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ACS selects first project in new accelerator pipeline

Funds and intellectual support aim to help speed medical devices and technology to market

The American Cancer Society and the Atlanta-based Global Center for Medical Innovation (GCMI) have selected the first project to be funded under a recently launched partnership to identify, fund, and promote promising medical devices and technologies within the ACS portfolio of current or previously-funded research. The goal of the initiative is to identify and solve critical unmet needs through innovative technology solutions to diagnose and treat cancer and bring them to market.

The ACS and GCMI have selected Boston University's BOTLab as the first oncology project to enter the program. BOTLab, short for Biomedical Optical Technologies Lab, will receive up to $100,000 to accelerate BOTLab's near-infrared spectroscopy (NIR) technology. The aim is to use the technology to provide real-time data that can determine how well chemotherapy is working in breast cancer patients. The funding is in addition to an existing ACS grant to investigators at BOTlab intended to accelerate high-quality commercialization of innovative medical technologies.

The initiative is part of an ACS effort to invest in later stage development projects among ACS grantees to speed the development of diagnostics, drugs, and therapies to help cancer patients. By promoting a culture of innovation and commercialization, ACS seeks to increase the impact of each donor dollar and reduce time-to-cures. ACS seeks to allow select ACS grantees to work closely with medical product development experts to translate their research ideas into high-quality products for commercial launch and patient treatment in a time and cost-efficient manner.

Together with GCMI, the ACS will continue to identify projects from among current and past grantees that are appropriate for development of medical devices and technologies in the accelerator setting.

Through this partnership, the two organizations will bring together healthcare centers, academic centers, leading researchers, industry, and product development experts with an international group of innovative companies to identify and solve critical unmet needs.

ACS and GCMI have committed to jointly raise a $5 million dedicated Partnership Development Fund to cover project activity costs. The initiative aims to fund three to five projects per year.


  • Exciting offer for Zac Brown Band fans!

    Know a Zac Brown Band fan? If so, tell them about the opportunity to win two VIP tickets to the 45th Annual Cattle Baron's Ball in Dallas on Oct. 20. 

    For as little as a $10 donation to ACS, they could win:

    • Two (2) VIP tickets to the Cattle Baron's Ball, with access to The Charlie Daniels Band concert and seating at the Zac Brown Band concert in the first four rows. This includes all food, drinks, and spirits.
    • Meet and greet with Zac before the concert
    • Signed guitar by Zac Brown
    • Roundtrip airfare to Dallas, TX
    • One night hotel accommodations for winner and guest

    Visit the Prizeo site to learn more. This sweepstakes ends on Oct. 4, 3 p.m. ET. 

    Read the official rules.

    The Cattle Baron's Ball will be held at Gilley's Dallas, and this year's theme is "Sapphires and Spurs." To date, the ball has generated over $77 million.

    The first Cattle Baron's Ball, 44 years ago, was a full-fledged Texas barbecue under the chairmanship of Patti Hunt and Jacque Wynne, who founded the event to raise funds for cancer research through the American Cancer Society. More than 500 guests attended the western-themed event in 1974, and raised $56,000. Today the ball hosts more than 3,000 guests and raises millions each year.

    Country music's most revered performers have entertained at the ball throughout its 44-year history, including Tammy Wynette, Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, George Strait, Waylon Jennings, Brooks & Dunn, Clint Black, Dwight Yoakam, Big & Rich, Toby Keith, Sugarland, and Brad Paisley.

    Its legendary live auction raises more than $1.5 million every year.

    To learn more, visit the event's web site

    About the Zac Brown Band 

    Since 2009, the Atlanta-based Zac Brown Band has earned 55 award nominations from the Grammys, Academy of Country Music, American Music Awards, Country Music Association and Country Music Television, and won eight. The Zac Brown Band led the nominees for the 46th annual Academy of Country Music Awards 2011, with a total of nine nominations including: Vocal Group of the Year, Album of the Year, Single Record of the Year, Song of the Year, Vocal Event of the Year. Their #1 hits include "Chicken Fried," "Toes", "Highway 20 Ride," "Free," "As She's Walking Away," "Keep Me in Mind," "Sweet Annie," and "Homegrown."

  • How DetermiNation got an employee of theSkimm hooked on ACS

    ​Last month, the American Cancer Society’s Hope Lodge Program received some exciting visibility: a write-up in the Daily Skimm!

    The Daily Skimm is a current events and pop culture e-newsletter that is distributed to more than 7 million subscribers each day. Hope Lodge was featured in the “Skimm Picks” section of the newsletter. The placement included a trackable donation link and a mention that “one Skimm HQer” volunteers for the program. That HQer is Jordan Gillman.

    Jordan works in media sales for theSkimm, and first got involved with ACS about seven years ago when he worked for AOL. He decided he wanted to run the New York City Marathon and knew he wanted to participate with a charity – but he didn’t know which one. “Cancer resonates with everyone,” he says, “so I looked into ACS and ultimately signed up with DetermiNation. It was kind of dumb luck that we connected.”

    Jordan was ultimately so impressed with DetermiNation and inspired by the work of the American Cancer Society, he decided to get others involved. In 2013, he formed a team made up of AOL colleagues to train with DetermiNation.

    The team was enormously successful, and they continue to fundraise and run the New York City Marathon with DetermiNation to this day. They raise between $100,000 and $150,000 every year!

    Jordan also continued to get more personally involved with the American Cancer Society and, specifically, Hope Lodge. He had learned about Hope Lodge during marathon training – the Determination team often uses Hope Lodge in Manhattan as its meeting place for training runs.

    Jordan started hosting Mission Give Back events at Hope Lodge, preparing dinner and game nights for the guests. He also started bringing his clients to Hope Lodge. Part of his job was often to network with advertising clients – so instead of taking them out for a happy hour, he’d bring them to Hope Lodge for a tour or to prepare a dinner. 

    “It was a unique experience, and way more impactful than just bringing them out for a cocktail,” he said. “You can ask people for money – and it’s like, sure, whatever – but you don’t get them to really care until you get them to Hope Lodge."

    Jordan estimates that he’s hosted between 20-25 events at Hope Lodge over the past seven years.

    Since leaving AOL and joining theSkimm, Jordan has started working with a larger ACS team – which still includes Hope Lodge and DetermiNation, but also corporate development and communications – to identify new awareness and fundraising opportunities. 

    theSkimm recently turned six years old and, to celebrate, they allocated space in the newsletter to highlight the work of individual Skimm team members who are making a difference in the community. 

    When asked about his longevity with the organization, he says, “The American Cancer Society’s work became more relevant to me as friends and family were impacted by cancer throughout my time at the organization. I stayed a loyalist because there was always a room with a view to the mission.”

    In November, Jordan will run the TCS New York City Marathon with DetermiNation. It will be his eighth marathon.

    PHOTOS: In the top photo, Jordan is pictured, third from right, with colleagues at our Hope Lodge in Manhattan. In the smaller image you can see him running in the New York City Marathon as a DetermiNation participant.

  • Announcing new DetermiNation partnerships

    The American Cancer Society has a robust endurance event program that has been operating in some areas for more than 45 years. The endurance events span a wide variety of sporting categories such as cycling, running events, marathon partnerships, hiking, climbing, rappelling, tennis, swimming, and more.

    In addition to our existing DetermiNation partnerships such as the Chicago, New York, and Philadelphia Marathons, we are pleased to announce participants will now be able to fundraise and run in the following events:

    • Paris Marathon -- 04/14/19
    • London Marathon – 4/28/19
    • Berlin Marathon – 09/29/19 **
    • Barcelona Marathon -- 10/03/2019 **
    • Kilimanjaro Experience – July 2019 **
    • All 4 runDisney Events:
      • Wine & Dine Half-Marathon 11/4/18
      • Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend 01/13/19
      • Princess Half-Marathon 02/24/19
      • Star Wars Half-Marathon 04/07/19

    "We're excited to announce new partnerships that will help take our endurance platform to the next level," said Daryl Evans, VP, Sports Alliances. "These events generate nearly $9 million for the Society and we're grateful to the staff, volunteers and participants who continue to support this growing platform."

    Check out the current DetermiNation opportunities available as well as our full roster at  

    ** Registration/Fundraising websites will be active soon

  • Watch highlights from the Relay For Life Top Performers meeting

    On August 3-5, about 200 volunteers and staff representing top community and campus Relay For Life events, as well as members of the Relay For Life Nationwide Volunteer Team, National Campus Leadership Team, and Global Leadership Team, gathered in Atlanta for our Nationwide Top Performers meeting. The theme was "Climbing to New Heights."

    The goal was to recognize our top performers and have them come away feeling energized and armed with great ideas, inspiration, and motivation. The meeting also gave attendees a chance to meet some ACS-funded researchers, and hear Alpa Patel, PhD, senior scientific director, Epidemiology Research, deliver a talk titled "The Future of Cancer Prevention: Highlights from the CPS-3."

    Key volunteers who have had a hand in shaping the Relay For Life movement over the years, including three  members of the Relay For Life Hall of Fame - Phylecia Wilson of Georgia, Laura McCormick of Connecticut, and Jeff Ross of North Carolina – were on hand to share their knowledge.

    Watch highlights from the meeting!

    Panel Discussion: ACS leaders answer volunteers' questions 

    TJ Koerner, PhD, and Janet Harris from our Extramural Research Dept.: How ACS Makes Research Happen

    Alpa Patel, PhD, and ACS-funded Researchers

    Global Hero of Hope Grant Crim: 3x Cancer Survivor 

    Workgroup members who organized the event were:

    • Caroline Biondo, of University of Virginia, a member of the National Campus Leadership Team
    • Staffer Jennifer Bryant, director, Constituent Development
    • Kelly Fryer, southern Oklahoma volunteer and member of the Top Performers Workgroup
    • Staffer Steve Konsdorf, director, RFL Program Initiatives 
    • Nacole Light, of Colorado, a member of the Top Performers Workgroup
    • Laura McCormick, of Connecticut, a member of the Relay For Life Hall of Fame and Global RFL Lead Volunteer
    • Heather Mills, of Virginia, a member of the Top Performers Workgroup and a volunteer on the Southeast Region Leadership Team
    • Staffer Joe Prosperi, director, Relay For Life Digital Strategy
    • Staffer Savanna Rayner, RFL manager, Youth Initiatives and Events
    • Kaitlyn Rebbe of Oklahoma, a member of the Top Performers Workgroup
    • Shelley Sprouffske, Nationwide Top Performers Lead
    • Karen Woldahl of Georgia, a member of the Top Performers Workgroup

    So, you might ask, what are our Top Relays? Below are the top 15 community and college events for 2017. The fundraising totals represent 2017 net earnings.

    COMMUNITY TOP 15 2017

    • Relay For Life of Gwinnett County, GA, $1,500,537.41
    • Relay For Life of South Mid Jefferson, TX, $677,684.53
    • Relay For Life of Morgan Decatur, AL, $661,894.03
    • Relay For Life of Delta Corporate, $659,707.13
    • Relay For Life of Bakersfield, CA, $658,114.10
    • Relay For Life of Lancaster, PA, $598,740.46
    • Relay For Life of Salinas, CA, $534,655.16
    • Relay For Life of Eugene-Springfield, OR, $532,255.48
    • Relay For Life of South Hampton Roads, VA, $524,609.33
    • Relay For Life of Yellowstone County, $497,480.58
    • Relay For Life of Guam, $491,667.15
    • Relay For Life of Farmington Valley, CT, $466,133.74
    • Relay For Life of Cobb County, GA, $444,667.55
    • Relay For Life of Bay Area, TX, $422,603.31
    • Relay For Life of Tacoma, WA, $414,496.59

    COLLEGE TOP 15 2017

    • Relay For Life of Virginia Tech, $457,191.36
    • Relay For Life at the University of Michigan, $319,283.73
    • Relay For Life of James Madison University, $289,815.92
    • Relay For Life of Northeastern University, $268,868.19
    • Relay For Life of Florida State University, $262,660.74
    • Relay For Life of UCLA, $248,719.14
    • Relay For Life of University of Georgia, $242,437.81
    • Relay For Life of Kenyon College, $204,592.10
    • Relay For Life of University of Oklahoma, $201,692.22
    • Relay For Life of USC, $172,103.88
    • Relay For Life of Vanderbilt, $167,067.72
    • Relay For Life of Loyola University, $163,714.10
    • Relay For Life of SUNY Geneseo, $156,480.24
    • Relay For Life of Washington University In Saint Louis, $155,241.11
    • Relay For Life of Saint Louis University, $143,917.15

    PHOTOS: In the image at the top, Sharon Byers, chief development and marketing officer; Mike Neal, senior executive VP, Field Operations; and Maria Clark, senior VP, Volunteer Events, bow down to the representatives from the #1 top performing Relay, the Relay For Life of Gwinnett, GA, Pictured in the smaller image, from left, are  Laura McCormick of Connecticut, a member of the Relay For Life Hall of Fame; Donielle Deitz, of Sanford, FL, former Relay For Life Nationwide Volunteer Team co-lead; Joe Gillette, of Brooklyn, NY, a member of the Top Performers Workgroup; and Maria Clark, senior VP, Volunteer Events.

  • CVS becomes our first official retail pharmacy partner; commits to minimum of $10M

    Today, we are excited to announce CVS Health® as the first official retail pharmacy partner of the American Cancer Society. 

    This multi-year, multi-dimensional agreement is expected to raise a minimum of $10 million through direct charitable contributions, cause marketing sales promotions around select supplier products, and through an annual chain-wide point-of-sale donation campaign at CVS Pharmacy, which kicks off this Sunday, August 5, and will run through August 25, 2018, in all 7,900 CVS Pharmacy locations. 

    Through this groundbreaking partnership, we will work with CVS Health to educate people about critical lifestyle choices on the path to better health, while raising funds for our life-saving mission. 

    For more information on our partnership you can check out and, to learn more about CVS Health's corporate commitment to healthy lifestyles, read the CVS "Prescription for Better Health" CSR report. You also can learn more by reading the official press release.

    Please share the excitement of this new partnership on your personal social media channels using #AttackingCancer. 

  • Hockey legend takes Chicago Select Golf Invitational to a new level

    NHL legendary player, coach, and current Blackhawks television color analyst Eddie Olczyk was instrumental in this month's successful American Cancer Society Chicago Select Golf Invitational in Illinois. The July 16 event netted $407,000, well above its $360,000 goal. Ironically, "Eddie O," as his fans fondly refer to him, is not much of a golfer. Eddie O is a fighter and survivor.

    For 23 years, Chicago area leaders have come together for this exclusive golf event – most recently at the world famous Medinah Country Club. Platinum ranks Medinah as 36th in the world, 22nd in America, and third in Illinois. In 2019, Medinah will host the BMW Championship, conducted by the Western Golf Association. 

    This year, 237 golfers participated in a shotgun start, selling out one of the two courses used. Sponsorships ranged from $5,000 -$25,000 and included the following for each player in the foursome: green fees, forecaddie, cart, locker room services, premier player gift, lunch, cocktail hour, and awards dinner. On site, many players also added a $150 package to participate in the on-course challenges.

    A new opportunity added this year was sponsorship of a mission bear. For a $50 donation, a plush teddy bear would be donated to a local pediatric cancer program in the donor's name. Nearly all 100 were sold, and a new corporate sponsor signed on at $25,000 to serve as the Mission Bear sponsor and help underwrite the cost.

    After a hot, on-and-off rainy day on the course, the golfers cleaned up and came in for networking, a buffet dinner, live auction, and a short program.

    A survivor speaker is a special component to any successful American Cancer Society event. As a sports celebrity, the room packed with golfers, a majority being men, Eddie, pictured above, had them completely engaged. He and his friend and fellow broadcaster, Pat Foley, did a Q&A session that included some great sports stories. Then Eddie slipped into some personal stories and told about the fist-sized tumor, 23 lymph nodes, and 14 inches of his colon he had removed a year ago, and the 12 48-hour chemo sessions he endured. He shared how he didn't want to be an example; he wasn't as tough as he thought he was, but he realized his obligation to publicly fight for others. That included encouraging this room full of his peers to get screened.

    Immediately following Eddie O's talk was the Raising Hope portion of the evening, which last year raised $25,000. With the addition of Eddie's engaging story, the paddles went wild – raising more than $43,000!

  • Seeking volunteers for new Sports Alliances Workgroup!

    Get ready to rumble! 

    Do you or someone you know love sports? 

    The Sports Alliances team is creating a new volunteer Sports Alliances Workgroup to help expand our sports initiatives and partnerships.

    This volunteer workgroup will be comprised of 8-10 volunteers from around the country who will serve for a minimum of one year and a maximum of two years. Along with a few staff partners, they will play a critical role in informing, developing, and implementing nationwide strategies for sports engagement. They will assist with promotion of specific campaigns, helping drive fundraising and relevancy.

    People interested in this new volunteer opportunity should fill out this application by 5 p.m. ET on Monday, August 13. 

    Specific goals include:

    • Leveraging Coaches vs. Cancer, NFL, and NHL platforms to generate engagement and further our mission both on a local and national level.
    • Increasing volunteer engagement in Sports Alliances platforms.
    • Increasing the number of interactions and level of engagement via social media platforms to drive awareness about the NFL and NHL partnerships through both ACS social accounts and those of our partner organizations.
    • Building Coaches vs. Cancer partnerships through youth organizations, clubs and schools.

    If you have questions, please contact David Doan

  • ​Making Strides incentive features pink YOUnited™ gear – a cape or bandana

    Throughout the month of August and part of September, people who register for a Making Strides Against Breast Cancer event and raise $25 online will receive their choice of a pink YOUnited™ cape or bandana, while supplies last.

    The pink gear is a visible way for participants to show their passion for Making Strides, a key source of support for our efforts to reduce the impact of breast cancer. This opportunity ends September 5 at 1 p.m. ET

    Last year, more than 20,000 individuals across the nation participated in the pink cape incentive, and we're hoping for even more this year. 

    This year, Avon joins us as the first-ever National Presenting Sponsor of Making Strides. So far, more than 800 teams have registered on the Avon Making Strides page.

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