The Early Days
The League Against Cancer was founded in Florida in 1975. Lourdes Aguila (1932-1999), served as General Coordinator from 1975 until her death in 1999. The League Against Cancer was modeled after a similar organization that began in 1925 in Havana, Cuba and grew to include a world renowned oncology center and operated until the Cuban Revolution in 1959. Lourdes Aguila’s lifelong dedication to this cause made the League Against Cancer the unique organization that it is today, serving as an intake and treatment facility for individuals who have been diagnosed with cancer. Once determined to be eligible for services, patient receive the appropriate services at no cost. Services are provided at the League’s own facility, in private physicians’ offices and at local hospitals.
The League accepts patients – children and adults – without distinction of race, creed or nationality. The League serves patients who lack the financial means to cover the costs of their treatment. Patients must have established legal residence in Florida.
The League provides from case review and social services to surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, laboratory services and radiology, medication, prosthetics, home nursing and nurses aid services, home medical equipment, transportation, and moral support to patients and their families.
League Against Cancer has served (including follow-up) over 70,000 persons from 50 countries, since its foundation in 1975. LIGA began keeping statistics in 1982 and since then as of September 30th 2021, we have provided over 27,400 Papanicolaou Tests (Pap Smears); 27,000 Mammograms; 38,000 Chemotherapy & Radiotherapy treatments; over 170,000 laboratory tests, over 53,000 radiology procedures, including Scans, Mammograms, Ultrasound and MRI and 2,285 prostate screenings. In the same period, close to 15,000 patients have been admitted to local hospitals under the supervision of this organization and these patients have been treated for a wide range of different types of cancer.
A person who seeks medical help is interviewed by a Social Worker to determine financial eligibility. An evaluation committee reviews each case and approves each case eligible under the League’s guidelines. The patient is then examined by an oncologist who makes a preliminary diagnosis and refers the patients to an expert in that specific field. The doctor, in consultation with colleagues, prescribes the necessary treatment including surgery if needed. LIGA, which receives special rates from local laboratories and hospitals, pays the bills. More than 100 doctors provide voluntary services to the League’s patients. In addition, the staff is supported by a corps of over 200 full and part-time volunteers in the operation of the clinic. The strong involvement of volunteers keeps the administrative costs at about 20% of total costs, three times less than of a traditional doctor’s office.
The major source of income are LIGA’s annual fund-raising telethon on WSCV, Channel 51, state and county grants, an annual Luncheon (youth) Fashion Show, a Holiday Gala and through private donations. Many lives have been saved, much suffering has been spared, and many destitute cancer victims have been able to die with a level of dignity usually reserved for those who have medical insurance or personal wealth.
New center dedicated to the memory of Lourdes Aguila: On Friday, June 9, 2000, the League Against Cancer (LIGA) celebrated the Grand Opening of its new center which houses the Lourdes P. Aguila Oncology Center and the Administrative Offices. The oncology center was dedicated to the memory of Lourdes P. Aguila, founder of Liga Contra el Cancer. The new oncology center has numerous state-of-the-art examination and treatment rooms.