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Karmanos Cancer Institute Receives Early Holiday Donation from Sorority


Members of Detroit/Northeast Suburbs Alumnae Group Alpha Sigma Tau (from left) Kristin Elam and Katie Van Gorder delivered several packages of donated items to Valerie Fred at the Karmanos Cancer Institute. The items will be used for Patient HOPE Bags for cancer patients undergoing treatment. 

The Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute received an early holiday gift thanks to the generosity of members from the Detroit/Northeast Suburban Alumnae Group Alpha Sigma Tau.

Katie Van Gorder, philanthropy chair for the sorority alumni group, decided it would be nice to celebrate the groups Founder’s Day by asking members to participate in a collection of needed items for the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute. Van Gorder remembered seeing several items that the Karmanos Cancer Institute had listed on their “wish list” in the WJBK FOX 2 Giving Guide and thought – in the true spirit of the holiday – how nice it would be to celebrate their sorority by doing some good for cancer patients.

The group collected several items for Karmanos’ Patient HOPE Bags including tissue packets, hand sanitizer, lip balm and canvas bags. They also collected coloring books, crayons and other items for the Children’s Area at the Susan G. Komen Detroit Race for the Cure, locally presented by Karmanos.

“As an organization, we’re always looking for great ways to give back to the community,” said Van Gorder. “Our Founders Day Luncheon provided a wonderful chance for sorority sisters from all over the metro Detroit area to get together, celebrate our sisterhood and give to those undergoing treatment at Karmanos. We also lost a sister to cancer this past summer, so this project took on a special meaning for all of us.”

Van Gorder and fellow sorority sister Kristin Elam made the welcomed delivery on Nov. 20. There to greet them from Karmanos were Valerie Fred, MSA, BBA, operation support specialist who organizes the Patient HOPE Bags; Katy Kaliszewski, coordinator of Third Party Events; and Patricia Ellis, director of Media Relations, who began the Holiday Connection Giving Guide project with FOX 2 several years ago to help support the needs of nonprofits, not just during the holidays but all year long.

“We do whatever we can to make our patients comfortable when they come for their treatment,” said Fred who also works with the Patient and Family Advisory Council. “Since we see hundreds of patients each day at Karmanos, having these items donated for our Patient HOPE Bags is a tremendous help and a wonderful way to spread a little cheer to patients going through the cancer journey.”

Karmanos’ Patient and Family Advisory Council, made up of cancer patients and family members of patients, was established several years ago to ensure that Karmanos was listening to the needs of its patients and their families to provide the most compassionate, high-quality patient experience. Ideas like the HOPE Bags and helpful hint tip sheets for patients are just two the ideas that were implemented due to the council and Karmanos’ approach to outstanding care delivery.

Ellis added, “We’re grateful that FOX 2 continues to provide the Holiday Connection Giving Guide, which is a great tradition for nonprofits and a wonderful resource for those wishing to help organizations year-round. Having alumni members of Alpha Sigma Tau, other community groups and businesses donate some of our needed items helps us focus on what we do best – serving our cancer patients and their families.”





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