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Actress Vanessa Hudgens named American Cancer Society Global Ambassador

The winner of our Super Bowl sweepstakes will get to sit next to her at the game

The American Cancer Society welcomes a new global ambassador, actress Vanessa Hudgens, who is participating in an exclusive Super Bowl LIII weekend package to raise critical funds to fight cancer.

“We are thrilled to welcome Vanessa Hudgens as an ambassador for the American Cancer Society,” said Sharon Byers, chief development, marketing, and communications officer. “Like so many of us, Vanessa brings personal experience of how devastating this disease can be, and we are grateful for her support.” Hudgens’ father lost his battle with throat cancer in January 2016, and she has been active in fighting cancer through her charity work.

Hudgens, the American Cancer Society, and the National Football League (NFL) will offer the winner of the Super Bowl sweepstakes package an incredible weekend experience.  With a minimum $10 contribution to the Society, one lucky fan (and a guest) will win the Ultimate Super Bowl Weekend, February 1-3, 2019, and sit next to Hudgens at the game. Entries will be accepted through Jan. 25.

The prize includes two tickets to Super Bowl LIII at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, pre-game sideline passes for a once-in-a-lifetime view from the field, a meet-and-greet with the halftime show headliner, two tickets to the NFL Honors award show, and access to the hottest parties including Rolling Stone, DirectTV, and Wheels Up. Round-trip airfare and lodging are included. This package is made possible because of a partnership with the NFL and Fanthropic, a 15 Seconds of Fame company.

“Cancer has taken the lives of so many people I love,” said Hudgens. “It ate away at my father’s body for years before he was diagnosed and when he was, it was too late. The same thing happened to my partner’s mother. It was a traumatizing time and I’m still dealing with the pain of the loss. I hate cancer and the pain it brings to everyone surrounded by it. I am so proud and excited to help the American Cancer Society do everything possible to fight back against this awful disease. We can all do more to help save lives and support those dealing with cancer."

All proceeds will support the American Cancer Society’s Community Health Advocates implementing Nationwide Grants for Empowerment and Equity (CHANGE) program, which promotes health equity and addresses cancer-related disparities. CHANGE grants are funded by the NFL’s Crucial Catch partnership with ACS. Funds raised address cancer prevention, early detection, and timely access to follow-up care, helping more people catch cancer early, when it may be easier to treat. These efforts have impacted more than 750,000 people, particularly in high-risk communities. 

About Vanessa Hudgens 

Hudgens made her feature film debut in Thirteen and rose to prominence portraying Gabriella Montez in the High School Musical film series. The success of the first film led to Hudgens' acquiring a recording contract with Hollywood Records, with whom she released two studio albums, V and Identified. In addition to High School Musical, Hudgens has appeared in various films and television series for the Disney Channel. She has appeared in the films BandslamBeastlySucker PunchJourney 2: The Mysterious IslandSpring Breakers, and Machete Kills. She made her Broadway debut in 2015 in the title role of the musical Gigi. In 2016, Hudgens starred in the Fox TV production of Grease: Live as Rizzio.  Hudgens can currently be seen starring alongside Jennifer Lopez in the film Second Act ,as well as the Netflix original film The Princess Switch.  Next, Hudgens will be seen as Maureen in Fox’s Rent: Live, as well as in the Netflix thriller Polar

  • Would you like to attend Super Bowl LIII?

    Enter a sweepstakes that benefits ACS - act before the end of January 2019

    With a minimum $10 contribution to the American Cancer Society, one lucky fan (and their guest) can win the Ultimate Super Bowl Weekend, February 1-3, 2019, and sit next to a celebrity at the game.  

    The prize will include two tickets to Super Bowl LIII at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, pre-game sideline passes for a once-in-a-lifetime view from the field, a meet and greet with the halftime show headliner, two tickets to the NFL Honors award show, and access to the hottest parties including: Rolling Stone, DirectTV, and Wheels Up.  Round-trip airfare and lodging is included. 

    All proceeds will support the American Cancer Society’s Community Health Advocates implementing Nationwide Grants for Empowerment and Equity (CHANGE) program, which promotes health equity and addresses cancer-related disparities. CHANGE grants are funded by the National Football League’s Crucial Catch partnership with ACS. Funds raised address cancer prevention, early detection, and timely access to follow-up care helping more people catch cancer early, when it may be easier to treat. These efforts have impacted more than 750,000 people, particularly in high-risk communities. 

    Additionally, participants who complete The Defender Cancer Risk Assessment Tool are eligible to contribute and receive double the amount of entries. The free, user-friendly tool provides people with personalized tips to increase their understanding of how healthy lifestyle habits can help reduce their cancer risk.

    To win the trip of a lifetime to Super Bowl LIII, fans can enter through the end of January 2019. Enter the sweepstakes here.

    Please read the official rulesEmployees, officers, and directors of ACS are not eligible to participate.

  • Calendar benefitting ACS features Relay "mermen"

    $20 each or two for $30

    A new calendar aimed at raising funds to help the American Cancer Society fight cancer has some of the country’s most dedicated do-gooders trading their slacks for fins! 

    “The Mermen of Relay Tell Their Tales… in Tails” is a full-color wall calendar – available just in time for the holidays – that features photographs of 12 ACS leadership volunteers dressed head-to-tail as mermen and posing at unique locations across the country. Each photo’s setting represents that merman’s hometown; backdrops include a canyon in Utah, a beach in Southern California, and a bayou in Louisiana. 

    Each merman provides a testimonial that accompanies their photo, explaining why they volunteer with the American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life. Some are cancer survivors, others are caregivers, and they all want to tip the scales in the fight to end cancer.

    Calendars can be purchased at

    This fundraiser was spearheaded by Brooklyn, NY-based Relay For Life leadership volunteer Joe Gillette.

    Here is a list of the volunteers featured in the calendar:

    JANUARY: Jason Jeffries, Relay For Life of Gwinnett County, GA (Southeast Region)

    FEBRUARY:  Kevin Bray, Relay For Life of Texas Gulf Coast, TX (South Region)

    MARCH: Nathan Farnor, Relay USA from UNICOI, TN (North Central Region)

    APRIL: Tristen Caudle, Relay For Life of North Kansas City, Kansas City MO (North Region)

    MAY:  Ed Smith, Relay For Life of Terrebonne Parish, Houma, LA (South Region)

    JUNE: Joe Gillette, Relay For Life of MCU Park, Brooklyn, NY (Northeast Region)

    JULY: Matthew Burgess, Relay For Life of University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI (North Central Region)

    AUGUST: Sid Groutage, Relay For Life of Salt Lake, Big Cottonwood Canyon, Utah (North Region)

    SEPTEMBER: Mike Jones, Relay For Life of Ulster County, Hudson River, NY (Northeast Region)

    OCTOBER: Steve Bell, Relay for Life of South Orange County, CA (West Region)

    NOVEMBER: Jeff Ross  Relay for Life Hall Of Fame,  Shelby, NC (Southeast Region)

    DECEMBER: Mark Flynn  Relay for Life Tacoma,  WA (West Region)

  • ACS and NFL surprise cancer survivor with tickets to the Super Bowl

    Atlanta associate superintendent of schools Dan Sims got one of the biggest surprises of his life today, when a former NFL player walked into a meeting he was conducting with principals to present him with two tickets to Super Bowl LIII!

    That’s right. Sims was running a meeting with Atlanta principals at Lakewood Stadium Conference Room when in walked former NFL running back Warrick Dunn, escorted by Sheri Barros, strategic director, Global Sports Alliances.

    Sims was chosen for this gift from the NFL because he is a 20-year survivor of cancer and a longtime supporter of the American Cancer Society. While juggling a demanding professional life, family, and other obligations, Dan has been a Relay For Life volunteer for 12 years. He has raised money for ACS on his family team, fraternity team, and as a member of the event leadership team. He has passionately attempted to revitalize his event and continues to support ACS in many ways.

    Dunn, who played for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Atlanta Falcons, told Sims that he is an inspiration to all of us, noting his cancer battle and the fact he fights each and every day to educate our youth.

    Dunn retired in 2009 after playing 12 seasons, and since then he has received numerous awards for his philanthropic efforts.

    The NFL and the American Cancer Society have partnered in the fight against cancer since 2009.

    PHOTOS: Pictured in the top photo is Dan Sims on the left accepting the tickets from Christina Hovestadt, manager, Community Relations, for the NFL. Former NFL running back Warrick Dunn stands in the middle. Featured in the small photo is Community Development Manager Joshua Menifee on the left who nominated Dan for the surprise. Dan is on the event leadership committee for Relay For Life of Atlanta.

  • Jack Nicklaus helps celebrate the 50th anniversary of our 19th Hole Club in Florida

    Earlier this month, more than 100 guests attended the 50th Annual 19th Hole Club at The Breakers in Palm Beach, Fla., celebrating the event's Golden Anniversary with the "Golden Bear" Jack Nicklaus.  

    Accompanied by his wife, Barbara, the golf legend greeted the guests and participated in an informal "beachside chat" with the emcee, former Miami Dolphin linebacker and broadcaster, Kim Bokamper.  

    Both Nicklaus and Bokamper struck a chord with the guests by sharing their personal accounts of being touched by cancer. Nicklaus lost his father to cancer, and Bokamper lost his wife of 33 years to the disease.

    Guests enjoyed fabulous food stations, a glow-in-the-dark putting contest, chipping contest, a remote controlled car "driving" contest, and entertainment provided by Nicklaus' grandson, G.T. Nicklaus, perhaps most remembered for scoring a hole-in-one at the Masters Par 3 tournament this year. Homer Marshman, Jr. presented Town Council President Danielle Moore with the 2018 Homer Marshman Award recipient for her commitment to community philanthropy.

    Started in 1968 with Jack Nicklaus, Juilius Boros, Bob Hope, and Perry Como, the annual event has been hosted by more than 80 different professional golfers and other celebrities with the aim of raising funds for cancer research, education, and service. The 19th Hole Club has evolved from an exhibition match in the 60s, to a luncheon and golf clinic in the 80s, to what is now an evening social soirée intended for golfers and non-golfers alike. This year's event raised $207,000.

    Nicklaus retired from professional golf in 2005. Mary regard him as the greatest golfer of all time. During a span of more than 25 years, he won a record 18 major championships while producing 19 second-place and nine third-place finishes. His golf course design company is one of the largest in the world. Nicklaus' books vary from instructional to autobiographical, with his Golf My Way considered one of the best instructional golf books of all time.

    PHOTOS: Pictured in the top photo with guests are Jack and Barbara Nicklaus, second from left and on the far right. In the smaller image are Nicklaus and hbroadcaster and former NFL player Kim Bokamper.

  • TODAY is Giving Tuesday! Help us promote it, please

    #GivingTuesday is a global day of giving and we need your help to break through the holiday noise and make ACS the charity of choice on November 27.

    Again, this yearMastercard® is generously matching donations on #GivingTuesday – dollar for dollar – up to $250,000 on

    In addition, all donations made through Facebook Fundraisers on November 27 will be matched up to $250,000 per non-profit until $7 million is reached. Learn more.

    Together, let's spread the message via our social networks that by choosing to donate to the American Cancer Society this #GivingTuesday, your money will go further and help more people, doubling your impact against cancer.

    How you can help:

    • Promote #GivingTuesday fundraising on local ACS social pages beginning Tuesday, November 20, by updating your cover photos and sharing American Cancer Society national social content.
    • Promote Relay For Life, Making Strides Against Breast Cancer, and Real Men Wear Pink event fundraising via Facebook using the materials in the field toolkit on Brand Toollkit.  
    • Create your own Facebook Fundraiser to support the American Cancer Society on #GivingTuesday.
    • Visit ACS2Go and share select #GivingTuesday posts directly to your personal Twitter channel with one click.
    • Not on ACS2Go yet? Share one of the below ACS social media posts on your personal Twitter andInstagram channels.
      • I'm so excited to support the @AmericanCancerSociety for #GivingTuesday this year. They've partnered with Mastercard to double every donation today (up to $250,000)! Will you help me raise funds to save lives from cancer? Every contribution makes a difference.

  • Dallas Cattle Baron's Ball nets $4.8M!

    Event's lifetime fundraising total stands at $80 million!

    Congratulations to our Texas colleagues and volunteers who had a hand in making last month's 45th annual Cattle Baron's Ball in Dallas the best ever!

    The total, a new record, was announced last week at the event's Fall Luncheon. Pictured here are Jonika Nix and Katy Bock, co-chairs of the 2018 CCB.

    Read more about it here.

  • St. Louis gala raises nearly $1.5M

    World Wide Technology, Ameren, and the Cardinals announce employee fundraising initiatives to support the renovation of Hope Lodge St. Louis

    On Nov. 3, the American Cancer Society in St. Louis hosted its third annual Champions of Hope Gala, led by the Society’s CEOs Against Cancer® of Missouri - St. Louis chapter, presented by the Centene Charitable Foundation, and chaired by Michael and Noémi Neidorff. 

    Nearly 350 St. Louisans showed their generosity, donating nearly $1.5 million to help the Society save lives, celebrate lives, and lead the fight for a world without cancer.

    The 2018 Champions of Hope Gala celebrated the Society’s Hope Lodge in St. Louis — a facility offering cancer patients and their caregivers a free place to stay when their best hope for effective treatment is in another city. 

    Hope Lodge St. Louis has served tens of thousands of people since 1995. However, after 23 years of operations, the existing facility is showing signs of constant use. 

    To improve guest and caregiver experience, keep pace with their needs, and provide a better quality of life during their stay, the Society recently launched a new capital campaign to fund the renovation and revitalization of the facility. 

    Presenters provided a sneak peek of the campaign’s theme: Hope Is Home (at, which will help to raise awareness of the Lodge in the community. Then, World Wide Technology, Ameren, and the Cardinals announced the kickoff of employee fundraising initiatives, pledging all of the funds donated toward building and sustaining a new Hope Lodge St. Louis. 

    Additionally, one-third of the funds raised at the gala ($600,000) will be earmarked for the facility. Combined with the nearly $5 million corporate partners raised already this fall, the Society has now reached a total of $5.5 million toward its overall capital campaign goal of $10 million.

    “As St. Louisans, we are fortunate to have access to world-class cancer care right here in our backyard. Hope Lodge St. Louis allows us to share this with others. After all, cancer patients have many things to worry about, and where to stay shouldn’t be one of them,” said Jim Kavanaugh, CEO and co-founder of World Wide Technology, vice chair of the Society’s CEOs Against Cancer of Missouri - St. Louis chapter and capital campaign chairman.

    Throughout the evening, the gala embraced two themes: pops of color and champions. As the only nonprofit working to combat all types of cancer, the Society featured “pops of color” throughout the event space to represent cancer awareness colors, including professional speed painter Tim Decker. The “champions” theme was brought to life via the evening’s guest speaker and emcee, Olympic gold medalist Scott Hamilton, pictured in the middle in the photo above, and with the Reedys in the smaller image. A motivational speaker, champion, and cancer survivor, Hamilton embodied the entertaining and uplifting spirit of the event.

    The event also honored two partners for their distinguished service and leadership in the community. The Society gave World Wide Technology the Corporate Mission Hero Award for its support of Society events and initiatives, both locally and across the country for many years. John Tavis, PhD, professor of molecular microbiology and immunology at Saint Louis University School of Medicine, was honored with the Individual Mission Hero Award for his long-time commitment to the Society and cancer research.

    Finally, event organizers announced the chair and date for next year's event. The 2019 Champions of Hope Gala will take place on November 9, 2019, and will be chaired by Peter Blumeyer, UMB St. Louis president and CEO.

    Since its inaugural year in 2016, the Champions of Hope Gala has become a premier event in St. Louis while raising more than $4 million to attack cancer from all angles. To learn more about the event, visit

    PHOTOS: North Region staff are pictured with our CEO Gary Reedy. In the smaller image, Gary and Cindy Reedy are with gala emcee Scott Hamilton, an Olympic gold medalist in figure skating, a former CBS skating commentator for many years, and a cancer survivor.

  • Congratulations to our Top 10 Real Men Wear Pink candidates

    Whether it’s the friendly competition, a show of support for a loved one, or the drive to make a meaningful impact, our Real Men Wear Pink (RMWP) candidates each have a unique reason why they are working to fight back against breast cancer. In 2018, more than 3,600 men across the country signed on as RMWP candidates.

    Collectively, the candidates on the Nationwide Top 10 Leaderboard raised over $544,000 to help the American Cancer Society attack breast cancer from every angle. Donations are being accepted through the end of the year.

    An extended version of this article will be shared with our 2018 RMWP candidates and alumni in the December issue of the nationwide RMWP eNewsletter. 

    Here are this year's Top 10 fundraisers:

    1. Jeffrey Sheehan, Real Men Wear Pink of Oakland County, Michigan - $91,205.50  

    Jeffrey Sheehan’s involvement in the fight against cancer is personal after losing a close friend to breast cancer in 2016. After raising over $91,000, he emerged as the nation’s top Real Man through his network of family, friends, and colleagues. Jeffrey currently serves as the president of the Johnstone Supply Eastern Michigan Group and chairman of the Board for the Johnstone Cooperative. He shared his passion for our mission with his supporters. (Read a longer story about Jeffrey on My Society Source.)

    2. Grant Navarre, Real Men Wear Pink of Southwest Louisiana - $75,350.21 

    In addition to many people close to him battling breast cancer, Grant Navarre lost his father to cancer a few years ago. Grant, an owner and sales manager with Billy Navarre Auto, has participated in four consecutive RMWP campaigns! This year, not only did he more than double his fundraising total from last year by hosting a slow-pitch softball tournament, a pink party, and a golf tournament, but he also served as the honorary chair of the Southwest Louisiana campaign. 

    3. Farzad Sani, Real Men Wear Pink of Capital Region - $54,383.15 

    Dr. Farzad Sani, a pediatric dentist in the Capital Region of New York, has seen his family deeply touched by various forms of cancer, from his parents to his grandmothers. He got creative in his fundraisers and really leveraged his work at Pediatric Dental Group of New York to bring awareness to his campaign and raise funds! Dr. Sani raised over $14,000 by running a challenge for the first few weeks of October, donating $8 for every teeth cleaning procedure he performed to honor the 1 in 8 women who will develop breast cancer in her lifetime. 

    4. Greg Miller, Real Men Wear Pink of Atlanta - $50,987.96 

    Greg Miller, executive vice president and chief information officer at Genuine Parts Company, knows the importance of raising awareness and funds in the fight against breast cancer. He raised awareness for his mother, who is a 25+ year survivor of the disease, for his nieces and daughters-in-law with their family histories, and for the hope that his new granddaughter would never need to worry about being diagnosed.  He made the biggest impact to his fundraising campaign by sending letters to his contacts and vendors, but perhaps the most fun was had at a truck pull held at Genuine Parts. 

    5. Dave Mirgon, Real Men Wear Pink of Columbus - $50,043.19

    Dave Mirgon was inspired to get involved with RMWP by his friends, David and Shannon Schmidt. Sadly, Shannon lost her courageous battle with breast cancer just two days after Dave accepted his nomination as a Real Man. Dave knew that he could show his support for Shannon’s husband and their two sons through their shared love of basketball. So, a youth basketball tournament was planned and resulted in 1,000 “Real Young Men” from 3rd - 7th grades participating and raising $2,400! Raising a dollar amount that ends in 43 is significant because it was Shannon’s high school jersey number.

    6. Dennis Hower, Real Men Wear Pink of Lehigh Valley - $47,121.83 

    Dennis Hower, President of Teamster Local 773, was an inspiration to many of his constituents this RMWP season. In his promotional video, he talks about how ACS was there for him and his family before losing his father to cancer. Dennis’s creativity and drive came to the forefront in several key areas including offering to dye his beard pink after reaching his original goal of $10,000. At Bling Your Bra night, he put together a bra and basket that was auctioned off for more than $3,700. After reaching $40,000, he is getting a pink ribbon tattoo with the initials of 10 people put forth by his 10 biggest donors to honor those who fought cancer. 

    7. Tom Flookes, Real Men Wear Pink of Seattle - $44,754.22 

    Tom Flookes is currently an associate partner for IBM's Global Business Services Division. He is also an avid supporter of ACS through his involvement in RMWP, chairing Seattle’s Hope Gala for three years, and his position as the co-chair of the American Cancer Society Washington and Alaska Board of Advisors. Tom is a busy guy, but he didn’t let that stop him from dying his hair pink this campaign season! He also held special food and wine tastings, dinners, and teamed up with Kendra Scott Jewelry to create a fun night to reveal his hair and give back to the cause with every purchase. 

    8. John Mike, Real Men Wear Pink of Knoxville - $44,467.68 

    John Mike, president at Perceptics in the Knoxville area, has had numerous friends and family members affected by cancer in some way. His fundraisers included a lunch at his office, a silent auction, and even fundraising and spreading the word about his campaign at professional trade shows. John’s fundraising efforts were tripled through the generosity of his company and foundation! Not only did John’s work with RMWP significantly impact the fight against breast cancer, but he saw rewards in his workplace community—morale boosted and employees bonded over a common goal.

    9. Daniel Weickenand, Real Men Wear Pink of Memphis - $43,598.74 

    Daniel Weickenand, CEO of Orion Federal Credit Union, has a personal connection to this cause. “I have chosen to participate because my mother passed away at the age of 60 from a cancer that I understand is very curable today,” says Daniel. “Unfortunately, I know several individuals who have been impacted by breast cancer, including my family, so anything I can do to assist with this great cause is an honor.” Daniel achieved success in his campaign by sending out emails to friends and colleagues, and by requesting donations in each of his credit union branches during the month of October.

    10. Brian Leslie, Real Men Wear Pink of Gainesville - $42,227.67 

    Brian Leslie signed on as a Real Man in support of his wife Kerri, a breast cancer survivor who is passionate about spreading awareness. Brian and Kerri are influential members of the Gainesville community, who are truly dedicated to making a difference in the lives of others. Together, Brian and Kerri hosted events such as a Pink LSU tailgate at a Florida Gator home football game, a Sip and Shop event with a local boutique that was very generous to the campaign, and a local restaurant giveback where proceeds for the evening supported Brian.  

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