What: This year, the nonprofit Northeast Regional Cancer Institute celebrates 30 years of “easing the burden of cancer in Northeastern Pennsylvania,” said Amanda E. Marchegiani, the organization’s community relations coordinator. With offices at 312 Adams Ave. in Scranton and at Kirby Health Center in Wilkes-Barre, NRCI educates the community by providing it with valuable information about cancer, prevention and screening, along with other data.

“Focusing on the areas of surveillance, community and patient services and hospital and practice support service, the Cancer Institute invests 100% of its resources in this region,” Marchegiani said.

Why: Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, NRCI continued expanding its Navigation Program in 2020 with navigators working remotely. The community-based cancer support program provides low-income people with access to breast, cervical, colon and lung cancer screenings and establishes “medical homes” for targeted populations, Marchegiani explained. It helps them find financial resources for their treatment; works with other organizations to address social and economic issues that might interfere with treatment, such as transportation and child care; and coordinates follow-up appointments, among other services.

Still, NRCI didn’t escape the pandemic unscathed. The 2020 CASUAL (Colon cancer Awareness Saves Unlimited Adult Lives) Day happened at the start of the pandemic, so fewer organizations participated than usual. Traditionally in-person events went virtual, including the Duryea at Dusk 5K/1-mile walk and the Cancer Survivors Day, during which NRCI highlighted cancer survivors on its social media pages and website. And the board of ambassadors took a year off from hosting the Spirit of Hope Celebration.

“Despite it all, we have continued our mission and goals while remaining steadfast to the communities we serve,” Marchegiani said.

How: NRCI hopes the public will support it financially. Call the NRCI at 570-904-8808 or visit cancernepa.org to donate and find more information. Or, mail donations to 312 Adams Ave., Scranton, PA 18503.

Additionally, NRCI’s board of ambassadors will bring back the Spirit of Hope Celebration on Friday, Nov. 12.

In her own words: “We are grateful for the support and generosity of our community. Every donation stays in our region and is invested in the programs and services we provide to better serve the community.” — Amanda E. Marchegiani, community relations coordinator