by Lisa Lyons
The Southern California Food Industries Circle (SCFIC) for City of Hope recently celebrated the success of its fifth annual Caminos al Exito campaign that to date has raised nearly $1 million for the institution. The campaign, developed by Santa Fe Communications President Salvador Treviño and the leadership of the SCFIC, seeks to empower and educate Southern California’s Latino community about health and wellness resources available to them and to encourage their participation in important programs such as the National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP).
“Although there are 5.5 million donors on the NMDP registry, less than 8 percent of the donors are Latino,” said Jill Kendall, City of Hope’s program director for the NMDP. “This figure is sobering because research shows Latinos are the third largest community to suffer from cancer, yet they are the least likely to participate in the bone marrow registry program.”
Due to strong ties between marrow type and ethnicity, Latino patients have a more difficult time finding a match through the registry. Outreach efforts are improving the odds. As a result of Caminos al Exito recruitment, more than 2,400 Latinos have joined the NMDP registry through City of Hope.
During a year-long campaign in 2005, more than 100 health fair “fiestas” were held at various participating grocery retailers throughout Southern California. Each fair included a mobile health unit offering free blood pressure checks and diabetes screenings, along with NMDP registration. The campaign received further support through “La Gota de la Vida,” a national public education project featuring Latino celebrities such as Luis Fonsi, Jennifer Peña and Victor Manuel in a series of highly visible public service announcements that reached millions nationwide.
Ultimately, Kendall believes the greatest benefit of the program is “an awareness of City of Hope in the Latino community as a trusted resource for their health care needs.”