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Published on March 17, 2021

Ralph Lauren Corporate Foundation brings meaningful support to Cone Health when our patients need it most

Bwana Lloyd

Fighting cancer amid a pandemic

Ralph Lauren Corporate Foundation brings meaningful support to Cone Health when our patients need it most

We’ll forever remember 2020 as the year of COVID-19, but in the throes of the pandemic, diseases like cancer continued to take a physical, financial and emotional toll on patients as well.

As patients and care providers pushed on during the most challenging of circumstances, the Ralph Lauren Corporate Foundation approached Cone Health with their own determination to help. The organization made multiple gifts — ultimately providing $225,000 in grants to help cancer patients and their families, a huge comfort to our neighbors. In addition, they provided branded apparel to thank our staff for their efforts in the pandemic.

Take, for instance, the company’s $25,000 grant to the Alight Program, which provides financial assistance, education and other care to breast cancer patients, many of whom are too weak to work. Ralph Lauren’s support helped Cone Health carry out our mission to be with our community members when they need us. Twenty-five uninsured or underinsured patients — wives and mothers, coworkers and friends whose lives were forever changed by the diagnosis — received aid for life-saving medications, lymphedema supplies, housing and utility costs, and other daily necessities.

Then there’s Ralph Lauren’s Pink Pony Fund, which has been an integral part of Cone Health’s breast cancer outreach in Guilford and Rockingham counties since 2015. The Pink Pony Fund’s $50,000 grants provided 201 women from Guilford County and Rockingham County with mammograms, pathology services or surgeries at or below Medicaid rates.

“Thanks to the Pink Pony grant, patients are able to receive recommended follow-up treatment that isn’t covered by the Breast and Cervical Cancer Control Program and who wouldn’t be able to afford it otherwise,” says Christine Brannock, oncology outreach manager.

“I don’t even know the words to use to describe what the feeling is when you are able to take care of yourself,” says Bwana Lloyd (pictured), who lived in a homeless shelter in Eden from October to January.  

The pandemic was especially hard on patients and families already experiencing long-term medical conditions. Ralph Lauren’s $50,000 gift to the Cone Health Cancer Center promoted fellowship and healing during such an isolating time. The donation created the Box of Love program, which:

  • Provided weekly prepared meals to 120 vulnerable patients during shelter-in-place order.
  • Funded food pantries at each Cone Health cancer center.
  • Supplied 100 caregivers with toolkits containing water, a snack and tips on coping during a crisis while they waited for loved ones to receive treatment during times of restricted visitation due to Covid-19.
  • Purchased 100 vouchers for patients in need of food and household supplies.
  • Supported the Healthy Snack Initiative, which gives healthy treats to patients receiving treatments.

Thanks to a generous $100,000 gift from Ralph Lauren, cancer patients will receive assistance dealing with the financial toxicity of cancer care, which causes the highest level of anxiety among patients. The grant is funding a pilot program to help patients navigate the financial impact of their cancer treatment. New software will project the patients’ out-of-pocket expenses and find ways to lower their costs through insurance optimization and financial assistance.

Plus, in remembering the caregivers, too, Ralph Lauren donated more than 12,000 Polo/Ralph Lauren-logoed items, which Cone Health used as gifts during its annual celebration of employees.

“This gift gave our Heroes Week celebrations a special touch as we recognized the great work and commitment of all of our team members this year,” says Mandy Eaton, the system’s executive vice president of people and culture.

 “It feels great to be appreciated and recognized,” Maritza Parchment, a clinical social worker, adds. “My heart is filled with gratitude.”

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