SOURCE: Laura's Journeys

February 18, 2010 11:29 ET

Cancer Patient at St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital Wins $5,000 Greece Vacation Giveaway From "Laura's Journeys"

Program Encourages and Facilitates Therapeutic Recreational Travel for Cancer Patients

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - February 18, 2010) -  Rodney L. Carroll, a Harlem resident who is being treated for colorectal cancer, won a vacation to Greece valued at $5,000 during a raffle on February 11th at St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital. The trip is offered through "Laura's Journeys," a philanthropic program created by Bill Parness in loving memory of his wife Laura Parness, who passed away at the age of 54 after a courageous battle with breast cancer. This marks the fourth vacation giveaway by "Laura's Journeys" since the fall of 2009.

Mr. Carroll, 44, won accommodations for six nights in a luxury short term rental apartment located in the historic section of Athens. The apartment and Athens airport transportation were donated by Natalie Ashley of, who will also provide local travel and dining tips. Mr. Carroll, a social services manager with New York City's Administration for Children's Services, plans to travel to Greece with his wife Shirley Aldebol and their 3-year-old son Emilio Carroll in late May.

"Laura's Journeys" is a program designed to encourage cancer patients and their significant others to travel, whether it is a weekend stay at a nearby Bed & Breakfast, a week-long cruise, or a trip such as this to Greece. 

"This trip will force me to relax and enjoy something special. I haven't stopped going since I found out I had cancer as I refuse to let anything change too drastically because of it. I work around my treatment schedule and essentially drive my wife crazy by shoveling snow and assorted other chores she feels I should no longer do," said Mr. Carroll.

Mr. Carroll and his family will also enjoy an American Express gift card to use for dining as well as sightseeing, a day trip to Delphi with lunch, and a day-long island cruise to Aegina, Hydra, and Poros. "Laura's Journeys" will cover up to $2,000 in costs for airfare and travel insurance for Mr. Carroll and his family.

Natalie Ashley was inspired by cancer patients she met in Greece who were visiting for recreational travel, and decided she would like to offer her vacation apartment in Athens as well as enlist her friends to raise funds for activities while the visitor is in Greece. She read about "Laura's Journeys" online and reached out to Bill Parness.

"This is my own personal way of thanking the cancer patients I have met in my life for what their quiet strength, profound positivity and enduring courage have shown and taught me. I still am amazed at the instant goodwill of my Greek friends who did not hesitate to make this trip to Athens not only a reality, but even grander than my original hopes," said Ms. Ashley. "Speaking for myself and on behalf of the other Greek donors, we feel privileged to be a part of 'Laura's Journeys,' humbled by the goodwill of our fellow human beings, and wish Rodney, Shirley, and Emilio a 'kalo taxidi' -- good trip!"

"Laura and I reaped such rich rewards from traveling during the six years she was being treated for advanced breast cancer, and she always came home feeling refreshed," said Mr. Parness, a resident of Aberdeen, N.J. "I'm thrilled that we were able to put together this wonderful week-long vacation to Greece, and Rodney could not be more deserving. He has shown such optimism as he is being treated for cancer, and he is not letting this interfere with his life, which is the precise spirit of our program. I am so grateful and heartened by the partnership and support of Natalie Ashley, who read about 'Laura's Journeys' all the way from Greece, and rallied her friends to help us put together such an incredible vacation."

Laura Parness was a patient of Gabriel A. Sara, M.D., Medical Director of the Chemotherapy Infusion Suite and Executive Director of the Patient Services Initiative at Continuum Cancer Centers of New York, located at Roosevelt Hospital. Dr. Sara is a strong advocate for therapeutic travel for his patients.

"Over my many years of practice, I especially enjoy hearing stories of my patients' trips, seeing their photos and, more than anything, seeing their smiling faces as they felt revitalized and happy. After their trip they continue to remember the beautiful moments they had and know that they can do it again. Thanks to 'Laura's Journeys,' many patients will have the opportunity to create these memories," said Dr. Sara.

In addition to trip giveaways, "Laura's Journeys" offers tips for traveling while undergoing treatment for cancer, money-saving advice, and important guidance such as finding a doctor who is supportive of travel, setting realistic expectations, taking out travel insurance policies that don't exclude pre-existing conditions, reaching out to airlines and front desks at hotels for special requests, and advising patients to always travel with a doctor's note.

For more travel tips or to donate, visit

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