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Gift of Life receives $20,000 grant from Sempra Energy Foundation in response to coronavirus crisis

BEAUMONT — Gift of Life recently received a $20,000 grant from the Sempra Energy Foundation in response to the coronavirus to support the organization’s mission of saving lives through preventative cancer screenings and health education.

Sempra’s generous funds are helping Gift of Life maintain its healthcare lifeline for thousands of Southeast Texans who depend on the program for essential services.

In 2019, Gift of Life diagnosed breast cancer in 24 women, and during the first two months of this year, an additional three women, all of whom have been navigated to treatment.

“These are challenging financial times for our community and clients, and Sempra’s generous funding has helped us continue providing critical healthcare that many Southeast Texans cannot afford, said Gift of Life Executive Director Norma Sampson. “While some individuals and businesses have been unable to contribute to local causes during the COVID-19 crisis, Sempra Energy Foundation’s support has helped our organization sustain services to vulnerable individuals who confront the greatest medical risks from the virus.

Despite the complexities of operating during a pandemic, Gift of Life has maintained communications with its clients — scheduling and managing medical services for women who need diagnostic tests and assistance with transportation, as well as configuring new public health pathways for the organization’s men’s health and prostate cancer screenings, primary care tests and physician consultations to nearly 600 medically underserved Southeast Texas men.

“For many non-profit organizations, the COVID-19 pandemic is straining resources even as demands increase,” said Dennis V. Arriola, board chair of the Sempra Energy executive vice president and group president of Sempra Energy. “The Sempra Energy Foundation grants are helping organizations provide immediate needs for Southeast Texans who are desperate during these difficult times. We are proud to support Gift of Life as they continue serving medically underserved men and women who are acutely impacted by the COVID-19 crisis.”

Each year, Gift of Life provides at no-charge breast and prostate cancer screenings, primary care tests, diagnostics, and treatment with navigation to care, along with social services for to thousands of Southeast Texans without health insurance or the financial ability to pay high deductibles. The organization also offers cancer prevention and healthy lifestyle education and awareness throughout seven Southeast Texas counties with an emphasis on its anti-tobacco platform, Don’t Vape Your Life Away, for middle and high school students.

Sampson reiterated, “The women and men we help are encountering economic and medical barriers that are insurmountable without Gift of Life’s provision of care and referral to resources. The community depends upon Gift of Life, and with Sempra Energy Foundation’s aid, our program has the capacity to weather these financially difficult times.

Last year, Gift of Life screened more than 2,100 individuals for breast cancer; provided more than 600 diagnostic tests (diagnostic mammograms, ultrasounds and biopsies); screened more than 600 men for prostate cancer and other life-threatening diseases caused by hypertension and diabetes; underwrote the costs of prostate cancer diagnostic tests and treatment costs for previously diagnosed men; and extended ancillary emotional and educational assistance to prostate cancer patients, survivors and caregivers through the organization’s Men Against Cancer Prostate Cancer Support Group (MAC) and its Pink Power Network Breast Cancer Support Group (PPN).

For more information about Gift of Life visit giftoflifebmt.org or call 409-833-3663.