From September 16 – 30, 2015, more than 16,000 McKesson employees in Scottsdale and more than 190 locations across the U.S. and Canada will participate in the 17th Community Days program, an annual company volunteering event.  More than 400 Scottsdale based employees will volunteer for the event. During Community Days, employees will gather forlarge group volunteer projects benefiting the local communities where they live and work.

This year, employees nationwide will help create more than 20,000 decorated hope chests filled with positive affirmations, warm fleece blankets and handwritten personal notes of encouragement for cancer patients, which will be included as part of cancer care packages distributed through Giving Comfort, a program of the McKesson Foundation.  The volunteers in Scottsdale alone are expected to contribute more than 300 hope chests, fleece blankets and notes of encouragement to that total, during its Community Days events on September 24-25, 2015.

In addition to McKesson employees’ efforts to create comfort items for patients, the McKesson Foundation will donate a grant to the American Cancer Society, an organization dedicated to helping people who face cancer through supporting research, patient services, early detection, treatment and education. This gift enhances the partnership between the two organizations and provides further funding for non-medical support for cancer patients in need. In total, McKesson will award more than $360,000 in grants to local partners across the country.

Each year, 1.6 million people in the U.S. are newly diagnosed with cancer. Giving Comfort was established by the McKesson Foundation to provide cancer patients with the “Comfort Kits,” which are filled with the most needed and requested items to provide comfort and relief during chemotherapy treatment.

“We surveyed hundreds of cancer patients and oncology professionals to determine what we could do to help cancer patients here and now,” said Christine Lopez, president of the McKesson Foundation. “What we discovered is that small items of comfort can help cancer patients endure especially tough times. The efforts of McKesson employees nationwide will add a personal touch to our cancer care packages and provide a welcome reminder that they are not alone in their journey through cancer treatment.”

Nearly one quarter of people with cancer will exhaust all of their savings as a result of treatment costs, even with insurance.  Eleven percent of cancer patients cannot afford food and basic necessities due to treatment costs.  Giving Comfort provides relief to these patients through the items included in the Comfort Kits, such as a warm blanket, toiletries, a warm cap, a journal and other frequently requested items.

“As McKesson colleagues gather today in Scottsdale, we are honored to support cancer patients in need, including those supported by the American Cancer Society. We hope that our Comfort Kits will keep patients’ spirits high through difficult times,” said Heather Morel, vice president and general manager of reimbursement and access services.

Through the support of the McKesson Foundation, Comfort Kits are provided to patients in need free-of-charge.  The Kits are delivered into the hands of patients through the McKesson Foundation’s partnerships with organizations in more than 175 locations – such as the American Cancer Society, the Mayo Clinic, Veterans Administration cancer centers and Cancer Support Community in Phoenix.