Georgia Cancer Specialists (GCS)—a Top 10 private cancer practice in the U.S.—collected 3,530 new and nearly bags during the ninth annual Totes 2 Tots suitcase drive for foster children. The event was held Friday, January 21, at 22 GCS offices across the state.
Totes 2 Tots delivers new or nearly new backpacks and kid-sized suitcases to foster children in Georgia—from infants to teenagers—many of whom must shuffle their belongings from home to home in garbage bags during frequent relocations. The annual volunteer event was first launched by GCS in 2003 and has collected and distributed more than 25,500 bags. Originally held on Martin Luther King Day as a way to honor Dr. King’s vision and give back to the community, Totes is now held on the Friday before MLK Day as a kickoff to a weekend of service. The 2011 event was pushed back a week due to the recent icy winter weather conditions.
GCS President and interim CEO Dr. J. Bancroft Lesesne said, “Totes 2 Tots captures the spirit of Georgia Cancer Specialists and our practice-wide commitment to helping others. By hosting the event to launch the Martin Luther King weekend, we believe that we honor Dr. King’s dream as we provide tangible reminders to the foster children in our state that someone cares about them.”
As the event has grown, businesses and organizations in the community continue to step up and donate large amounts of bags. American Signature Furniture, Weight Watchers, and Honeywell all donated more than 100 bags, while local schools and Girl Scout troops also took up their own collections to donate.
GCS partners with the Division of Family and Children’s Services (DFCS) to distribute the bags in the counties in which they’re collected.
Rachelle Carnesale, DFCS Division Director said, “This program, through practical support, sends a message of hope to these children that they are moving forward in the world and becoming young adults. On behalf of the Department of Human Services and Commissioner Clyde Reese, we are so grateful for this profound initiative.”
In 2005, WSB-TV recognized the importance of the drive and agreed to support it as a part of its Family 2 Family Project. This will be the seventh year that GCS and WSB-TV have partnered for Totes 2 Tots. Family 2 Family is the longest running locally produced, comprehensive, station-wide public service effort in Georgia. It includes shows such as People 2 People, a weekly half-hour public affairs program hosted by Jocelyn Dorsey that chronicles events and newsmakers in metro Atlanta.
Georgia Cancer Specialists is a Top 10 private cancer practice in the U.S. and a leader in advanced cancer treatment and research. The practice supports more than 200,000 patient visits each year. GCS offers community-based medical oncology and hematology services and is the first private oncology practice to also provide a full range of support services for patients in Georgia, including nutritional counseling, pain management, wellness counseling, and home health coordination. The GCS research department, whose focus is bringing targeted cancer therapy to communities, is the first in Georgia to offer Phase I clinical trials, the most novel cancer therapies available. GCS has 29 offices, 44 physicians, and more than 500 support staff members located in Metro Atlanta, North and Central Georgia, Southeast Tennessee, and Southwest North Carolina. Georgia Cancer Specialists can be found on the web at www.gacancer.com. GCS is The Cancer Answer®.