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ACS loses a true hero

​Pat Flynn, known fondly as "The Mother of Relay For Life," died Saturday night (July 7) from kidney disease. She was 80 years old.

The Tacoma, WA, resident had stage four chronic kidney disease, according to her son, Mark Flynn, and had been on kidney dialysis for four years. During an interview several days before her death, Mark said, "She has limited time, but she is still one of the most joyous and happy people you'll ever meet, even when she is in pain." 

Word of Pat's failing condition had spread across the country and around the world, and she had received a steady stream of phone calls from well-wishers from across the U.S. and as far away as South Africa and Australia.

Below is a statement American Cancer Society CEO Gary Reedy issued Saturday night:

"Today, the American Cancer Society and the cancer world lost a true hero, Pat Flynn, a volunteer who worked tirelessly to change the face of cancer forever. Her life’s legacy includes three children, 15 grandchildren, and a cancer-fighting footprint of over 2,500 fundraising events in 30 countries, with 1.3 million participants. 

"Pat is known to us all as the “Mother of Relay For Life.” She helped turn an idea into a movement that reached countless communities, raising over $6 billion to fight cancer and save lives since the inception of this grassroots concept in 1985. For more than three decades she was a leader and driving force behind the Relay For Life movement, which grew into the world’s largest and most impactful fundraising event to lead the fight against cancer. Her enormous efforts helped change lives forever, and empowered communities around the world to have hope. 

"Our thoughts, hearts, and prayers are with her family and friends. We hope there will be peace in knowing that her legacy has made a tremendous impact on so many throughout the world. We will miss Pat dearly, but she will never be forgotten, and she can be best remembered in her own words:

"'As a mother, you want to see your children grow and have an impact on the world around them.  As the ‘Mother of Relay,’ I am thrilled to see the energy and spirit of Relayers continue to grow around the world. They have taken the light of Relay For Life from us here in the United States, and are truly united with us in creating a world without cancer."'

Memorial donations may be made through patflynn.org, Pat's 2018 Relay fundraising page, until the 2019 Relay For Life of Tacoma site goes live next week. 

  • DetermiNation partners with Disney to make your miles more magical!

    For years, American Cancer Society's DetermiNation team has given runners the opportunity to dedicate their miles to those who have heard the words, "you have cancer." Walkers and runners from all over the world have come together to raise millions of dollars, while participating in world-class events.

    Now, for the first time, you can make your miles more meaningful and more magical. If you like to whistle while you work out, or if you're looking to trade in your glass slippers for a pair of running shoes, then you're in luck! The American Cancer Society is thrilled to announce its brand-new partnership with runDisney.

    Spots are available to join the DetermiNation team for the Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon weekend or the Walt Disney World® Marathon weekend. These events are perfect for both first-time runners and seasoned endurance athletes. Run through Walt Disney World Resort® before the park opens to guests! Along the way, you'll enjoy entertainment, costumes, and your favorite Disney characters cheering you on!

    Wine & Dine Half Marathon (November 1 - 4, 2018)

    Prepare to feast on an exciting menu of races celebrating some of your favorite Disney chefs during the Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend presented by MISFIT™. Learn more today about our guaranteed spots and the available fundraising options.

    Walt Disney World® Marathon (January 9 - 13, 2019)

    You're invited to join us for the most magical race weekend on earth at Walt Disney World® Resort where your favorite classic Disney characters are the hosts! Learn more today about our guaranteed spots and the available fundraising options.

    All DetermiNation runners will enjoy specially priced Walt Disney World® Resort hotel and ticket rates, exclusive Disney swag, and an American Cancer Society-hosted race weekend get together. Your ACS staff partner will be there every step of the way, to provide you with training tips, newsletters, and fundraising resources to help you reach your fundraising goal.

    We are looking forward to more runDisney events in 2019, including Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend, Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend, and Star Wars Rival Run Weekend. 

    If you're interested in running happily ever after, please contact Jenna Leinwohl or call 312-279-7266 for more information.

  • Check out this beautiful song inspired by people's cancer journeys; July sales benefit ACS

    ​Robbie and Dylan Knowles of Los Angeles County, CA, have written a song, "We'll Never Stop Fighting," to honor those who are battling cancer, and during the month of July all proceeds from people downloading their 99-cent song will benefit the American Cancer Society. Listen to it here and please share it with others.

    The talented Mira Costa High School students have lost loved ones to cancer – an aunt, a godmother who helped raise them, and a dear family friend who was more like an uncle. Their photographs appear on the piano in the video.

    "We wrote the song to honor those who we have lost and to inspire those currently battling cancer," explained Robbie, the older of the two. "The people in the video are local people we know or were introduced to, who are currently battling the disease. They, and others like them, are the courageous warriors we sing about."

    The brothers, who have been playing music for a long time, enlisted their dad's friend, Mike Geier of the Hidden Studio, to help. "He arranged and produced the song, and it came out 100 times better than we could have imagined," said Robbie. Another friend, Michael Costa, produced the video.

    "We thought maybe if we wrote and created a video we could sell the song/video and raise money for cancer. We have received unbelievably kind feedback on the song," Robbie said.

    "We're incredibly honored to partner with the American Cancer Society; it is an amazing organization," he said.

  • Financial Services Cares Gala raises more than $2M

    This year's Financial Services Cares Gala, now in its 13th year, raised more than $2 million, with the proceeds being split between ACS and Hope & Heroes, a non-profit dedicated exclusively to the support of pediatric cancer and blood disorder care at Columbia University Medical Center in New York City. Since its inception, the gala has raised $19 million.

    The 720 guests at the June 21 event at the New York Hilton Midtown were treated to a full night of performances as part of "Wall Street's Got Talent," a musical competition where executives from participating banks and investment companies face off in a talent contest. The competition was tough, but KPMG accounting firm took home the trophy for their mash-up performance of songs by The Supremes.

    Arnold M. Baskies, MD, a surgical oncologist and immediate past chair of the American Cancer Society Board, addressed attendees (as you can see in the smaller photo).

    To get a taste of the event, watch this video from last year, in which our CEO Gary Reedy appears.

    This year's gala was co-chaired by Robert F. Arning, vice chair, Market Development, KPMG, LLP; Robert S. Kapito, president, BlackRock; and Richie Prager, senior managing director, BlackRock.

    This year's Eugene D. O'Kelly Award, in honor of Gene O'Kelly, former CEO of KPMG who died of cancer at age 53, was presented to Michael A. Weiner, a pediatric oncologist at Columbia University Medical Center and founder of Hope & Heroes. 

    Mastercard received the 2018 Financial Services Cares Gala Distinguished Service Award on behalf of its employees.  Mastercard works closely with world-class organizations including Stand Up To Cancer, the American Cancer Society, and The World Food Programme, as well as local organizations important to its employees. 

    PHOTOS: Pictured in the top photo are Senior Committee members with honorees and ACS leaders. From left, Fitz Middelton, Credit Suisse; Tyler Baram, KPMG; Jeff Rojek, KPMG; Kris Kim, EVP, Northeast Region; Rob Arning, KPMG (co-chair); honoree Michael A. Weiner, MD; Arnold Baskies, MD;  Lauren Sambrotto, MUFG Bank; Andrew Pyper, (honoree) , Mastercard; Tom Wipf, Morgan Stanley; Robert Griffin, Credit Suisse; Richie Prager, BlackRock (co-chair); and Rob Kapito, BlackRock (co-chair). Pictured in the smaller image, addressing the attendees, is Arnold Baskies, MD, immediate past chair of the American Cancer Society Board.


  • INFINITI donates $774,180 to Society

    At a June 14 check presentation at its U.S. headquarters in Tennessee, INFINITI donated $774,180 to Coaches vs. Cancer – $700,000 through the Round by Round Bracket Challenge during March Madness, and $74,180 through the Charity Stripe Challenge.

    Coaches vs. Cancer is a partnership with ACS and NABC that has raised more than $110 million since 1993. And, our INFINITI partnership that began in 2010 has contributed more than $5.6 million to our mission, making it Coaches vs. Cancer largest corporate donor.

    In all, INFINITI donated more than $1.1 million to charities across the U.S. as part of the brand's ongoing corporate partnership with NCAA® Division I men's basketball and NABC. INFINITI is the luxury vehicle division of Japanese automaker Nissan.

    In the Round by Round Bracket Challenge, INFINITI makes a donation to CvC for every correct NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament bracket pick a fan makes, up to $700,000. The Charity Stripe Challenge at Tailgate Plaza, outside the Alamodome in San Antonio, gave Final Four attendees the chance to compete in a free-throw contest. CvC was the only beneficiary, and it raised $74,180 for us.

    INFINITI also donated an additional $349,000 to multiple charities individually selected by participating NCAA Division I men's basketball coaches through the INFINITI Coaches' Charity Challenge, in which fans voted for their favorite coaches on social media and online. Head coach Dave Rose of Brigham Young University won the challenge, and $100,000 was donated to Simmons Center for Cancer Research at BYU. 

    INFINITI hosted its third annual Hardwood Heroes Game this year. Consisting of two teams of cancer survivors, each coached by legendary NCAA coaches, the game kicked off the Final Four weekend at the Alamodome to raise awareness for cancer research. The team coached by Jim Calhoun, along with Assistant Coach Shelley Smith, scored three more points than the team coached by Bo Ryan, with Assistant Coach Kayce Smith, but all were winners at this inspirational game. 

    PHOTOS: Top photo, from left: Phil O’Connor, director of Marketing Communications and Media at INFINITI Americas, presents the check to ACS representatives, Daryl Evans, VP,  Strategic Sports Alliances, J.W. Cannon, senior director, Partnership Integration, Strategic Sports Alliances, and Michelle Heil, senior manager, Hospital Systems. Pictured in the smaller image is Daryl Evans.




  • 46th Annual Bike-a-Thon Bridge to the Beach expected to raise $1.4M

    Thousands of cyclists, volunteers, and spectators came together on Sunday, June 10, for the 46th annual American Cancer Society Bike-a-thon Bridge to the Beach, a 66-mile course from Philadelphia to Atlantic City.

    More than 3,500 riders participated and have raised more than $1.2 million so far. The event is expected to surpass $1.4 million. Since it started, Bike-a-thon has raised more than $25 million for the Society!

    There were two firsts at this year's event - a couple got engaged at the finish line, and Desiree Berenguer Carton provided live feeds on Facebook. Watch her interview with a woman who completed her cancer treatment six months ago. Both she and her husband completed the ride.

    And, click here to read the inspiring stories of two teams.

    This year saw significant growth in health system, corporate, and general participant engagement, as well as media coverage.

    A sampling of media coverage:


  • ​Talk about integrity – one of our five core values! Here's a great example of it from the West Region

    On May 31, Barbara Niemeyer was getting ready for a special doll sale at our Discovery Shop in Santa Monica, CA. The event was prompted by a large donation of 60 porcelain dolls from the estate of a woman who had passed away.

    She was going through one of the boxes of dolls when she found a brown, lumpy envelope. "I opened it because I thought it might contain shoes for the dolls," said Barbara, manager, Discovery Shop, West Region. 

    "As I took this envelope out, several white bank envelopes slid out. They contained crisp new $100 bills, some with bands from the bank around them," she said. They totaled $34,000! 

    "Two volunteers were working with me, and they rushed over to see what was up when they saw my face go white," Barbara said.

    Within minutes she was on the phone with Ray Rhinehart, who had donated his mom's dolls. 

    "I told Ray over the phone that we had found some money in one of the doll boxes, without telling him the amount. He said he'd be at the shop in 20 minutes. He was not surprised that his mom had hidden something, but the amount was a shock. You can see his grin in the photo," she said. He is splitting the windfall with his brother.

    Not for a second did Barbara think about keeping the money as a donation. Now, that's integrity!

    Do you remember what our other values are? Here's the complete list: 

    • INTEGRITY: Driven by truth, ethics, and fact of science
    • COMPASSION: Caring for and supporting those touched by cancer
    • COURAGE: Undeterred by challenges and bold in action
    • DETERMINATION: Relentlessly pursuing a world without cancer
    • DIVERSITY: Intentionally striving for equity through inclusion and respect

    PHOTO: Pictured in the top photo are Barbara Niemeyer, Discovery Shop manager, West Region, with Ray Rhinehart. Pictured in the smaller image is Ray (on right), with his brother.


  • Shopping on Amazon for Father's Day? Make sure your purchase benefits the Society

    If you intend to shop for the dad in your life on Amazon, please make sure to enter through the Society's AmazonSmile page. Father's Day is Sunday, June 17!

    When you sign up for AmazonSmile and choose the American Cancer Society as the beneficiary, one half of one percent of what you spend – every time you spend –  will be donated to ACS by Amazon. It may not sound like a lot – but the more people we have doing this, the more we can raise, and it costs shoppers nothing.

    How it works
    Go to smile.amazon.com and choose the American Cancer Society as your charity of choice, or go straight to the Society's page and bookmark it. You can use your existing Amazon account and you will find all the same products and prices as on Amazon.com. Please note that recurring subscribe-and-save purchases and subscription renewals are not currently eligible for AmazonSmile.

    Once you choose American Cancer Society, every time you come back to smile.amazon.com, you will see this wording at the top of the page: "Supporting American Cancer Society, Inc."  To learn more, read Amazon's Q&A about AmazonSmile

    The key is remembering to go to smile.amazon.com or the Society's page, instead of amazon.com. It takes a little self-discipline!

    Please share this information with your friends, family members, and colleagues. You'll find social media messages below, and here is a video you can share.

    Suggested social media posts for AmazonSmile

    • Give back to the American Cancer Society when you shop this Father's Day. Visit smile.amazon.com, select the American Cancer Society as your charity of choice, and the Society will receive 0.5% of your eligible purchases to support life-saving cancer programs. It's so easy and it really helps! 
    • Shopping on Amazon this Father's Day? Get the same great selection and prices at smile.amazon.com and the Amazon Foundation will donate 0.5% of your eligible purchases to the American Cancer Society with no cost to you!  Thank you for supporting the fight against cancer while you shop.
    • This Father's Day, help support the fight against cancer while you shop on Amazon. Just visit smile.Amazon.com  first and select the American Cancer Society as your charity of choice to receive 0.5% on every eligible purchase. It adds up fast and really helps families battling cancer. Thank you!



  • Staffer sings about what she does

    Last week, at her Business Networking International meeting, it was Kaitlin Moore's turn to do a five-minute presentation on what she does for work.

    "I wanted to do something creative, so I sang a song," said the community development manager in Kona, Hawaii.

    Sing she did! Kaitlin rewrote the lyrics to "Part of Your World," a song from Disney's "The Little Mermaid" to reflect what she does day-in, day-out for ACS. You can watch Kaitlin sing here.  Her full presentation -- not all singing -- can be viewed here.

    The first thing you'll notice is that Kaitlin, who joined ACS on August 28, 2017, can really sing. She says she started singing in church, when she was little, and she says she sang a lot with her dad, whom she lost to colon cancer in 2016.

    "In 2015, I started working with the Aloha Theatre, first as a costume and hair/makeup designer, and then got on stage soon thereafter," she said. "I love to sing! Singing is my absolute favorite!! I just competed in "Hawaiian Idol" and made it to the finale, but was unable to perform due to the vog robbing me of my voice. 😞 There's always next year!"

    Kaitlin lives on the Big Island, where Kilauea volcano has destroyed more than 70 homes since the beginning of May. "Vog" or volcanic smog is a form of air pollution that results when sulfur dioxide and other gases and particles emitted by an erupting volcano react with oxygen and moisture in the presence of sunlight. 

    Below are Kaitlin's lyrics:

    Look at this stuff - Isn't it neat?
    Wouldn't you think my fundraising's complete?
    Wouldn't you think I'm the girl - the girl who loves - Relay?

    Well that is true, love Relay, I do
    Working towards a cure for me and for you
    Thank you for listening to me talk about - cancer.

    We've got patient and caregiver info
    We've got free patient services galore!
    You'd like a volunteer role?
    I've got plenty!

    This is why - all that we do - matters so much....

    I aim to be where the people are
    Driving my car all over Big Isand
    Showing my face so the community know - Oh! That's Kaitlin!

    Building connections in so many ways
    My legs have pounded so much pavement
    Making my way to  meet - what's that word again? Oh, leads!

    The people I meet. In communities
    Build the foundation for our success!

    I need them to - meet me through you - BNI friends

    What would I give- If I could live in a world without cancer?
    What would I pay - to spend a day without chemo?
    Bet you I can - build a plan - where we can win the fight together
    And live longer - and be stronger - than cancer can

    And we want to know how to find a cure
    Doing the research to get some answers
    Like - what the hell is cancer and why do some not survive?
    When it's our turn, wouldn't we love - a chance to discover the cure for cancer!

    To live cancer free - wouldn't that be - a fantastic world?

    PHOTOS: Pictured in the top photo are Kaitlin and her dad, who died of colon cancer in 2016. The smaller image shows Kaitlin singing at her BNI meeting.

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