McKesson Foundation, Department of Veterans Affairs, Kick off Partnership to Provide Comfort Care Packages to Veterans with Cancer

November 04, 2015

Partnership will get comfort items into hands of Veterans undergoing treatment

SAN FRANCISCO — November 4, 2015 — Today, the McKesson Foundation and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced their new partnership to provide care packages filled with comfort items to Veterans with cancer undergoing treatment at VA Medical Centers. The care packages, called “Comfort Kits,” are distributed through Giving Comfort, a program of the McKesson Foundation.

“The McKesson Foundation is proud to partner with the Department of Veterans Affairs to support our Veterans who are battling cancer,” said Christine Lopez, president of the McKesson Foundation. “McKesson Corporation has a strong commitment to our Veteran and active duty military communities, and the Foundation shares that commitment to support those who have given so much through their service to our country. Our hope is that the Comfort Kits will help make treatment a bit more bearable for these patients.”

Comfort Kits are filled with the most requested comfort items – ranging from fuzzy socks to warm blankets and a journal – to ease discomfort during chemotherapy treatment. When Giving Comfort asked hundreds of patients, caregivers, social workers and oncology professionals what cancer patients need most while they’re going through treatment, they learned that small comfort items – like those included in the Comfort Kits – can really help patients endure tough times. Also included in the Comfort Kits are hand-written personal messages of encouragement from McKesson Corporation employees to help keep patients’ spirits high.

A loved one of a Veteran with cancer receiving chemotherapy treatment from the VA Medical Center in Portland, Oregon, shared their experience after receiving the Comfort Kit.

“We have been fighting his cancer since 2011. Many long drives to Portland, and then long sessions of sitting for chemo has taken its toll and on us both,” she said. “But when we opened the backpack and saw the many thoughtful items placed inside of its zipped compartments, we were touched. Sometimes we feel very alone in this ever stressing situation with cancer. But the card to wish us well, made and signed by Carol in Dubuque, IA, really was a nice touch. Here we are in Oregon, and someone far away is caring for people like us.”

The VA is the nation’s largest integrated health care system providing services to Veterans at 1,588 locations. Each year, more than 70,000 Veterans are diagnosed with or treated for cancer within the VA.

As part of the newly launched partnership, Comfort Kits are delivered free-of-charge to Veterans undergoing treatment in nine VA Medical Centers nationwide, with additional locations set to participate. Current locations include San Francisco, CA; Portland, OR; San Diego, CA; Los Angeles, CA; Beckley, WV; Puget Sound, WA; Charleston, SC; Wilmington, DE; and Pittsburgh, PA.

Dr. Michael J. Kelley, VA National Program Director for Oncology expressed support of the new partnership. “A diagnosis of cancer is often a life changing event. The Kits provide some comfort to Veterans during that difficult time,” he said.

Through the support of the McKesson Foundation, Comfort Kits have been provided to patients in need since 2012. The Kits are delivered into the hands of patients through Giving Comfort’s partnerships with hospitals, cancer treatment centers and cancer support organizations in more than 195 locations. In addition to VA Medical Centers, these include the American Cancer Society, the Columbia Presbyterian Hospital and Cancer Support Community.

About Giving Comfort

This year, more than 1.6 million people in the U.S. will be diagnosed with cancer. Hundreds of thousands struggle to pay for basic needs, leaving them unable to afford the comfort items that make treatment more bearable. A nonprofit program of the McKesson Foundation, Giving Comfort fights cancer with comfort. It provides patients with Comfort Kits – cancer care packages filled with essential items that help ease the discomfort caused by treatment. Patients in need receive Comfort Kits free-of-charge through a network of Cancer Care Community Partners, which include hospitals, cancer treatment centers and hospitality houses. Since the program was founded in 2012, more than 41,000 patients have received cancer packages through Giving Comfort.

About McKesson Foundation

The McKesson Foundation is a healthcare foundation focused on providing funding to organizations that provide non-medical direct services to low-income cancer patients in the U.S. Each year the McKesson Foundation contributes more than $5.5 million to nonprofit organizations working to improve the health of our communities. Over the past three years, the Foundation has matched more than $3.3 million in employee donations to charitable organizations. For more information about the McKesson Foundation, please contact us at

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