great opportunity to share the mission of The Foundation with our colleagues in town,” Dr. Abubakr says. “Many of the guests at the gala were physicians who have entrusted us with the care of their patients but had no knowledge of The Foundation. It was nice to be able to show them that we are helping their patients in more ways than just medically.”

The concept of The Foundation was sparked when the husband of a patient who passed away approached CSNF leadership with a donation.

“He gave us a check for $10,000 and instructions to use it to help patients who were struggling financially due to loss of income while fighting cancer,” says Bob Phelan, CSNF CEO and Foundation Treasurer. “At the time, we couldn’t do anything with the money, and decided that needed to change. That’s when we got the idea to start our own 501c3 foundation. The rest is history.”

Its beginnings were humble, but much like its parent practice, it has blossomed in the past few years.

“The Foundation started small, much like CSNF did,” Phelan continues. “But with hard work and dedication, we’ve watched both organizations grow exponentially in the past few years.”

In just five years, The Foundation has given $1.3 million in grants to 661 patients in need, which accounts for 61% and 36% (respectively) of its lifetime statistics. Grants are used to cover day-to-day living expenses, such as rent, mortgage, utilities, and gas and grocery bills, but do not pay for any medical expenses.

“It’s truly the very heart of what we do here at CSNF,” says Beth Page, CSNF COO and Foundation President. “We care for the whole patient during their cancer journey, and this includes helping them support themselves. No one plans to get cancer, and it can be devastating to those who have to stop working in order to get treatment.”

As Jacksonville’s largest and oldest cancer practice, with 13 locations and 41 physicians across two specialties, CSNF’s mission to treat the whole patient and has remained constant since its opening in 1979.

“It’s our goal to deliver the highest quality of compassionate care in clinics that are close to our patients’ homes,” says Dr. Warmuth. “No matter how big we get, or how fast we grow, that mission and the promise we made to our community back in 1979 will never change.”