Team Development Chair, Robin Pearce fills us in on what the American Cancer Society means to her and what they do for our community.
When I stepped on the Relay For Life of Salinas track seventeen years ago I had no idea how the experience would change my life. I was immediately swept up by the passion, the energy and the commitment of the Relay movement to fight cancer. I was captivated by the spirit of community as I spent the next nineteen hours with cancer survivors, event sponsors, teams and participants. When I left that first Relay For Life event, I knew that I was in it for the long haul.
Relay For Life is the signature fundraising event and largest contributor to the American Cancer Society. The money raised in over 5,000 Relay For Life events nationally fights cancer by funding cancer research, education, services and advocacy. The funds help pay for transportation and lodging services for patients undergoing treatment away from home and provide 24/7 telephone support services to anyone in need. Funding allows the American Cancer Society to help patients with insurance nightmares and work with caregivers who find themselves in advocacy roles, going to bat for their loved ones in a healthcare system that can be confusing and daunting. And very importantly, Relay for Life funds ground breaking research and new clinical trials. In fact, to date, the money raised by Relay For Life has funded research for 47 Nobel Prize laureates making strides in finding cures and better treatment.
I am a fan of Relay For Life on so many levels. I love that Relay fights for all cancers and all people because that is how we will make the biggest impact in eliminating cancer as a major health threat. The model of Relay as a grass roots, volunteer driven organization means that each event reflects the community supporting it in their own unique ways. The process of forming teams and working towards a fundraising goal each year provides another level of support that you cannot find anywhere else. As Relay teams form and reach out into the community to raise funds, they are providing support to cancer patients and loved ones affected by this disease. They are providing support to each other in a very personal way by sharing experiences, resources and ideas and they are having fun doing it. Yes, we celebrate months of fundraising at our Relay For Life event by celebrating survivors, remembering those lost to cancer and by having fun.
The American Cancer Society’s mission is to save lives, celebrate lives, and lead the fight for a world without cancer. It’s that simple. It’s also the reason why I Relay.
Relay For Life of Salinas