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Congratulations to Iowa State University Coach Steve Prohm, winner of INFINITI's Timeout for the Win challenge

On March 17, INFINITI kicks off the Bracket Pool Challenge on CBSSports.com to raise up to another $350,000 - for a total of $1M for Coaches vs. Cancer

INFINITI announced this week that the winner of its Timeout for the Win, #TIMEOUTFTW, campaign is Steve Prohm, men's basketball head coach of Iowa State University. The INFINITI campaign came to life through collaborations with the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC), NCAA®, ESPN, and the American Cancer Society (ACS). 

"I want to thank INFINITI for their support of cancer research with the Timeout for the Win contest and I greatly appreciate Cyclone Nation for supporting me," said Prohm. "I'm thrilled to be the winner, but most importantly thrilled to have the Iowa State University name attached to help fight cancer." Watch his video message here.

Between Jan. 14 and March 11, 48 NCAA® Division I men's basketball coaches competed for fan votes to win the bragging rights and the highest percentage of the $1 million INFINITI will donate to Coaches vs. Cancer overall. 

As part of INFINITI's overall $1 million contribution to our mission, INFINITI is donating $600,000 to Coaches vs. Cancer in names of the three top vote-getters:

  1. Steve Prohm - $360,000
  2. Bob Huggins, head coach of the West Virginia University Mountaineers - $150,000
  3. Buckeye's head coach Chris Holtmann of Ohio State University - $90,000

"On behalf of the American Cancer Society, we are incredibly grateful for the support of INFINITI and celebrate Coach Prohm in his victory," said Sharon Byers, our chief development, marketing, and communications officer at ACS. "This generous donation will allow us to serve more cancer patients and their families with critical services and resources to improve and save lives from cancer."

During the NCAA® tournament, between March 17 and March 22, INFINITI will be donating for every bracket entered into the INFINITI Bracket Pool Challenge on CBSSports.com. In partnership with CBS Sports and Turner Sports, INFINITI will raise up to $350,000 for the American Cancer Society. The remaining $50,000 will be raised through various activations during the Final Four weekend.

Fans have a chance to win a trip for two to the 2019 Final Four, April 6-8, in Minneapolis

Fans (excluding ACS staff) can enter the "#TIMEOUTFTW One in a Million" contest by posting a video of their best "one in a million" basketball trick shot including #TIMEOUTFTW, #INFINITIContest and tagging @INFINITIUSA by 11:59 p.m. PST on Sunday, March 17. The winner will receive a trip for two to the 2019 Final Four April 6-8 in Minneapolis. Read the full details and rules.

  • DetermiNation's new partnership with Motiv will broaden our endurance offerings

    As our new DetermiNation platform launches its suite of 2019 events, ACS has entered into a partnership with Motiv, a leader in the mass participatory event business.  It offers our supporters 10 new events to participate in.

    Between 2015 and 2017, more than 61,000 participants through our DetermiNation program. Look here for our full list of events our supporters can participate in while raising money for our mission. 

    Cancer.org/determination will have a refreshed look starting March 12, and will include the Motiv events. The site is being re-launched with Motiv, runDisney, and international events being keystone properties. The tagline will be: "When you compete with ACS, we become relentless together. The strength is inside you, support is all around you." Our goal this year is to raise $9 million.

    Motiv is an event management company based in Denver, with a worldwide portfolio of sports and entertainment events as well as multiple endurance events. As a National Featured Charity, ACS will be featured on the website, and when participants register they will be given the opportunity to fundraise for ACS. This is a key part of our agreement, as the only way to access participation in these events after they sell out is via charity running.

    Along with Motiv's other global partners include UPS, adidas, Reebok, Asics, Toyota, and Geico, the Society will be featured in the following events: 

    • Destination Race - Santa Barbara Wine Country Half Marathon;  May 10 – May 11
    • Destination Race - Napa to Sonoma Wine Country Half Marathon; July 20 – July 21
    • Surf City 10 Mile; Sept. 21 –  22                                                  
    • Destination Race – Healdsburg Wine Country Half Marathon;    Oct. 25 – Oct. 26
    • Golden Gate Half Marathon & 5K; Nov. 2 – Nov. 3
    • Surf City Marathon & Half Marathon; Jan. 31 – Feb. 2, 2020

    While ACS does not have exclusivity as the National Featured Charity, we are entitled to certain benefits that other charities do not receive, such as top placement on each race's charity page, one-time donations at point-of-sale, and priority space for event onsite activation. 

    Additional ACS Motiv events include:

    • Portland Shamrock Run; March 15 – March 17
    • Love Run Philadelphia Half Marathon – March 31
    • Rutgers UNITE Half Marathon; April 14
    • JetBlue Long Beach Marathon; Oct. 11 – Oct. 13

    For each race, there are benefits to running on behalf of ACS on the DetermiNation platform that include the following:

    • Access to marathon, half-marathon and triathlon training
    • Invitations to community social events
    • Race weekend VIP amenities
    • Exclusive team shirt
    • Free online tools designed to make fundraising fun and easy
    • Opportunity to dedicate efforts in honor or memory of someone
    • Mentor support from past participants 


  • St. Baldrick’s Foundation and ACS announce a new partnership to conquer kids’ cancers

    The groundbreaking partnership aims to raise $11 million to fund the most innovative and cutting-edge research

    Today, the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, the largest charitable funder of childhood cancer research grants, and the American Cancer Society announce a new partnership to raise $11 million to fund the most innovative biological and clinical laboratory studies that have the greatest potential to quickly deliver new and improved treatments for kids with cancer.

    St. Baldrick’s and the ACS both recognize that while science has made tremendous strides in cancer research and treatments, there is still more to be done, particularly in the fight against childhood cancers. Childhood cancer remains the second leading cause of death in children, and the leading disease-related cause of death for children ages 1 - 19.

    Through this joint initiative, ACS and St. Baldrick’s, an organization that has been a part of nearly every childhood cancer research breakthrough made in the last 20 years, will support research that will expand testing within clinical trials, maximize the access to information, and help identify novel approaches to treatment.

    More than half of childhood cancer patients in the U.S. are treated on a clinical trial – and even those who are not, benefit from past clinical trials. Each of these trials is created to learn the answers to specific questions, with the goal of improving outcomes for kids with cancer and decreasing late effects. Very rarely is there enough funding to do anything outside of the trial’s primary purpose, even though additional information gathered could help deliver new treatments for kids with cancer and impact future generations.

    “Together, St. Baldrick’s and ACS will be able to fund these other correlative studies, arming researchers with more information to save more lives,” said Kathleen Ruddy, chief executive officer, St. Baldrick’s Foundation.

    “The Cancer Moonshot emphasized collaboration is the key to accelerating cancer progress and making more therapies available to more patients,” said Sharon Byers, our chief development, marketing, and communications officer.

    To learn more about this collaboration and how to get involved, please visit stbaldricks.org/TimeOut or cancer.org/stbaldricks.

  • Announcing the winner of our Super Bowl Sweepstakes

    Attending Super Bowl LIII in Atlanta with her husband this Sunday will be Kristin Close, 55, of Norwich, VT. An entry on her bucket list, which she'll now be able to cross off, was to see a Patriots game in person. This will be her first live NFL experience, and the Super Bowl, no less.

    Her husband is a cancer survivor.

    ""The morning after the play-off finals I was looking to see how much seats cost at the Super Bowl and thought NO WAY - we would never pay that to go to a football game!  But, when I saw Fanthropic's Crucial Catch Campaign, I thought now that is where the money should go, the American Cancer Society," Kristin said.

    Her husband was diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2012. He had two brain surgeries to remove it and 30 days of radiation. "He goes back annually for an MRI and we are happy to report everything looks stable!  And he is just one of so many people I know personally who are either fighting cancer or have been lost to it," she said.

    Kristin is super excited about this amazing opportunity. She says she and her husband have not left Vermont in 20 years! She entered the sweepstakes on Jan. 22 via The Defender Tool that helps people assess their cancer risk.

    "Never in a million years did we ever think we would win this trip!!  It's just crazy," she said. "The people who called to tell us and who are setting up the trip have been amazing - so friendly and helpful and generous!  A huge thanks to NFL's Crucial Catch campaign and the American Cancer Society! And GO PATS!!!"

    We had nearly 10,000 sweepstakes entries.

    We wish Kristin and her husband lots of fun this weekend - and continued good health.

  • Replays and recap of Summit presentations by Gary Reedy, Len Lichtenfeld, and Rich Wender

    If work kept you from watching Tuesday afternoon's livestream from our Nationwide Staff and Volunteer Summit in Dallas, the replay of the presentations by CEO Gary ReedyLen Lichtenfeld, MD, our acting chief medical officer, and Rich Wender, MD, our chief cancer control officer, are now available. (Please note that the replay begins 7 minutes in.) You'll find a recap of their remarks below.

    Also available is the replay featuring the panel discussion on "Reimaging the Volunteer Staff Partnership" with volunteers Kyle PolkeHeddie Sumpter, and Melissa Park, and Shanna Lee, senior volunteer engagement manager at ACS. Also in this segment is the presentation of the 2019 Volunteer Leadership Award. This year's recipients are Diana Diaz, RN, MS, of Tennessee and Heddie Sumpter of Florida. Read more about them here.

    Last, but not least, here is the replay of the final remarks of the evening, outgoing Board Chair Kevin Cullen's summary of the past year, and the introduction of our 2019 Board Chair Dan Heist, CPA. (This replay begins 11:45 minutes in.)

    A recap of ACS leaders' presentations follows:

    Gary announced the great news that we exceeded our 2018 revenue goal, and he gave a big shout out to the Northeast Region volunteers and staff and its EVP Kris Kim "for leading the way." He also gave a personal shout out to Chris Hansen, who is retiring as president of ACS CAN on Feb. 1. "He has been a trusted friend, advisor, and mentor to me, and I have learned so much from being in Chris's presence," Gary said.

    Among other 2018 achievements, Gary cited:

    • Launching the Cancer Control Blueprint and publishing five chapters of it
    • Increasing colorectal cancer screening rates and introducing new colon cancer guidelines that lower the screening age to 45
    • Launching our Mission: HPV Cancer Free campaign
    • Increasing the number of patient rides to treatment by 38%, to 475,000
    • Making great progress toward the 2019 launch of Navigation Tools
    • The onboarding of 7,300 new volunteers 
    • Launching BrightEdge Ventures, our philanthropic impact fund that aims to get treatments to patients more quickly
    • Delivering a balanced budget to the Board for 2019

    Gary said in in 2019 we will create a new strategic plan for 2020-2025. "I want your American Cancer Society to become the Amazon of the non-profit cancer world. . . To be innovators, disruptors, changing the whole landscape of the cancer space. That's the goal and now we have to figure out strategically how we are going to get there," he said.

    Gary also announced the new ACS Cultural Beliefs, which will be rolled out to staff and volunteers later this year. They define how we will work together:

    • Win Together - I work for team ACS and refuse to be divided over differences.
    • Be Aligned - I align with organizational decisions and lead others to do the same.
    • Reach Out  - I consistently collaborate to maximize opportunities, and always act in the best interest of the enterprise.
    • Raise the Bar - I press for excellence, commit to make progress, and demonstrate urgency in all that I do.
    • Create Moments - I strive to create memorable and valued experiences every day.
    • Do It - I take ownership for my goals, deadlines, and for delivering results.

    Gary said he is "really excited about where we are now . . . From this solid foundation, we can accelerate our efforts to make this disease less frightening."

    Next up was Len Lichtenfeld, MD, our acting chief medical officer, who gave an update on the state of cancer and an overview of our Research Department. Delivering good and bad news, he cited the 27% decline in cancer deaths over 25 years, and the worldwide obesity problem expected to cause cancer rates to rise. He said our Intramural Research Department will be applying strategies we learned in tobacco control to combat obesity and inactivity, and improving what we know about physical activity, sedentary behavior, and healthy eating by collecting objective device-based data from 20,000 CPS-3 participants.

    Perhaps the most provocative thing Dr. Len discussed was blood tests that one day may be able to finds cancers that have evaded detection. Finding markers for ovarian, liver, and pancreatic cancers through blood samples have shown very promising early results. "We are not there yet, but it is close to becoming a reality," he said.

    New treatments for metastatic melanoma are keeping patients alive for four, five and six years, and it's too early to tell how long they will live. Have we found a cure? Dr. Len said he doesn't know, "but what I do know is that we have treatments and we have hope, while just a few years ago we had nothing."

    Rich Wender also delivered upbeat news. Smoking is at an all-time low, with smoking rates at 15.5% for adults, 7.9% for adolescents, and 2.1% for middle schoolers. Thanks to a two-year $1.3 million grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, we will be increasing access to cessation programs for public housing residents. Smoking was banned in and near public housing in the U.S. last summer.

    Thanks to another grant, this one for $3.5 million from Pfizer and secured by the North Region, we will be working to decrease breast cancer inequities by ensuring high-risk women in targeted areas get necessary care, from screening through treatment.

    Rich gave updates on our two current campaigns, Mission: HPV Cancer Free and our colorectal cancer screening campaign 80% in Every Community (previously called 80% by 2018). Ninety-one Federally Qualified Health Centers that received a grant from ACS have seen their HPV screening rates go up an average of 15.8%. Also, 175 clinical leaders and survivors have been trained and are engaged to help lead the HPV campaign. "These volunteers will lead our way to success," he said. Rich also had high praise for the ACS marketing team, noting the huge amount of publicity Mission: HPV Cancer Free has garnered so far. 

    Rich announced that this year's winner of the National Mission: HPV Cancer Free Campaign Award is the South Region. Congratulations! You may remember that the South Region secured an anonymous $4.6 million three-year donation to increase HPV vaccination rates in North Texas. (And, the federal government is giving us $11 million for this campaign!)

    80% in Every Community, like 80% by 2018, will strive to get 80% of age-appropriate Americans screened for colorectal cancer. From 2012 to 2016, screening rate in people 50 to 75 increased by 2%, representing 5.1 million more people screened. The screening rate in the Medicare population, ages 65 - 75, is 78.4%, while the screening rate among those 50 to 55 is just 49%.

    Rich predicted that the next major ACS national campaign will be to reduce lung cancer mortality. 

    A theme we heard repeatedly was the American Cancer Society's commitment to ending health disparities. While ethnic disparities have generally been decreasing, disparities based on socio-economic and educational status are growing. "Tackling the social determinants of health will require different polices and positions and demand engagement of all sectors. We are now on a learning tour to really figure out what our place might be in that journey," Rich said.

    PHOTOS: Pictured in the top photo, from left, CEO Gary Reedy, 2018 ACS Inc. Board Chair Kevin Cullen, MD, and 2019 ACS Inc. Board Chair Dan Heist. In the smaller image, from left, are Kevin Polke, Heddie Sumpter, Shanna Lee, and Melissa Park.


  • We did it - thanks to you!

    We are thrilled to announce that, thanks to you, we exceeded our 2018 fundraising goal! 

    "This is a tremendous accomplishment, and volunteers and staff across the country – from local communities to the global headquarters – made this happen. Congratulations! And thank you for all that you have done and continue to do every day," said Mike Neal, senior executive VP, Field Operations, and Sharon Byers, chief development, marketing, and communications officer.

    To celebrate, they made this fun video for your enjoyment.

    Our volunteers and staff for Relay For Life and community events beat their revenue goals by nearly $2 million.

    "This is your success, and we hope you feel as proud as we do of this accomplishment. We are so grateful for you and your continued commitment and determination. With this kind of passion and dedication, nothing can stop of us continued growth in reach, relevance, and revenue as we relentlessly pursue a world without cancer," said Mike and Sharon.




  • The Relay For Life +One Challenge is on!

    ​It's January - time for us to ramp up our attack against cancer by recruiting new participants to join our Relay For Life events across the country. 

    Here’s how this challenge works: 

    • The 10 events nationwide with the largest percentage of growth in the number of participants between Sunday, January 20, 2019 and Sunday, February 3, 2019 will win a Relay For Life branded inflatable movie screen.
    • Any event that grows by at least 25% during the challenge will be entered into a drawing for a chance to win one of 10 additional Relay For Life branded movie screens. 
    • The number one event in each of the two categories above will also win Relay For Life buttons for all event participants!

    Incentive Eligibility: 

    Events must have a minimum of 10 participants at the start of the campaign on Sunday, January 20, and reach 100 participants registered online by Sunday, February 3, at 11:59 p.m. CST to qualify. 

    Please note, only online registrations can be counted for this challenge, including those registering through the ACS Fundraising app. Scannable forms will not be included in determining winners.

    Here’s how you can help: 

    Since word-of-mouth is our most powerful tool, discuss the challenge with your local event leadership teams, team captains, friends, and family, encouraging them to register and invite others to join a team. 

    Also, share the local social media posts on your regional and local event channels, as well as our national Relay For Life Facebook page. Thank you!


  • Congratulations to Sharon Byers!

    At a ceremony in Orlanda, Fla., on Jan. 19, Sharon Byers, our chief development, marketing, and communications officer, was awarded OnConferences's first "Marketing Icon of the Year" award.

    She was competing against, Lisa Bowman, chief marketing officer, United Way; Kirsten Jepson, director, product marketing, Tulus International; Tom Edwards, chief digital & innovation officer, Epsilon; and Anupam Bhatnagar, VP, head of marketing, Tech Mahindra (Americas). Judges were industry peers.

    You can watch the ceremony here.

    OnConferences is a small internet company founded in Florida in 2015. It offers weekly online presentations to leaders in the fields of marketing, human resources, and legal (corporate counsel). These presentations feature some of the most respected executives in the world discussing a wide array of topics. Recent subjects have included #MeToo, analytics for executives, marketing agility, and developing the next generation of leaders.

    Sharon's nomination describes her as having demonstrated "many characteristics of an Icon. She has delivered world class business results, focused on paying it forward through mentoring, been recognized by industry experts as a leader, created teams that perform at the highest level, and continues to develop the next generation of talent."

    After a 30-year tenure in marketing at The Coca-Cola Company, Sharon joined the ACS as chief development officer in 2015.

    The nomination says: 

    "In a relatively short time, Byers has injected innovation, strategic leadership, and powerful marketing tactics to revitalize the iconic brand and drive new and existing business streams.

    Sharon's team brings the ACS brand to life and shows its relevance in our fast-moving society. Early on, she helped crystallize a more concise and powerful mission statement -- to "Save lives, celebrate lives, and lead the fight for a world without cancer," which is the rallying cry for staff and a touchstone for future partnerships and innovations. Building from the mission statement, last year she led a new brand strategy to explain how the American Cancer Society is 'Attacking from Every Angle' through a variety of media. The campaign generated a 30% increase in cancer.org revenue during the critical fourth quarter season and an uptick in three key metrics: awareness, charity of choice, and intent to donate.

    Byers also oversees a growing suite of income properties totaling over $850 million, including Relay For Life and Making Strides Against Breast Cancer; sports, entertainment and corporate partnerships; and major gifts. . .  In 2017, Giving Tuesday generated over $1 million through targeted marketing with significant partners like Mastercard. She also enhanced the Society's new fundraising efforts such as Real Men Wear Pink, which has raised over $8.5 million. And recently, ACS and Avon announced a multi-year national sponsorship for Making Strides walks.

    Finally, she has enhanced a diverse revenue portfolio including sports and entertainment. This year marks 10 years working with the NFL and its 'A Crucial Catch' initiative, which has raised over $18 million and helped 500,000 women in NFL markets receive breast cancer screening and resources. She also secured a National Hockey League partnership with ACS as the US beneficiary of the Hockey Fights Cancer initiative. In addition, the Coaches vs. Cancer program celebrated its 25th year anniversary in 2017, reaching the $110 million fundraising mark in partnership with the National Association of Basketball Coaches. Byers is also pursuing entertainment as a growth initiative, working to cultivate relationships with prominent influencers and corporate alliances within the entertainment industry."



  • It's Suits And Sneakers® Week!

    ​Coaches vs. Cancer Suits And Sneakers® Week runs from January 21-27, uniting coaches across the country to raise funds and awareness for our fight against cancer. While coaching games during the week, coaches wear sneakers with their game attire as a visible reminder about the importance of nutrition and physical activity in reducing one’s cancer risk. 

    Read a story about Suits and Sneakers that appeared in "The Daily Tar Heel", the student newspaper at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. 

    The Coaches vs. Cancer program welcomes returning partner Shoe Carnival, who has teamed up with Princess Lacey’s Legacy to support the fight against cancer with the promotion of an exclusive pair of gold laces. This campaign, in memory of 8-year-old basketball fan Lacey Holsworth, raises awareness about the Coaches vs. Cancer program and Princess Lacey’s Legacy. 

    Princess Lacey’s Laces will be available online and in Shoe Carnival stores while supplies last. The funds from the sale of laces will benefit both the Coaches vs. Cancer program (85% of proceeds) and Princess Lacey’s Legacy (15% of proceeds), specifically to fight pediatric cancer.

    For a second year, Vineyard Vines has created an exclusive Coaches vs. Cancer tie, available online and in Vineyard Vines stores while supplies last. Thirty percent of the proceeds from the sale of each tie, pictured above, will benefit the Coaches vs. Cancer program.

    In other Coaches vs. Cancer news, our Coaches vs. Cancer High School 3-Point Challenge taking place this month has more than 100 schools participating and has raised nearly $60,000 so far. The Coaches vs. Cancer College 3-Point Challenge runs from Feburary 1 to March 3. Learn more here.


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