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Home Away From Home: Alexandria Bates’ Cancer Care

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When Hurricane Ida made landfall in August 2021, Alexandria Bates and her three teenage children evacuated from Chauvin, Louisiana to Galveston, Texas. The damage was so extensive, the roads to return were unpassable for two weeks.

When Alexandria and her family returned home, they found the roof so badly damaged that all but one room in the house was destroyed.

“The house was condemned,” she recalls. “There was black mold covering everything. We had nothing left.”

The Cancer Center Ensures Care Continues After Hurricane Ida

In the summer of 2019, Alexandria was diagnosed with endometrial cancer. That October she underwent a total hysterectomy and chemotherapy. After one of the removed tumors grew back, she began immunotherapy treatments in the fall of 2020.

Immunotherapy, an emerging way of treating cancer, harnesses the individual’s own immune system to recognize, control and potentially cure cancers. Because Alexandria’s cancer is stage four, she will continue to receive immunotherapy treatments to help prevent further spread.

Every six weeks, Alexandria drives two hours to the Terrebonne General | Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center for treatments which have successfully shrunk the tumor and continue to keep it at bay. “I’ll be treated for the rest of my life,” she said.

When her family lost everything after Hurricane Ida, the Cancer Center provided Alexandria with money for food and gas thanks to generous donations from community members. The One Community One Goal campaign helped support the many patients who needed to resume their cancer care as soon as possible. The Cancer Center’s patient navigators connected Alexandria with resources to ensure continuing care.

Ongoing treatments and nutrition support is vital to health protection, and the help she received bridged the gap during a tough time for Alexandria. While her family lived out of a hotel for two months following the storm, she was also in the process of starting a new job and had not received her first paycheck yet. “It was a rough time, and the Cancer Center’s assistance helped tide us over when we really needed it,” Alexandria says.

 “Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center is the only place I feel safe.”

Alexandria is emotional as she describes what the Mary Bird Perkins team means to her, having been diagnosed with cancer the year after losing both of her parents.

“It’s like going back home after you move out. It’s the place you feel protected and where everything is OK,” she says. “Being able to get my treatments after the hurricane made things feel normal and safe. And after being there, I felt that I could go back out into the world and handle everything else.”

To directly help patients in your area, visit https://marybird.org/one-community-one-goal/ now and gift your contribution.