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ACS and NFL Crucial Catch partnership came to life ahead of Super Bowl in Las Vegas

During the last week, the American Cancer Society partnered with the NFL through Crucial Catch for several activations leading up to Super Bowl, generating mission impact, revenue, and visibility for ACS. Below is a recap of some of last week’s activities from Las Vegas:

  • Crucial Catch LIVE - Tuesday, Feb. 6, the NFL and ACS ​teamed up to host a new event, Crucial Catch LIVE presented by Sleep Number. This NFL-funded event featured prominent members of the NFL community impacted by cancer, and ACS board member, Dr. Winn, discussing disparities in prostate cancer incidence among Black men. In addition to the live audience, the panel was livestreamed on NFL, ACS, and Sleep Number social channels and garnered over 35,000 views. Panel included:
    • Brian Custer, moderator - 2X Emmy Award-winning Sportscaster & prostate cancer survivor / ACS Sports Ambassador
    • Dr. Robert Winn, panelist - American Cancer Society board member and second Black physician to lead an NCI-designated cancer center
    • Mike Haynes, panelist - Pro Football Hall of Famer and prostate cancer survivor
    • Rashad Jennings, panelist - Former New York Giants running back, health advocate and former ABC Dancing with the stars champion
    • William Gholston, panelist - Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive end, former Walter Payton Man of the Year nominee and American Cancer Society Player Ambassador of the Year
    • Brandon Bolden, panelist - Las Vegas Raiders running back, cancer survivor and American Cancer Society Player Ambassador
​​Catch a replay of the panel discussion on ACS’​ Facebook page.

  • ACS ‘Game Changer’ Celebration - Wednesday, Feb. 7, ACS hosted the inaugural Game Changer Gala Las Vegas at AREA15 for 300 guests, including prominent community leaders, volunteers, and ACS leadership. The event raised funds to support cancer screening initiatives addressing health disparities in Nevada. Twelve individuals were also recognized as 2024 Las Vegas Game Changer honorees for their community involvement and support of ACS’ mission, including the American Cancer Society Player Ambassador of the Year. The highlight of the evening was the surprise Super Bowl ticket presentation, courtesy of the NFL, to local cancer survivor, cancer advocate, and radiation therapist, Shelley Valladares-Burke.
    • ​​​​This year we rec​ognized Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive end, Will Gholston, as our American Cancer Society Player Ambassador of the Year, and Shelly Ibach, Chair, President, and CEO of Sleep Number among other Game Changers.
Learn ​more about t​he gala and this year’s honorees.

  • ​​​​Super Bowl Sweepstakes - With a minimum $10 contribution, fans could enter “to win the Super Bowl trip of a lifetime and help save lives” while ACS received 100% of proceeds. Courtesy of the NFL and their sponsor, VISA, this year’s winner attended the Super Bowl, had a meet and greet with actress, Alyssa Milano, along with other exclusive perks from the NFL.
  • NFL Super Bowl Experience - ACS co-branded with the NFL a “Crucial Catch” interactive game space inside the NFL’s premier fan festival at the Las Vegas Convention Center, bringing awareness to the importance of early detection, prevention, and risk reduction with video messages from player ambassadors, and the Crucial Catch PSA, to more than 300,000 visitors.
  • Press with ACS Sports Ambassadors at Super Bowl Media HQ “Radio Row” - ACS Sports Ambassadors gave interviews in the Super Bowl media center about our NFL partnership, CHANGE grant impact, ACS mission, and their connection to cancer. Ambassadors Will Gholston, Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive end, Andre James, Las Vegas Raiders offensive lineman, Quincy Williams, New York Jets linebacker, and Bradley Pinion, Atlanta Falcons punter, spoke about Crucial Catch, their role as Ambassadors and the mission of ACS with more than 20 media outlets.

Since 2012, funds raised through the NFL’s Crucial Catch initiative has funded the American Cancer Society’s CHANGE grants, supporting Federally Qualified Health Centers and health systems in under-resourced areas that are working to remove barriers and increase access to cancer screening. Our partnership with the NFL supports CHANGE grants in all 32 NFL markets.

  • Congratulations to our Relay For Life Award winners!

    ​Recognizing those who have gone above and beyond.

    The Spirit of Relay Awards seek to honor and recognize all those who have gone above and beyond to help the American Cancer Society lead the fight for a world without cancer through our Relay For Life movement. From engaging survivors or an entire school community to promoting an event or creating an event experience to remember, these individual victories will collectively help improve the lives of patients with cancer and their families. 

    The Pat Flynn Spirit of Relay Awards are intended to honor and recognize an event, individual and team that embodies the same spirit of Relay that the “Mother of Relay,” Pat Flynn, inspired in Relay participants around the world.  Winners and details can be found on ACSResources

    The following Data-Determined Awards are solely based on data collected in American Cancer Society records. Congratulations to the following winners:

    • Gordy Klatt #1 Net Income Event: 

    Relay For Life of Morgan County - Decatur, AL, pictured at right

    • Explosive Growth #1 by % of Growth:

    Relay For Life of Kauai, HI

    • Explosive Growth #1 by $ of Growth:

    Relay For Life of Armstrong County, PA

    • Teams of Excellence - Top 5: (full list will be available on
    1. Nucor Steel Decatur – $505,000 – Decatur, AL (The Cycle the South fundraiser, pictured at top, raised more than $200,000 for the nation’s top Relay team, Nucor Steel Decatur.)
    2. Rosebud Minors - $387,798 – Ford City, PA
    3. Nucor Steel Louisiana – $350,581 – Lutcher, LA
    4. Nucor Steel Hertford County – $188,269 – Winton, NC 
    5. Truckers Parade Against Cancer – $184,482 – Charlotte, VA
    • Hero of Research Award Winners:
    1. Nucor Steel Decatur, AL
    2. Rosebud Minors, PA
    3. Gwinnett County Public Schools, GA 
    4. Nucor Steel Louisiana, LA
    5. Nucor Steel Hertford County, NC

    Thank you to each and every one of our amazing events, teams and volunteers, you are truly making a difference! 

  • ACS and Pfizer launch ‘Change the Odds: Uniting to Improve Cancer Outcomes’

    Three-year initiative to focus on breast and prostate cancer.
    On Feb. 5, the American Cancer Society and Pfizer announced the launch of “Change the Odds: Uniting to Improve Cancer Outcomes,” a three-year initiative to bridge the gap in cancer care disparities. Through $15 million in funding from Pfizer, the initiative aims to improve health outcomes in medically underrepresented communities across the United States by enhancing awareness of and access to cancer screenings, clinical trial opportunities, and patient support and comprehensive navigation. “Change the Odds” will initially focus on breast and prostate cancer in medically underserved communities, with the potential to expand to additional cancer types. ACS plans to engage additional partners to extend the reach of the programmatic activities to more individuals and deepen the tangible impact in select communities.

    Learn more from CEO, Dr. Karen Knudsen and Chris Boshoff, chief oncology officer and executive vice president at Pfizer, as they share their perspectives on the importance of the new initiative in this Executive Q&A article. 

    ACS will leverage its broad network and engage on-the-ground partners to connect individuals and promote awareness of no- and low-cost screening and access to programs and services through culturally sensitive outreach in communities disproportionately impacted by breast and prostate cancer.

    Through ACS’ extensive evidence-based patient navigation programs, patients will be guided through the complexities of their cancer journey and given information to help them understand and access recommended screening, treatments, community resources, and emotional support. ACS will also work to empower patients and healthcare providers in several medically underrepresented communities with information about clinical trials and address potential barriers to trial participation. Additionally, ACS will work alongside its vast network of Health Equity Ambassadors to deliver trusted cancer prevention and early detection resources and information into each community..

    For more information about “Change the Odds” please visit

  • Help us spread some love this February

    💖 The latest “I Love You Get Screened’ campaign is now underway.​

    ACS is launching a new ‘I Love You Get Screened’ public awareness campaign encouraging people to tell someone they love to get screened for cancer. 

    Throughout February, anyone can donate at and purchase a Valentine-themed card encouraging someone they love to get screened. 

    As with previous ‘I Love You Get Screened’ campaigns, we’re encouraging our team members and our volunteers to share posts from our social media channels on your personal social media channels. When reposting, you can include the message “Help us spread some love this February – Tell someone you love to get screened for cancer.”

    You can also purchase a new version of the campaign T-shirt displaying the campaign slogan in a heart logo for $18.95.  

    Since the ‘I Love You Get Screened’ campaign was launched last year, it has been instrumental in raising awareness about the importance of regular cancer screening through relevant, engaging information that addresses barriers to screening.

  • ACS pilots Dry Feb web-based fundraiser

    Online fundraising challenge capitalizes on growing trend to go alcohol-free.​

    Following successful fundraising campaigns in Australia ($9 million), the United Kingdom ($1.1 million), and Canada ($2.7 million), a new Dry Feb campaign represents an ideal pilot opportunity for the American Cancer Society to accelerate its 2024 fundraising during a historically slower fundraising period (Q1) and align with our cancer prevention strategic goals. Developed by the company EZYRaise, and offered exclusively in the United States to ACS, Dry Feb challenges people to go alcohol-free for 29 days to raise vital funds to improve the lives of people with cancer and their families, through advocacy, research, and patient support.

    Though it is being piloted in the New York City market, this web-based challenge is accessible to anyone who is interested – and ACS team members and supporters can join and/or share with their partners who might be interested in this opportunity. Signing up for the Dry Feb challenge is easy and free!  and follow the simple steps to create a personalized profile page to help solicit and receive donations, post updates, and share. Promotional resources are also found on the Dry February website for those who choose to participate. In addition, the campaign includes a Golden Ticket option, which gives a Dry Feb participant a night off from the challenge for a minimum donation or contribution of $25.

    Why Dry Feb? According to the American Cancer Society Guideline for Diet and Physical Activity for Cancer Prevention, it is best not to drink alcohol. People who choose to drink alcohol should limit their intake to no more than two drinks per day for men and one drink a day for women. In addition, health and wellness remain a top consumer trend, along with the millennial-led sober-curious movement, which is prevalent on social media. The campaign will enable ACS to attract and engage with new customers and fundraisers, while educating participants and their donors about our mission.

  • It's time to Pack the Track

    ​​The 2024 Relay For Life recruitment is in full swing!​​​

    On Jan. 6, cancer fighters around the globe kicked off the Relay For Life season during #RelayFirstLap. In addition to walking a “lap” on their own, check out a social media photo at right, participants also tuned in to a brief video message featuring US Nationwide Relay For Life Volunteer Lead Suzy Lawrence and Nationwide Campus Relay For Life Volunteer Lead Isha Sarkar. In the video, the 2024 Relay For Life T-shirt design was revealed and an exciting Pack the Track recruitment challenge was announced. 

    As part of the challenge, 33 qualifying events will win a custom event experience stipend and a consultation with a Relay expert to discuss options for event enhancement. In addition, two events with the largest growth of registered survivors will earn a prize pack that includes a set of survivor stickers, caregiver stickers, and re-branded survivor and caregiver banners.

    The Pack the Track challenge runs through Feb. 6, 2024, at 11:59 p.m. CT, and all 2024 Relay For Life events are eligible, including Campus Relay events.

    ACS team members and volunteers can play a role in packing the track throughout the next several months by signing up to join a local Relay For Life event and sharing the new recruitment video to help spread the word. Plus, check out the new Let’s Rally recruitment video (available in both English and Spanish) and help Pack the Track with new Relayers!

  • Take your #RelayFirstLap on Jan. 6

    Save the date to kick off the 2024 Relay For Life season.​​

    Start your new year with Relay For Life and join cancer fighters around the globe for the #RelayFirstLap and Kickoff on Saturday, Jan. 6, 2024. On this day, a video message will be streamed on the Relay For Life Facebook page and YouTube account featuring US Nationwide Relay For Life volunteer lead Suzy Lawrence and Nationwide Campus Relay For Life volunteer lead Isha Sarkar. Tune in as they reveal the 2024 Relay For Life T-shirt design and share more exciting updates for the season.

    #RelayFirstLap started in 2018 with one volunteer’s vision to renew his commitment to Relay For Life and encouraged others to join him. Since then, volunteer Joe Gillette’s vision has spread globally and on the first Saturday of the New Year, Relayers worldwide take their first lap of the season together. All team members and supporters are invited to continue Joe’s vision by registering and taking your first steps of the season on the same day, Jan. 6!

    “No other activity demonstrates the huge global movement and close community ties that Relay For Life embraces or highlights the amazing strength and passion of our Relay For Life volunteers,” said Bryan Sherwood, senior director, Relay For Life at ACS. “During #RelayFirstLap Relayers have posted videos and pics from more than a dozen countries and almost every state in the U.S.”

    Sign up on, grab a friend, and take your First Lap of the year on Jan. 6. Don't forget to post your photos and videos to using #RelayFirstLap.

    To help spread the word, download the 2024 #RelayFirstLap promotional toolkit.

  • BrightEdge convenes investors, entrepreneurs, and researchers

    Second annual summit attendees left informed and inspired to build a brighter future.

    On Nov. 7 and 8, more than 130 thought leaders came together in Cambridge, MA, for the second annual BrightEdge Summit on Impact Investing in Cancer. Bringing together scientists, philanthropists, academics, and thought leaders from across the cancer ecosystem, the event focused on leveraging the power of impact investing and innovation to accelerate our mission of ending cancer as we know it, for everyone. 

    The summit consisted of three components:

    • Impact Showcase, which looked at deepening cancer impact through novel scientific innovations and business models
    • Cancer Impact ESG-Investing Think Tank, which highlighted the role and opportunity of impact investing, and
    • Advancing Diversity and Health Equity Programs, which examined those topics in relation to cancer care and included additional steps that can be taken to ensure everyone has an equal opportunity to prevent, detect, treat, and survive cancer.  

    Thank you to the BrightEdge, Marcom, and Development Principal Philanthropy teams for their work organizing and promoting this important event! ACS Executive Team members who participated and/or spoke, included Chief Scientific Officer Dr. Bill Dahut, Chief Patient Officer Dr. Arif Kamal, ACS CAN President Lisa Lacasse, Chief Finance and Strategy Officer Kael Reicin, and Senior Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer Tawana Thomas Johnson. Chief Executive Officer Dr. Karen Knudsen offered a video message for summit attendees echoing the importance of leveraging BrightEdge’s position and strength as ACS’ innovation and impact investment arm. ACS Board members Brian Marlow, Dr. Asif Dhar, Dr. Mark Goldberg, Dr. Ed Liu, and Ken Stoll were also in attendance.

    Managing Director for BrightEdge Alice Pomponio shared the importance of this convening this dynamic community, saying, “BrightEdge is a differentiated investor because of its ability to combine financial and intellectual capital from the American Cancer Society and our Founders Circle to drive intentional cancer impact through our integrated model. Convening our diverse ACS BrightEdge ecosystem helps us raise awareness and adoption of our mission priority investment areas, identify top startups at the earliest stages, standardize impact measurement and reporting through Cancer Impact Investment Framework, and accelerate and deliver ACS mission through novel business models. This is how we work together to build the impact marketplace and economy."

    This year’s summit would not have been possible without the support of amazing and generous sponsors who were recognized at the Founders Circle & Friends Sponsor Dinner. Thank you to Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP, Apex Group Ltd, WuXi AppTec, Innovatus Capital Partners, Third Rock Ventures, a16z Bio + Health, Greenberg Traurig, LLP, and Real Chemistry for believing in the ACS BrightEdge mission. In addition, two Founders Circle members (individual donors who have gifted more than $500,000 to BrightEdge), Dr. Steve Klasko, and PDB Foundation participated in the Annual Summit. Together, with our growing base of support, we are fighting for a world without cancer. 

    BrightEdge is the innovation, impact investment, and venture capital arm of the ACS with a vision to defeat cancer and advance health equity for all communities through patient-centric innovation and intentional, mission-aligned investing in for profit, cancer-focused startup companies. BrightEdge leverages ACS’ unparalleled knowledge base to catalyze impact innovation in areas of greatest need and build a more sustainable health future. Discover more on the BrightEdge website and keep up with everything happening on LinkedIn.

  • Mackenzie Porter & Friends presented Country vs. Cancer Nov. 20

    Country music fans can attend the live show or watch online.

    Country music star and American Cancer Society ambassador Mackenzie Porter is headlining Country vs. Cancer at Brooklyn Bowl in Nashville, TN, on Monday, Nov. 20. She’s also bringing her friends Dustin Lynch, Nate Smith, Walker Haynes, Lily Rose, and Alana Springsteen along with her for a night to remember.

    All proceeds from the concert will benefit ACS, and the event will also celebrate patients, survivors, and caregivers. Get tickets at Ticketmaster now, and share this opportunity with your friends who love country music through your social networks.

    For those who do not live close enough to travel to Nashville and attend live, create an account at Fans.Live to livestream the show beginning at 8:00 p.m. CT.

    Read on how a history of cancer runs thick in MacKenzie's family. 

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