Our Partnership with the Al Copeland Foundation

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If you have questions about the AI Copeland Foundation, please visit their website to get in touch.

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In November 2007, Al Copeland — a beloved New Orleanian and founder of Popeyes Famous Fried Chicken and Copeland’s Family of Restaurants — was diagnosed with a rare form of skin cancer known as Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC). 

Throughout his fight against cancer, no FDA-approved treatments were available for this disease. The lack of resources and treatment options available left Big Al and his family helpless amidst his diagnosis. This led to chasing treatments all over the world. 

Through the uncertainty and heartbreak they experienced, the Copeland family was exposed to the realities of cancer and the ensuing hardships that it brings. Immediately, they recognized they had an opportunity to fill a deep need within the state of Louisiana. At LSU LCMC Health Cancer Center, we share the goal of addressing this need in our local communities and across the country. 

Though Al lost his battle with Merkel cell carcinoma in March 2008, his life and legacy live on through the mission of the Al Copeland Foundation. 

Al Copeland Foundation and LSU LCMC Health Cancer Center

The Al Copeland Foundation (ACF)has partnered with LSU Health New Orleans to support and expand an innovative, robust cancer program benefiting cancer patients in Louisiana and the Gulf State Region. 

This partnership leverages donations from across our state to pursue:

  • Clinical research and trials
  • Cancer prevention techniques
  • Outreach initiatives

Ultimately, our partnership centers on finding a cure for cancer, emphasizing access to treatment programs for underprivileged individuals.

We made a promise to our dad to find a cure — Louisiana State University stepped up to make a commitment to find the cure. Together, with support from our donors, we accomplished that. With that type of success, we can’t stop there, so we’ve now partnered to create the Virtual Research Nurse program. The Al Copeland Foundation is doing our part to help end cancer in the Gulf States region.

-Al Copeland Jr.

Through generous donations and the tireless work of researchers at the LSU Health New Orleans, the Al Copeland Foundation has partnered to offer numerous lifesaving treatments at the LSU LCMC Health Cancer Center for cancers of the breast, kidney, and bladder as well as leukemia. 

As we continue to pioneer a cure for cancer, more treatments will be available in the future.

The goal behind everything at the Al Copeland Foundation stems from the desire to help cancer patients find lasting health. At LSU LCMC Health Cancer Center, we share this objective. 

Though science is our mechanism, hope is our result.

Outcomes of Our Partnership With Al Copeland Foundation

The Al Copeland Foundation/LSU LCMC Health Cancer Center partnership has enabled groundbreaking cancer care, starting by bringing Merkel cell carcinoma research home to Louisiana. 


What’s Next for ACF and LSU LCMC Health Cancer Center?

Cancer research is an ongoing effort, and we are excited to continue this partnership to fight this devastating disease.  

Today, the LSU LCMC Health Cancer Center oversees clinical sites throughout Louisiana and parts of Mississippi. But we know that we must do more to reach those patients who may not have access to critical cancer care.  

Through the VRN Program, which is operated out of the LSU LCMC Health Cancer Center, we can address the shortage of clinical research workers in urban and rural hospitals and clinics to increase the participation of patients in clinical trials closer to their homes.

This is a revolutionary program that aims to change the traditional approach of highly specialized doctors visiting far-reaching clinics by bringing research nursing support to physicians and clinical practices in urban and rural locations virtually.

 In July 2023, the Al Copeland Foundation committed $2 million in support of LSU LCMC Health Cancer Center over a ten-year term to expand, build, and support the newly formed program.

The initial pilot program was launched at Memorial General Hospital in Gulf Port, Mississippi and West Jefferson Medical Center in Marrero, Louisiana. 

Our partnership with Al Copeland Foundation is a critical pillar of reducing the impact of cancer on the lives of people in Louisiana communities. Together, we can make a difference in cancer research to prevent, treat, and eradicate this disease. 

Contact the Al Copeland Foundation

Call (504) 620-3727 or visit https://alcopelandfoundation.org/contact/to get in touch.



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