Cancer Center Innovations: Mary Bird Perkins Extends a Digital Hand to Support Patients

Tayler Morgan


By Tayler Morgan, Digital Strategist
Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center


A cancer diagnosis is a life-changing event. And life doesn’t stop where a cancer journey starts. Aside from attending appointments and completing necessary treatments, everyday tasks become difficult to accomplish when battling cancer.

Imagine receiving chemotherapy in the morning and still needing to run errands, clean the kitchen, and walk the dog when you get home. Even the smallest of chores can be a challenge. Where there is a need, Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center found a way to make the largest impact, by lending a digital hand.

The Cancer Center’s marketing & communications and patient services teams collaborated to design an online platform where patients can create a wish list of tasks and people they know can sign up to assist them. From this, the online Helping Hands registry was born.

The idea for Helping Hands won the 2019 Favre Family Award for Innovation. The annual award, spearheaded in 2016 by a generous donation from philanthropist Art Favre, encourages Mary Bird Perkins team members to cultivate their creativity and submit their ideas for ground-breaking solutions to benefit patients served throughout the Gulf South region. Each grant proposal competes for a $15,000 award to bring the idea to fruition.

Perfect Patient Support During A Pandemic

The Helping Hands portal launched in the summer of 2020. During the pandemic, patients had more of a need than ever before to turn digital for help. On their own or with help from patient navigators at the Cancer Center, patients can create an online registry of essential non-medical tasks to share with friends and family. Supporters and caregivers can then go online and pick up available tasks that the patient needs help with.

Patient needs vary from assistance getting to and from appointments to daily tasks around the house such as lawn care or running errands outside of the home. Currently more than half of the patients who have signed up also have supporters associated, or someone who has picked up an available task to complete.

The benefits of the Helping Hands registry can be endless. But most importantly, the assistance of loved ones provides a relief and comfort to those who just need extra support and a hand up.

The Cancer Center team is continuing to modify the platform and adding features as more patients engage and provide feedback. The long-term vision and hope of the program is to provide a broader level of support for anyone who may be a situation where they could use a helping hand, not just cancer patients.

Cancer patients treated at any facility can sign up and utilize the registry for free at

All Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center team members are eligible and encouraged to submit their innovative ideas for the Favre Family Award for Innovation by visiting the intranet.