Budget Cuts Force Cancer Support Community North Texas to Shrink its Footprint Across DFW

CSCNT “working on solutions” as in-person cancer support attendance skyrockets

According to leadership of Cancer Support Community North Texas (CSCNT), Texas Health Resources (THR) – a long-term, major funder of the leading Dallas-Fort Worth social and emotional cancer support nonprofit – has unexpectedly announced it will no longer provide key funding for the organization as of Jan. 1, 2025.

CSCNT relies heavily on THR funding – and many other community supporters – to operate its three clubhouses in Dallas, Tarrant and Collin Counties; pay portions of its rent; and to cover staff and program costs. “We acknowledge and are grateful for THR’s generous support in helping us meet the critical cancer support needs of patients in our community, unfortunately the speed and magnitude of the funding cuts have put us in a very difficult position,” says CSCNT Board Chair and Long-Time Supporter Dave Ashworth.

More challenging even is that the organization is seeing in-person cancer support attendance and interest skyrocket – from support groups to exercise and nutritional classes to educational events. CSCNT CEO Mirchelle Louis says: “We know the need is great, but given this new funding gap, right now we’re focused on transforming ourselves to ensure we not only serve our current cancer patients and their families, but the thousands more who need us.”

Louis adds that CSCNT saw more than 6,400 visits from cancer patients and their families across its clubhouses, in-person and virtual activities in 2023 alone. “We have provided critical mental health and social support to anyone impacted by cancer in N. Texas at no cost for more than 20 years – and we are deeply committed to doing so going forward. We may just have to shrink to grow in the short-term.”

To reduce costs – and because the Tarrant and Collin County clubhouse locations are paid for by THR – CSCNT will close both physical locations by the end of 2024, with a large reduction in services mid-summer – Tarrant County starting on July 1 and Collin County on August 1. CSCNT aims to maintain some in-person support group presence in these service areas, and to continue with virtual support service options.

CSCNT will keep one physical clubhouse location open in Dallas County; however, it may no longer be housed within the THR Cancer Center to reduce costs. Louis says CSCNT is “actively searching for a Dallas County location that will donate or provide space at a reduced cost beginning in 2025.”

Additionally, the THR budget cuts also will impact 40 percent – or five – of CSCNT’s staff, which include licensed mental health professionals, beginning this summer with the location closings.

“There are no words to describe the impact on our team,” says Louis. “We’re working hard to keep as many of our talented, skilled mental health professionals as possible. They are the lifeblood of this organization.”

Dr. Haskell Kirkpatrick, oncologist at Texas Oncology at Texas Health Dallas and steadfast CSCNT supporter, adds: “My partners and I have been blessed to be housed in the same building with CSCNT for the last 10 years. I have seen firsthand the amazing work they do for our patients. This news is heartbreaking, mainly for our cancer survivors, and their families. We are all shocked and saddened about this unfortunate development.”

CSCNT has a proven history of successfully evolving in the face of challenges – from growing from a single location in 2007 to three physical clubhouse locations and transforming almost overnight from an in-person delivery model to a virtual model during the COVID pandemic.

“CSCNT evolved itself during COVID to great success and we will do so again,” says Ashworth. “We are committed as ever to fulfilling our cancer support mission, and have an incredible Board of Directors, dedicated donors and grant funders…but let’s be clear, we need public, donor and corporate support more than ever to help cancer patients across N. Texas.”

The organization’s annual fundraising gala, the Red Tie Gala, remains firm and is set for Saturday, Nov. 2 at the Frontiers of Flight Museum. Louis reassures supporters, “this year’s Gala will be more important than ever – the show will go on.”