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World Cancer Day Donation Helps St. Jude Celebrate 60th Anniversary and Close the Care Gap

PRA Group Employee Shares Her Connection with the Pediatric Cancer Center

NORFOLK, VA – In the spring of 2019, PRA Group Bankruptcy Counsel Tiffanie Fittes and her family were preparing for their eldest daughter Mackenzie’s high school graduation when they noticed a bulge near her right shoulder blade. After many tests, Mackenzie was diagnosed with a very large, very rare tumor.

The family was devastated. The following week, they were ushered in for appointments at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Three days of examinations and additional testing confirmed the diagnosis: the tumor was aggressive and already much too large to remove.

Mackenzie smiling at the beach.
Mackenzie Fittes, daughter of PRA Group Bankruptcy Counsel Tiffanie Fittes, received treatment at St. Jude.

“As frightened as we all were over those three days,” Tiffanie recalls, “the staff at St. Jude began putting us more at ease almost immediately. From the doctors and nurses to the social workers and clergy, there was a contagious sense of hope and determination. We knew we were in the right place.”

Mackenzie immediately began a chemotherapy regimen. Her medical team made every available accommodation to enable her to attend college as planned over the course of the two years she spent on chemotherapy.

In the fall of 2021, the family received news that what had appeared to be one tumor was, in fact, two, but that both were now dormant. Mackenzie is now off chemotherapy and attending college with no further complications. To ensure there are no changes, Mackenzie visits the team at St. Jude for routine examinations.

“We are so thankful to have this extraordinary place with its phenomenal team of professionals right here in Memphis and working with families all over the world. St. Jude truly is the best place you never want a reason to be,” reflects Tiffanie.

Tiffanie’s daughter is not alone in her survival journey. Treatments invented at St. Jude have helped push the overall childhood cancer survival rate from 20 percent to more than 80 percent since it opened in 1962.

This World Cancer Day will mark St. Jude’s 60th anniversary. In honor of this milestone and national day of recognition, PRA Group is partnering with St. Jude to contribute $25,000 in support of cancer research and patient care.

Because a majority of St. Jude funding comes from donors, St. Jude has the freedom to focus on what matters most—saving children regardless of their financial situation. St. Jude treats children from around the world, and families never receive a bill for treatment, travel, housing or food.

Its mission aligns with the Union for International Cancer Control’s World Cancer Day call to “close the care gap.” The three-year initiative highlights the challenges of inequity and bias in cancer care, and calls participants into action to remove all social, economic and physical barriers that may affect patient care or access to care.

“Nonprofit organizations impacting cancer care and research help provide services to groups that may not otherwise be able to afford it or access the appropriate medical services,” said Sidra Ali, Director of Diversity and Inclusion at PRA Group. “In honor of closing the gap this World Cancer Day, PRA Group is proud to partner with St. Jude to rectify imbalances in our healthcare system and support cancer patients and their families everywhere, no matter their circumstances.”

The contribution is part of PRA Group’s recent anniversary campaign inviting employees to choose additional corporate giving initiatives.

Read more about reducing racial disparities in cancer outcomes in Harvard Business Review: https://hbr.org/2022/01/reducing-racial-disparities-in-cancer-outcomes