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Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

CUYAHOGA COUNTY UNIT OF THE AMERICAN CANCER SOCIETY

CUYAHOGA COUNTY UNIT OF THE AMERICAN CANCER SOCIETY

The CUYAHOGA COUNTY UNIT OF THE AMERICAN CANCER SOCIETY has raised money for cancer research, both locally and nationally, educated the public on cancer, and served those suffering from cancer. The Cuyahoga County Unit developed from the Cleveland advisory board of the American Society for the Control of Cancer, Inc. It became a chapter of the newly formed American Cancer Society in the mid-1940s. Its initial purpose was to educate people to recognize early symptoms of cancer. Early leaders included: Joseph S. Silber, president in the 1950s; Sidney Conger, treasurer for the unit's first 10 years; Gwendolyn Dillen Lawrence, who directed the cancer dressing program; and Bernice King Cadot, chair of the education committee. The unit, working in conjunction with the American Cancer Society, has been run by officers elected to 1-year terms and a Board of Trustees. Most money raised by the Cuyahoga unit goes to the parent organization, which, working with local officers, then allocates monies for area research and programs. With Cleveland a medical research center, the Cuyahoga unit has generally received more funds from the American Cancer Society than it has contributed. Allocations have purchased sickroom equipment, drugs, and NURSING care for indigent patients, provided area doctors with free Pap test supplies, and supplied grants for continuing research and rehabilitation at local hospitals and clinics, among other efforts.

By 1948 the Cuyahoga unit had established 8 cancer detection clinics in area hospitals (see HOSPITALS AND HEALTH PLANNING); these provided free examinations for patients referred by doctors and suspected of having cancer. By 1951 the unit was assisted by 1,900 volunteers and 184 civic and social organizations. Volunteers delivered dressings, transported patients to treatment centers, and performed house-to-house solicitation of funds. In the 1950s the unit established several more diagnostic and treatment clinics and 3 cytology laboratories--at UNIV. HOSPITALS, ST. LUKE'S HOSPITAL, and City Hospital. It raised an average of $500,000 annually for the American Cancer Society. In 1953 the unit moved to the ARCADE, and in the 1960s established suburban chapters. The Cuyahoga unit joined forces with United Torch (see UNITED WAY SERVICES) in the early 1970s. In 1995 the Cuyahoga County Unit continued to offer many services for persons with cancer and their families.


See also MEDICINE.