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Meet the 2018 Margot S. Freudenberg National Volunteer Award recipients

This year, the award goes to Laura Bruce from Marshfield, WI, and the Tuesday Crew (Elaine Dixon, Ronnie Dixon, JoAnn Lewis, Bobby Manning, and Patsy Manning) from Greenville, NC.

These award winners have given their time to make a difference in the lives of cancer patients. Let's learn more about their impact at their local Hope Lodge!

Individual Award Winner

Laura has been dedicated to volunteering at the Hope Lodge in Marshfield, WI, since 2003 when the facility opened to guests. As a volunteer, she has spent more than 1,600 hours in various roles including making beds, managing fellow volunteers, greeting guests, and filling in where she is needed. 

She is the volunteer coordinator and helps to recruit new volunteers, guides them through the onboarding process, manages volunteer schedules, and recognizes fellow volunteers for the contributions they are making. She also regularly participates in annual fundraisers for the facility, Daffodil Days, and her local Relay For Life event.

"It's difficult for me to summarize Laura's contribution to Hope Lodge," said Jewel Quelle, Hope Lodge manager. "She fills in every gap we have, filling whatever need we might have, and has done so from day one."

In her "spare time," Laura volunteers with Columbus Catholic Schools and Our Lady of Peace Parish.

Group Award Winner

In 2005, the Tuesday Crew began volunteering at the McConnell-Raab Hope Lodge in Greenville, NC. This group of family and friends all started volunteering because one high school student needed volunteer services hours. Now, 13 years later, the Tuesday Crew spends hours preparing feasts for guests and leading devotionals and sing-a-longs every Tuesday. That adds up to serving approximately 13,000 meals conservatively at Hope Lodge. Wow!

They go "all out" on holidays by dressing for the season and serving seasonal dishes. For Valentine's Day, they serve a "couples" dinner for the caregiver and patient. In December, they host a special holiday dinner program for guests that includes a visit from Santa. They also serve at the Lodge's annual Volunteer Appreciation celebration and our reunion each year.

"When we count our blessings, we can always count the Tuesday Crew," said Katrina Combs, Hope Lodge manager.

Additionally, this crew raises money for Relay For Life by selling hand-crafted/homemade items such as jellies, jams, pickles, Christmas wreaths, and wooden benches. They also help sponsor the Pitt County Survivors dinner each year and attend the Pitt County Fair to raise awareness and money for their Relay For Life team. 

An incredible volunteer group, Tuesday Crew, welcomes each guest at the McConnell-Raab Hope Lodge with down-home southern charm and loving hearts.

About the award

The Margot S. Freudenberg National Award is named after Margot S. Freudenberg, founder of the first Hope Lodge facility in Charleston, South Carolina, in 1970. It honors an outstanding individual and a caring group of volunteers each year.


If you have any questions, please contact Lora Strauss, regional director, Hope Lodge Operations. 

  • ACS CAN releases Cancer Disparities Chartbook

    ​Despite the fact that U.S. cancer death rates have decreased by 26% from 1991 to 2015, not all Americans have benefited equally from the advances in prevention, early detection, and treatments that have helped achieve these lower rates.

    On Oct. 17, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) released a publication that illustrates health inequities across the cancer continuum and highlights policies ACS CAN is pursuing to address the disparate disease burden.  

    Cancer Disparities: A Chartbook illustrates the scope of cancer disparities that exist in the U.S., including cancer incidence, mortality, and survival; access to insurance coverage; screening and early detection; and behaviors that may increase cancer risk. It also details how ACS CAN is actively pursuing evidence-based public policies at the local, state, and federal levels that aim to reduce these disparities and improve health outcomes for all U.S. population groups.

    Additionally, the chartbook highlights some of the greatest gaps and challenges, which will further guide ACS CAN in its public policy work. The publication includes more than 100 charts and maps detailing the extent of disparities across different populations. ACS CAN led the development of the chartbook, in collaboration with the American Cancer Society.

    Public policy interventions are a critical strategy for substantially reducing, and ultimately eliminating, cancer disparities. ACS CAN will share this chartbook with state and federal policymakers to show the level of health inequities that continue to exist across the cancer continuum and to highlight public policies ACS CAN is advocating to address this problem.  

    The report is available online at Hard copies are available for order in the RR Donelley catalog (listed as item number 872000) -- on Society Mart.

    A quick overview

    Research shows that racial/ethnic minorities and other medically underserved groups continue to have higher cancer rates and are less likely to be diagnosed early or receive optimal treatment compared to other groups. Individuals of lower socioeconomic status (SES) – income, education, occupation, etc. --  also suffer disproportionately from cancer and other disease burdens compared to individuals with higher SES, regardless of demographic factors such as race/ethnicity.

    The underlying causes of disparities in cancer care are complex and include interrelated social, economic, cultural, environmental, and health system factors. Geographic location (e.g. rural versus urban areas or northern states versus southern states) also contributes to disparities in cancer care.

    A few key facts

    • Among females, non-Hispanic Whites have the highest overall cancer incidence rates, but non-Hispanic Blacks have the highest cancer death rates. Importantly, while Hispanic and Asian/Pacific Islander women have among the lowest incidence and mortality rates overall, they have among the highest rates of certain infection-related cancers, e.g., liver and stomach cancers.
    • Among males, non-Hispanic Blacks have the highest cancer incidence and mortality rates overall, driven by high rates for the most common cancers (lung and bronchus, prostate, and colorectal). Similar to females, Hispanic, Asian/Pacific Islander, and American Indian/Alaska Native males generally have higher rates of cancers related to infections compared to non-Hispanic Whites.
    • Since the mid-1970s, cancer incidence and mortality rates for all cancer types combined have been highest among Black males, although this disparity is narrowing in more recent years. Among females, although incidence rates are slightly higher in Whites, death rates remain highest in Blacks due to disparities in cancer survival. The excess risk of cancer death (or percentage by which cancer death rates in one group exceed another) in Blacks versus Whites dropped from 47 percent in 1990 to 19 percent in 2015 among males and from 21 percent in 1997 to 12 percent in 2015 among females.
    • Reasons for differences in the incidence of childhood and adolescent cancers by race/ethnicity in the U.S. are not well understood. The cancer death rate is similar between non-Hispanic White, non-Hispanic Black, and Hispanic children, despite higher incidence rates in Whites. This is likely due to lower survival rates among Black and Hispanics compared to Whites.

    TOP PHOTO: This graph illustrates obesity percentage among children and adolescents aged 2 to 19 years, 2015 to 2016. Overall, prevalence of obesity among youths age two to 19 years was highest among Hispanics (25.8%) and non-Hispanic Blacks (NHB) (22%) compared to 14.1 percent among non-Hispanic Whites and 11% among non-Hispanic Asians. Prevalence of obesity in Hispanics and NHB is about twice that of non-Hispanic Asians.

  • Seeking volunteers and staff for a new health equity workgroup

    To make further progress in the fight against cancer, ACS is strengthening its commitment and action toward addressing cancer disparities and achieving health equity. We continue our path forward within the Healthy Communities mission platform to support the opportunity for everyone to lead healthier lives, including preventing, treating and surviving cancer. 

    As part of the ACS's partnership with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, we are looking for volunteers and staff to join the National Health Equity Workgroup. This workgroup will support a goal of developing volunteer engagement strategies that will build awareness, education, and action. 

    For more detailed information about the workgroup, please read the overview document available on My Society Source. The deadline to apply is November 30 and you can submit your application by filling out the form online

    If there are any questions, please contact

  • Five ways to reduce your breast cancer risk

    ​Here are five ways to help protect your breast health:

    1. Watch your weight. Being overweight or obese increases breast cancer risk. This is especially true after menopause and for women who gain weight as adults. After menopause, most of your estrogen comes from fat tissue. Having more fat tissue can increase your chance of getting breast cancer by raising estrogen levels. Also, women who are overweight tend to have higher levels of insulin, another hormone linked to some cancers, including breast cancer. Having extra fat in the waist area may raise risk more than having extra fat in the hips and thighs.There’s some evidence that losing weight may lower breast cancer risk. Losing even a small amount of weight – for example, half a pound a week – can also have other health benefits and is a good place to start.
    2. Exercise regularly. Many studies have found that exercise is a breast-healthy habit. The American Cancer Society recommends getting at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity each week. (Or a combination of both.) Moderate-intensity activities are at the level of a brisk walk that makes you breathe hard. And don’t cram it all into a single workout – spread it out over the week.
    3. Limit time spent sitting. Evidence is growing that sitting time increases the likelihood of developing cancer, especially for women. In an American Cancer Society study, women who spent 6 hours or more each a day sitting when not working had a 10% greater risk for invasive breast cancer compared with women who sat less than 3 hours a day, and an increased risk for other cancer types as well.
    4. Limit alcohol. Research has shown that women who have 2 to 3 alcohol drinks a day have about a 20% higher risk compared to women who don’t drink at all. Women who have 1 drink a day have a very small increase in risk. Excessive drinking increases the risk of other cancer types, too. The American Cancer Society recommends women have no more than 1 alcohol drink in a single day. A drink is 12 ounces of regular beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of hard liquor.
    5. Avoid or limit hormone replacement therapy. Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) was used more often in the past to help control night sweats, hot flashes, and other symptoms of menopause. But researchers now know that postmenopausal women who take a combination of estrogen and progestin may be more likely to develop breast cancer. Breast cancer risk appears to return to normal within 5 years after stopping the combination of hormones. Talk with your doctor about all the options to control your menopause symptoms, and the risks and benefits of each. If you do decide to try HRT, it is best to use it at the lowest dose that works for you and for as short a time as possible. 

    To learn more about breast cancer, visit

  • Senate rejects resolution to halt short-term insurance changes and preserve patient protections

    On Oct. 10, the U.S. Senate rejected a resolution under the Congressional Review Act that would have prevented the extension and expansion of short-term limited duration health insurance plans (STLD) as allowed under a new rule from the Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS), Labor and Treasury. 

    The rule allows insurers to issue – for up to 36 months – so-called short-term health insurance plans. Insurers can deny or charge people more for these plans based on their health status, are not required to cover essential health services, like prescription drugs, and can charge older people more than three times what they charge a younger person for the same coverage. Previously these policies were intended as “bridge” coverage to provide temporary insurance for no more than three months. 

    Although the resolution failed to pass the Senate, a lawsuit has also been filed in U.S. District court to stop the rule. The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN), along with several other patient advocacy organizations, has filed an amicus brief in support of the court challenge.

    A statement from Chris Hansen, ACS CAN president, follows:

    “Today the Senate missed an opportunity to protect health care coverage for cancer patients, survivors, and all those with serious medical conditions.

    “The final short-term health plan rule could divide the insurance market and weaken critical patient protections. By attracting younger, healthier individuals to these bare bones plans, the rule will likely upend risk pools that keep costs down for older and sicker individuals. By splitting the market, people who need comprehensive health insurance will likely find it far more expensive and potentially out of reach.

    “These short-term plans can set limits on how much they’ll pay for certain services or refuse to cover some services —like innovative cancer treatments or prescription drugs—altogether. Insurers can charge people more for coverage based on their pre-existing conditions or deny them coverage outright.

    “While these plans will likely have lower monthly premiums they will also leave enrollees with potentially inadequate health coverage if they are diagnosed with an unexpected illness like cancer and could lead to astronomical out-of-pocket costs to pay for care that is not covered.

    “Earlier this week, several patient groups signed on in support of a lawsuit to stop this rule, which effectively allows STLD plans to serve as replacements for comprehensive coverage in violation of current law.

    “Although Senators failed to keep their promise to protect people with pre-existing conditions today, we are hopeful the court will issue an injunction and uphold current limits on these inadequate plans.”

  • Second article in our Blueprint for Cancer Control says tobacco control must be the highest priority in cancer control

    More than half of the 26 percent decline in cancer mortality rates in the U.S. since 1991 is due to reductions in tobacco smoking.

    On Oct. 10, the Society published our second in a series of articles in CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians that collectively will outline our vision for cancer control for the U.S. through 2035. Titled A Blueprint for the Primary Prevention of Cancer: Targeting Established, Modifiable Risk Factors, this second article in the series focuses on existing evidence about established, modifiable risk factors for cancer, the cancer burden in the United States due to each risk factor, and established primary prevention recommendations and interventions to reduce exposure to each risk factor. 

    The report was led by Susan M. Gapstur, PhD, MPH, our SVP of Behavioral and Epidemiology Research (pictured here). 

    "A comprehensive cancer control plan designed to support the implementation of evidence-based interventions, including cancer prevention interventions like those we described has enormous potential to substantially reduce the number of individuals diagnosed with and dying from cancer," said Susan. "It is the responsibility of government and industry as well as the public health, medical, and scientific communities to work together to invest in and implement a comprehensive cancer control plan at the national level and support and expand ongoing initiatives at the state and local levels. If we fail to do so, we will slow progress in our national efforts to reduce the burden of cancer." 

    In specific, the report focuses on several important modifiable risk factors:

    • Tobacco: More than half of the 26 percent decline in cancer mortality rates in the U.S. since 1991 is due to reductions in tobacco smoking. Despite this progress, tobacco smoking (active and second-hand smoke) remains the most common cause of cancers diagnosed (19.4 percent) and cancer death (29.6 percent). Moreover, the annual direct health care costs of tobacco in the U.S. are estimated to be $170 billion, and tobacco use results in $156 billion in lost productivity. There is considerable evidence that tobacco control can prevent more cancer deaths than any other primary prevention strategy. The demographic profile of today's smoker has changed over the last half century. Today, tobacco use is more prevalent among persons with lower educational attainment; lower income; within vulnerable populations, such as individuals with mental illness or addiction to other substances; within the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) community; and within certain racial or ethnic groups. Enhanced efforts to reach groups that are more likely to smoke are needed to further reduce the prevalence of tobacco use. 

    • Obesity and overweight: In the U.S., approximately, 7.8 percent of cancer cases in 2014 were attributed to excess body fatness, second only to cigarette smoking. Its contribution was higher among women (10.9 percent of cases) than among men (4.8 percent of cases). Among women, 60.3 percent of uterine cancer and, among men and women combined, more than 30 percent of gallbladder, liver, and kidney/renal cancers as well as esophageal adenocarcinoma were attributed to excess body fatness. Despite clear evidence that excess body fatness contributes substantially to cancer risk, the full impact of the obesity epidemic on the cancer burden, including the long-term effect of obesity that begins in childhood, is yet to be completely understood. 

    • Alcohol: Alcohol is the third most-important major modifiable contributor to cancer, associated with 6.4 percent of cancers in women and 4.8 percent of cancers in men in 2014. However, for some cancers, the attributable fraction exceeds 10 percent; among men and women combined, an estimated 40.9 percent of oral cavity/pharynx cancers, 23.2 percent of larynx cancers, 21.6 percent of liver cancers, 21 percent of esophageal cancers, and 12.8 percent of colorectal cancers were attributed to alcohol consumption. Notably, among women, alcohol intake accounted for 16.4 percent of all cases, or 39,060 breast cancers in 2014. 

    • Diet: The combination of low calcium, fiber, and fruit and vegetable intake and high red and processed meat intake is estimated to cause 4.2 percent of cancers among men and women combined. However, there was considerable variation across specific dietary factors and types of cancer. For example, 5.4 percent of colorectal cancers are associated with high red meat consumption causes, 8.2 percent with high processed meat consumption, and 10.3 percent and 4.9 percent for low dietary fiber and calcium consumption, respectively. Low fruit and vegetable consumption was attributed to 17.6 percent and 17.4 percent of oral cavity/pharynx and larynx cancers, respectively. A lack of clear evidence about the role of early life dietary exposures as well as many other dietary hypotheses means the percentage of cancers attributable to diet may continue to rise beyond current estimates once more is known. 
    • Physical inactivity: It is estimated that 2.9 percent of all cancer cases in the U.S. in 2014 were attributable to low physical activity, with the contribution greater among women (4.4 percent) than among men (1.5 percent). The cancer with the highest percentage related to low physical activity was uterine cancer (26.7 percent), followed by colorectal cancer (6.3 percent among men and women combined). As additional cancer types are determined to be causally associated with low amounts of physical activity, the total number of cancer cases attributed to low physical activity will continue to rise. 

    For more information about this chapter and our Blueprint for Cancer Control in the 21st Century, please see the resource list, below. Subsequent Blueprint chapters will focus on screening, treatment, survivorship, and research and will be released in the coming months.

    Blueprint resources:

  • Kohl's donates more than $1M to help improvement health and wellness of Milwaukee-area families

    Grant funds new pilot programs to support healthcare service assistance and nutrition education

    Kohl’s announced on Oct. 2 its donation of more than $1 million to the American Cancer Society, over 1.5 years, to implement programming that improves the health and wellness of Milwaukee-area families through the Kohl’s Healthy Families program and continues Kohl’s ongoing support of the fight against cancer.

    The grant funds the launch of several new pilot programs aimed at increasing awareness and understanding of healthy food choices, and improving access to cancer screenings and treatment for those who face the greatest barriers to health care services.

    “Kohl’s is proud to continue our partnership with the American Cancer Society to increase the access individuals and families have to comprehensive programming and services that empower them to make informed decisions about their health,” said Jen Johnson, Kohl’s senior vice president of communications.

    “As a company committed to serving families, we applaud the work the American Cancer Society is doing to make a difference in our community every day by ensuring all families have access to the resources they need.”

    The grant will fund:

    • Cancer Screening Navigation – Through the pilot initiatives with Milwaukee-area health care clinics, individuals and families will receive assistance as they navigate the healthcare system to gain access to screenings, follow-up care and other important resources.
    • Building Healthy Communities – Nutrition-focused, evidence-based intervention pilot projects to increase access to and knowledge of healthy foods. The projects will bring nutrition education to communities through school, clinic, and faith-based settings.

    “A substantial number of cancer deaths could be prevented by making healthy choices like eating well and being active. With Kohl’s ongoing commitment to the Kohl’s Healthy Families program, we’re able to continue offering tips, tools, and other resources to help families in southeast Wisconsin live healthy and lower their risk of cancer,” said Laurie Bertrand, American Cancer Society’s executive director in Wisconsin.

    The donation will also continue Kohl’s annual support of the Community Health Workers Conference, during which healthcare professionals receive training on delivering cancer prevention and screening services in medically underserved communities. The grant will also support school wellness policies and practices within the Kohl’s Healthy Families program, Relay For Life events, and the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk in Milwaukee.

    Since 2001, Kohl's and Kohl’s Cares have committed more than $100 million to organizations in the Milwaukee area,including more than $11 million to the American Cancer Society.

    Kohl’s has more than 1,100 stores in 49 states. 

  • ​Nearly 14 million additional adolescents need to be vaccinated against HPV to reach public health goal

    Biggest burden is among males, whites, and privately insured

    Nearly 14 million additional adolescents (11-12 years of age) beyond those who will be vaccinated based on current rates will need to receive the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine between now and 2026 to reach our goal of an 80% vaccination rate by that year. The figure comes from a new report from ACS investigators looking to guide HPV cancer control efforts in the wake of recent goal-setting. The report appears early online in Cancer.

    HPV accounts for nearly all cervical cancers as well as 91% of anal cancers, 70% of oropharyngeal (throat) cancers, and 60% to 75% of other genital cancers (penile, vaginal, and vulvar cancers). A previous analysis by ACS investigators estimated that HPV caused about 30,000 cancers and about 6,500 cancer deaths in 2014. The majority (90%) of these cancers can be prevented through HPV vaccination. However, the uptake of the HPV vaccine is suboptimal and lags behind other recommended vaccines for this age group.

    Healthy People 2020 sets a target of 80% of vaccine-eligible adolescents up to date with HPV vaccination by age 15, while the American Cancer Society set a goal that by 2026, 80% of adolescents will be up to date before their 13th birthday.

    Investigators led by Stacey Fedewa, PhD, set out to determine the number of additional pre-teens aged 11 to 12 years who need to be vaccinated for the ACS goal to be reached, as well as to describe the characteristics of those who have not initiated or completed vaccination, to help to inform programs aimed at increasing vaccination uptake.

    In 2016, 35.5% of females and 31.5% of males were up to date with the HPV vaccine by their 13th birthday. To reach 80% by 2026, an additional 14.39 million pre-teens (6.77 million females and 7.62 million males) would need to receive two doses of the vaccine to reach 80% compliance. A total of 57.62 million doses would need to be administered, with 18.27 million of those doses representing the additional number needed beyond current vaccination levels for 80% to be achieved.

    The authors say a disproportionate percentage of males, whites, and privately insured adolescents are not up to date with HPV vaccination. Among those, the large majority had received a wellness checkup between the ages of 11 and 12 years (>90%); most lived in households above the poverty level (80.4%), and had mothers with more than 12 years of education. The largest proportion of adolescents who had not initiated HPV vaccine had private insurance (56.5%). Less than 5% were uninsured.

    In the U.S., there are several federal and state-based initiatives aimed at improving vaccination rates. The federally funded Vaccines for Children program provides free vaccines for low-income children, and this program likely contributes to the counterintuitive finding that vaccination rates were higher in Medicaid-insured adolescents versus privately insured adolescents.

    "In our study, more than 90% of adolescents who had not initiated HPV vaccination by their 13th birthday had an 11- to 12-year-old wellness visit," Dr. Fedewa said. "So, most adolescents presumably had an opportunity to be vaccinated during this timeframe. Why it's not happening is a critical question. While we could not determine whether a provider recommended the vaccine during these visits, previous studies show that only about half of parents reported that they had ever received a recommendation to vaccinate their child against HPV."

    Providers cite several barriers to recommending HPV vaccination, including incomplete knowledge of the vaccine's benefits, parental hesitancy, and anticipated parental refusal or deferment. These barriers may be particularly prominent among our study population as some providers may anticipate greater parental refusal and discomfort discussing a sexually transmitted infection in younger patients. However, for the vaccine to be most effective, vaccination should be completed at the recommended age of 11-12 years.

    The authors conclude that reaching the 80% goal "has the potential to prevent deaths from several cancers. Broad implementation of the vaccine through innovative strategies for improving physician recommendations, parental acceptance, and access to care is necessary to achieve this goal."

  • ACS CAN Monthly Advocacy Update

    Nearly 700 dedicated ACS CAN volunteers and staff from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, and Puerto Rico representing 397 Congressional districts gathered in Washington, D.C. Sept. 23-26 for the 12th annual ACS CAN Leadership Summit and Lobby Day. 

    Over the course of four days, the staff and volunteer leadership of ACS CAN's national grassroots structure, including the State Lead Ambassadors (SLA) and Ambassador Constituent Team (ACT!) Leads, along with their staff partners, received skills and issues training, attended grassroots workshops and delivered our priority legislative asks along with their personal cancer experiences to their federal lawmakers.

    Advocacy Training

    In addition to planning and executing a diverse series of events, ACS CAN's Advocacy Training team coordinated with national and field staff subject matter experts for an impressive selection of training which featured sessions such as:

    • "Advocating for Balanced Pain Policies Amidst the Opioid Epidemic"
    • "Expanding Your Influence: A Volunteer's Guide to Branching Out Beyond Friends and Family"
    • "Big Changes in Social Media Mean Big Opportunities for Volunteers"
    • "Opening Doors Through Community Engagement: How Can We Stand Out in an Age of Activism?"

    CAN Opener Enhances Fun and Funding

    On Monday evening, after a full day of advocacy training, advocates gathered for the annual CAN Opener, a fundraising dinner that provides volunteers and staff the chance to celebrate the numerous milestones cancer patients and survivors have reached because of grassroots advocacy. The event raised $54,000 through both individual support and corporate sponsorship.

    Advocacy Honors Presented 

    During the meeting, ACS CAN presented the annual National Distinguished Advocacy Award (NDAA) to Representative Nita Lowey (D, NY-17) for being a champion for increased federal funding of cancer research. An NDAA was also presented to Rep. Michael McCaul (R, TX-10) to acknowledge his longtime support of our mission and for cosponsoring PCHETA and the Removing Barriers to Colorectal Screening Act. ACS CAN also honored two Virginians, Gov. Ralph Northam and State Senator Emmett Hanger, for their leadership in passing legislation to expand Medicaid in the commonwealth.

    The following volunteers and staff also received special recognition awards.

    • Volunteer Award for Excellence in Advocacy – Maureen Mann, Board Member
    • State Lead Ambassador of the Year – Jacqueline Beale, Maryland
    • Ambassador Constituent Team Lead of the Year – CJ Heisler, Michigan
    • Ambassador Constituent Team Lead of the Year – Lorna Hill, Ohio
    • Ambassador Constituent Team Lead of the Year – Ashley Watts, Oklahoma
    • Emerging Leader Award – Emily Fain, Georgia
    • State Advocacy Team of the Year Award – Oklahoma volunteers & staff
    • ACS Partner of the Year – Coleen McKinstry, Sr. Manager, Community Development 
    • Alan Mills Award – Cathy Callaway, Director, State & Local Campaigns
    • National Professional of the Year – Brian Rubenstein, Sr. Director, Online and Digital Strategy
    • Field Grassroots Professional of the Year – Alyss Patel, Grassroots Manager, Arizona
    • Government Relations Professional of the Year – Heather Youmans, Sr. Director, Florida

    We also presented our annual award for outstanding service to a volunteer attorney as part of our Judicial Advocacy Initiative (JAI) program. Celebrating its tenth year, the JAI recruits lawyers to donate their services and legal expertise in mission-critical areas.

    This year's JAI award was presented to an attorney for work to help address the alarming surge in of e-cigarettes use by children and high school students. Kelly Dunbar of the law firm of WilmerHale, is our counsel in a lawsuit ACS CAN filed against the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), in partnership with other public health groups. The lawsuit's purpose is to compel the FDA to do its job and reinstate regulations on these harmful products targeted at America's youth.

    NCI Director Details Priorities for Cancer Research

    Dr. Ned Sharpless, director of the National Cancer Institute (NCI), shared with advocates his perspective on the importance of federal funding for promising cancer research projects and the future of cancer research. As leader of the nation's premiere cancer research establishment, Dr. Sharpless emphasized NCI's four primary areas of focus – basic science, workforce development, big data and clinical trials. He acknowledged that these four areas are not new for NCI but explained why he believes each can be leveraged to help advance cancer prevention, detection, treatment and cures.

    Coaches Rally Advocates for Capitol Hill Meetings

    Lobby Day itself kicked off on Sept. 25 with a rally featuring five members of the Coaches vs. Cancer, nationwide collaboration between the American Cancer Society and the National Association of Basketball Coaches that empowers coaches, teams and communities to help save more lives from cancer. Coaches in attendance were, Coach Steve Donahue of the University of Pennsylvania, Coach John Gallagher of the University of Hartford, Coach Chris Holtmann of Ohio State University, Coach Jeff Jones of Old Dominion University and former Coach P.J. Carlesimo who is now a television and radio broadcaster.

    In their remarks, each coach accentuated the uniquely powerful influence cancer advocates possess and each shared their personal cancer stories and committed to joining us to advance the interests of all cancer patients, survivors, and their families.

    Following the send-off, ACS CAN advocates departed for Capitol Hill where they participated in 497 meetings (including all 100 Senate offices and 397 House offices). More than 158 meetings were conducted face-to-face with members of Congress. Advocates urged lawmakers to boost research funding and to close a loophole in Medicare that often results in surprise costs for seniors when a polyp is found during a routine screening colonoscopy. They also pressed their senators to follow the House by passing the Palliative Care and Hospice Education and Training Act (PCHETA).

    Members and staff enthusiastically received the advocates. Champions and cosponsors of PCHETA willingly agreed to go the extra mile to ask leadership on the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee to consider PCHETA before the end of the year.

    HOPE Shines Light on Lives Touched by Cancer 

    After a full day of meetings on Capitol Hill, volunteers and staff gathered at the Lincoln Memorial where more than 33,000 Lights of HOPE – the most in the event's eight history – illuminated the reflecting pool to honor cancer survivors and caregivers and in memory of loved ones lost to the disease.

    Dedicated volunteers and staff collected more than $330,000 toward Lights of HOPE – surpassing last year's total by more than $97,000. An additional $150,000 gift was made by the Celgene Corporation, the event's corporate sponsor.

    Celgene's Chief Executive Officer, Mark Alles, shared a story about the promise of research and innovation. A cancer survivor named Cherie, after 15 courses of therapy, was losing her battle with multiple myeloma. She bravely fought through incredible odds to gain access to a clinical trial where a new medicine was being studied. Today, approximately six months after this new treatment, Cherie's cancer is in complete remission and she is living a healthy and rewarding life.

    Attendees also heard the moving personal story of Maryland volunteer and State Lead Ambassador of the Year, Jacqueline Beale, who credited her status as a two-time breast cancer survivor to advances in early detection – in her case, 3D mammography. 

    Rep. Ron Young of Ohio attended the celebration as did Rep. Donald Payne of NJ, who addressed the attendees and assumed them that their voices are heard.

    Social Media Coverage  

    On the social media front, to date, volunteers and advocates have shared ACS CAN's hashtag #CancerLobbyDay over 3,200 times on Twitter and Instagram. This activity has generated nearly 10 million impressions. The hashtag #LightsofHope has been shared nearly 600 times with an additional 1.6 million impressions generated.

    Impressions are the number of times associated content is displayed on social media. These totals, which do not include Facebook posts, will continue to rise for a period of time after Lobby Day.

    ACS CAN Unveils New Website Address

    On Monday morning, ACS CAN announced its new website address – – with a short video that illustrates the reason we made the change. For quite some time, our former website address – – was a challenge for many of our stakeholders to pronounce and nearly impossible for the public to commit to memory. In short, the old address undermined our ability to draw visitors to our website. Additionally, the acronym – while brief – did nothing to convey ACS CAN's important legislative and public policy work. 

    The new website address is not only easier to pronounce and remember, it also more accurately captures the spirit of ACS CAN's advocacy work. We have long desired to move to this address, but it only became available recently. While our website address has changed, our actual website design and the content will remain the same.

    Lobby Day Events Draw Media Coverage 

    Media coverage for 2018 Leadership Summit and Lobby Day has been pouring in from across the country. Dozens of local media outlets are reporting on hometown advocates that took their fight against cancer to the nation's capital.

    On the Tuesday morning of Lobby Day, volunteers participated in a radio and TV media tour focused on targeted members of Congress. The 30 interviews that took place as part of the tour resulted in 60 airings with the potential to reach more than 1.3 million listeners in key media markets. We also had two TV crews follow volunteers up to the Hill as part of the tour. Highlights of the tour included stories on Univision,WTNH-TV in Connecticut, and  WNDU-TV in Indiana. Coach Chris Holtmann of Ohio State University was also interviewed by Ohio News Network about his participation in Lobby Day on Capitol Hill.In addition to the media tour, regional media advocacy staff have been successfully securing coverage in local outlets across the country including the Garden Island in Hawaii, WIBW radio in Kansas and the Big Horn Radio Network in Wyoming.

    As advocates return home, we expect to see many more letters to the editor and post-event articles appearing in their local media outlets, reporting back on their successful visit to Capitol Hill.

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