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Volunteer Engagement

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Thank you, volunteers! Thanks to your support, we can do great things

Volunteers always have been and always will be the heart of the American Cancer Society.

Because of dedication and time commitment of our passionate army of volunteers, we are able to help patients get the treatment they need and be there for families when they need us most.

The pandemic posed serious impediments to our fundraising this past year, but our amazing volunteers went virtual with creative online fundraisers. You awed us! And, we can't wait to resume our in-person events once it's safe to do so.

So this week, National Volunteer Week and really, every single day, we take stock of how lucky we are to have volunteers as passionate about our mission to save lives from cancer as you are.

We simply could not do all we do without you. Our volunteers come  in all ages, from kids to retirees, and they do so much - from steering our mission as members of our Board of Directors to planning Relay For Life events in their communities and on their college campuses to driving patients to treatment and serving dinners in our Hope Lodge around the country. That doesn't begin to scratch the surface of all they do.

Because of our volunteers, the American Cancer Society is a trusted source of information about cancer, and people turn to us 24/7, 365 days a year for information and guidance. Our live helpline is available to all at 1.800.ACS.2345.

And becauses of our volunteers, the American Cancer Society is able to fund research that could lead to the next big cancer breakthrough. Simply said, our volunteers help save lives, every day. What could be more meaningful?

So, today and every day, we say 'thank you' from all of us at the American Cancer Society and all the people we serve.  

  • Relay USA brings Relayers together virtually

    ​Join the fun on May 8 at 12 p.m. ET.

    Relay USA is an innovative way to be a part of a Relay For Life community, continue to celebrate people who have been touched by cancer, remember loved ones lost, and take action for lifesaving change - all online.

    This virtual Relay event will be hosted on Saturday, May 8, from 12 noon – 9 p.m. ET on Facebook, and all are welcome.

    Relay USA presents an opportunity for teams, individuals, and companies to join a virtual Relay, and earlier in the season team captains' meetings were held online. On April 17, a Survivor and Caregiver Zoom Brunch is scheduled at 11 a.m. ET. Hear uplifting messages, share experiences, and much more. More information and a registration link will be posted on soon.. 

    Here’s what to expect at Relay USA on May 8: 

    • 12 noon: Opening Ceremony
    • 2 p.m.: Survivor and Caregiver Ceremony
    • 4 p.m.: Fight Back Ceremony
    • 7 p.m.: Remembrance Ceremony

    For updates related to Relay USA and opportunities to engage and donate leading up to virtual event, follow the Relay USA Facebook page

    Another virtual Relay event is coming up on May 14-15

    This year all Relayers are invited to participate in National Relay Weekend. On May 14-15, Relayers from around the country will be participating in a series of activities which will bond the Relay family in an all-new experience. You can find out more at Look for more information on our internal news channels soon!

  • ACS seeks young professionals who share our mission

    As the American Cancer Society continues to lead the fight for a world without cancer, we are exploring ways to enhance our engagement with young professionals (age 22-35).

    We are searching for young professionals who are interested in helping us attack cancer from every angle by leveraging their valuable knowledge and skill sets. We think they can help take the American Cancer Society to new heights.

    If you fit the demographic, please take this survey

    Your participation will help us understand how best to engage young professionals in the fight against cancer. The survey will take approximately 10 minutes to complete and will be available until April 30. Click here to complete the survey

    If you are not a young professional, but know one who would be interested, please share this opportunity with them. 

    Help us save lives, celebrate lives, and lead the fight for a world without cancer.

  • Congrats to our 2020 Volunteer Leadership Award recipient!

    Winner comes from our Southeast Region.

    The Volunteer Leadership Award selection workgroup has carefully chosen the winner of our 2020 Volunteer Leadership Award. This award recognizes an outstanding volunteer who has provided long and distinguished service to the Society at the enterprise-wide level. 

    Our 2020 Volunteer Leadership Award goes to Bruce Waldholtz, MD, an exceptional individual and community, regional, and national volunteer leader whose commitment to our mission continued even during the pandemic. He is pictured above, on the right, with Chris Green, VP, Marketing & Communications, Southeast Region. 

    Dr. Waldholtz will be presented with this award locally and during the first session of this year’s virtual Volunteer Impact Series. (During this series of three sessions, on April 20, May 11, and June 15, ACS leadership volunteers will hear updates from ACS leaders, celebrate national award winners, participate in a "Day of Understanding;" and much more.)

    Dr. Waldholtz  currently serves on the ACS CAN Board of Directors and the Virginia State Area Board, and is involved as a community volunteer in the Hampton Roads market. 

    As a volunteer, Dr. Waldholtz has held several leadership positions at various levels of our organization throughout his 15-year involvement, including past chair of the former South Atlantic Division. He has greatly impacted both our mission and revenue development in all of his roles. 

    As a medical doctor of gastroenterology, Dr. Waldholtz has a passion for our work in colorectal cancer. He helped launch Colorectal Roundtable discussions at a national and statewide level. He also serves as a region-wide subject matter expert and spokesperson on all our screening guidelines. He also is well versed in access to care issues and continuously seeks ways to engage community discussions to break down barriers. 

    Dr. Waldholtz has spoken to dozens of African American churches and to national pastors’ conventions on ACS's behalf. He was a key leader in efforts to reach African American men to promote early detection, and helped organize an event attended by more than 600 African American men.

    Additionally, Dr. Waldholtz has been involved in CPS-III recruitment, addressing poor colorectal screening rates in Hampton Roads, VA, and facilitating the Virginia State Research Breakfast on behalf of ACS CAN. 

    Dr. Waldholtz is a passionate visionary, consistently seeking new ways to support the future of the American Cancer Society and ACS CAN. 

  • Congrats to our top 10 golf and 25 gala events of 2020!

    These events raised more than $21 million during a pandemic!

    Obviously, the COVID-19 pandemic changed so much about how we fight for a future free from cancer. It prompted all of us to innovate and find new ways to not only serve patients, but also safely connect with our communities and fundraise. 

    Despite these changes and challenges, the passion to end cancer remained stronger than ever for our volunteers and staff leading these top golf and gala events. 

    The Top 10 Golf Events and Top 25 Gala Events raised a whopping $21 million for our mission. Thank you to our Distinguished Events and Golf staff for a very successful 2020 season! 👏🏼👏🏿👏

    2020 Top 10 Golf Events Nationwide 

    1.Coaches vs Cancer Las Vegas Golf Classic$1,159,157
    2.Babes Against Cancer New York   $828,230
    3.Chicago Select Golf Invitational     $807,453
    4.Greater Cincinnati Golf Classic      $447,719
    5.Atlanta Select Golf Invitational   $335,179
    6.San Diego Invitational   $292,399
    7Coaches vs Cancer Golf Classic (South Bend)   $253,456
    8.Allan Shedlin Memorial Golf New York Classic   $222,479
    9.The Ribbon Classic, Gwinnett GA   $204,707
    10.Greater Cleveland Golf Classic      $191,262

    2020 Top 25 Gala Events Nationwide 

    1.Chicago Discovery Ball   $1,859,154
    2.Dallas Cattle Baron's Ball$1,587,819
    3.San Francisco Discovery Gala$1,421,438
    4.Naples Bucket List Bash $1,049,441
    5.St. Louis Champions of Hope Gala$1,002,910
    6.Philadelphia CEO's Against Cancer   $739,715
    7.Virginia Cattle Baron's Ball             $613,578
    8.Best Dressed Ball Baton Rouge   $579,246
    9.Puerto Rico Grand Gala   $572,782
    10.Houston Cattle Baron's Ball   $539,047
    11.San Antonio Cattle Baron's Ball     $511,879
    12.Magic of Hope Los Angeles   $507,815
    13.Atlanta Hope Ball   $486,521
    14.New York Financial Services Cares Gala     $480,227
    15.Coaches vs Cancer Wisconsin Gala   $475,570
    16.Northern Colorado Cattle Baron's Ball       $463,892
    17.Taste of Hope Chicago      $463,455
    18.Corpus Christi Cattle Baron's Ball   $438,729
    19.Boston Key Gala                 $418,641
    20.Orlando Cattle Baron's Ball   $390,962
    21.New Jersey Night of Wine and Roses   $381,948
    22.Anchorage Wine and Food Fest   $374,695
    23.Indianapolis Discovery Ball   $366,417
    24.Tampa Cattle Baron's Ball   $358,205
    25.Hope Bowl South Florida   $347,941


  • Coaches vs. Cancer kicks off March Madness activations

    Slate of activities planned throughout March Madness and Final Four.

    The NCAA Men’s College Basketball tournament is underway, and once again, Coaches vs. Cancer is stepping up to support the American Cancer Society during the tournament.  

    There are a number of activations happening throughout March Madness and into the Final Four. Here’s a look at what’s going on: 

    • Sneakercam on social media. Throughout the tournament in various locations in Indiana, a Coaches vs. Cancer and American Cancer Society-branded “sneakercam” will cruise around gathering video footage that will be shared on social media by participating teams and coaches and by @CoachesvsCancer on Twitter. The sneaker is remote-controlled and will offer fans a shoe-level, behind-the-scenes look at the tournament. Keep an eye on your favorite Coaches vs. Cancer and university social accounts to see if you spot the sneakercam, and be sure to share @CoachesvsCancer content with your local/regional Twitter followers. Note: the sneakercam is pictured above on the right.
    • Coaches vs. Cancer sneaker sweepstakes. A handful of coaches will be wearing custom Coaches vs. Cancer-inspired sneakers during the tournament, autographing them, and giving fans the chance to win the shoes, all to benefit ACS. The sweepstakes runs now through April. Participating coaches include Kelvin Sampson (University of Houston), Lon Kruger (University of Oklahoma), Brad Underwood (University of Illinois), Fran McCaffrey (University of Iowa), and Greg McDermott (Creighton University). Fans can enter at Note: some of these pictures are featured above. 
    • Best sneaker bracket. Coaches vs. Cancer is hosting a tournament-themed bracket to pick the coach with the best kicks, all to raise awareness about ACS and CVC. Join in the fun by engaging with @CoachesvsCancer on Twitter
    • Coaches vs. Cancer Wives and Friends Virtual Brunch. The coaches’ partners are once again supporting the American Cancer Society. The event will take place on Saturday, April 3, from 12-1 p.m. ET, and will feature Tawana Thomas-Johnson, our vice president of Diversity and Inclusion. She will talk about our diversity, equity, and inclusion work and partnerships.

    For more information about Coaches vs. Cancer, visit For questions about these tournament promotions, email Anne Gmerek at  

    Here's the remaining March Madness schedule:

    Sweet 16 — 2 p.m. ET coverage start on Saturday, March 27, and 1 p.m. start on Sunday, March 28

    Elite Eight — 7 p.m. ET coverage start on Monday, March 29, and 6 p.m. start on Tuesday, March 30

    Final Four — 5 p.m. ET start on Saturday, April 3

    NCAA championship game — 9 p.m. Monday, April 5

  • New Raise Your Way platform coming in 2021

    Seeking fundraisers to participate in a new platform pilot.

    Raise Your Way is the American Cancer Society’s do-it-yourself fundraising program that lets you turn any activity into a fundraiser and take action for lifesaving change in the fight against cancer. Anyone can create, share, and manage a personalized fundraiser entirely on their own – quickly and easily. 

    Raise Your Way will be shifting away from GoFundMe Charity (GFMC) as GoFundMe sunsets their charity fundraising platform in 2021. The new and improved Raise Your Way platform will offer even more functionality and flexibility, allowing you to create and manage fundraisers – and have fun doing it!

    The GFMC platform will continue to operate until December 31, 2021, by which time all Raise Your Way activity will be hosted on our new platform. Note that GoFundMe Charity campaigns will not be transferred to

    Key dates

    • March 31, 2021: GoFundMe Charity API will be sunsetted.
    • June 30, 2021: Last day to start a new campaign through the GoFundMe Charity hosted platform.
    • September 30, 2021: Last day GoFundMe Charity-hosted Raise Your Way campaigns/donate buttons can accept online donations, and last day for recurring donations to process.
    • December 31, 2021: Last day GoFundMe Charity data is accessible via the GFMC Report Center.

    We are currently exploring several providers with deep industry experience and exciting offerings to build a new Raise Your Way program. More information will be shared on our Society news channels once available. 

    Additionally, we will begin piloting key fundraising events on the new platform in the second quarter of 2021. If you have a Q2/Q3 2021 fundraiser that you would like to offer up to participate in the pilot program, please reach out to Elaine Tully, digital product manager.

    If you have any questions, review the Raise Your Way Messaging & FAQ document

  • Seven volunteer staff teams honored for their successful partnerships

    The Volunteer Staff Partnership Award selection workgroup is pleased to announce the winners of the 2020 Volunteer Staff Partnership Award. The winners will be recognized locally and during the virtual Volunteer Impact Series later this spring.

    These partnerships demonstrate volunteers and staff successfully impacting our mission by increasing community engagement, growing revenue, impacting mission outcomes, enhancing stewardship, and creating new opportunities despite the challenges we all experienced in 2020. Each team member plays a different but important role to their project's success!

    Let's meet our outstanding award winners and congratulate them on a job well done!

    North Central

    • Volunteer: Adam Schlesinger, president, Chicago Associate Board of Ambassadors
    • Staff: Chris Way, senior development manager

    Together Adam and Chris have worked tirelessly to build a strong group of young up and coming leaders in the Chicago community who are focused on increasing engagement with each other, impacting our mission, and creating new and innovative ways to keep members engaged and continue to raise funds in a global pandemic. In 2020, they exceeded their pre-COVID goal of $247,000 by getting creative with virtual ways members could raise funds and ended up raising more than $321,000. This team also attended many of the Illinois Area Board meetings to ensure the young professional group was well represented in the broader market strategy. Their work has positioned the Chicago Associate Board of Ambassadors as the pinnacle of how a young professional group can grow and impact our organization.


    • Volunteer: Alice Lin Pomponio, ACS CAN Research Breakfast
    • Staff: Shalini Vallabhan, managing director, government relations

    The strength of Alice and Shalini's partnership became even more evident during the difficult year caused by the pandemic. They originally planned to leverage the success of the 2019 record-breaking Research Breakfast by moving the event to a larger venue and engaging even larger audiences and sponsors. Under the circumstances, Alice and Shalini pivoted to a virtual event held in October. The Reigniting Research event was able to raise an incredible $328,000 out of $400,000 goal with approximately 400 people tuning in. Contributing to the success of the event were the strong sponsor relationships that had been established the previous year, the integrated marketing and communications plan that was used to promote the event, and the incredible speakers that they were able to secure.


    • Volunteer: Jeff Mader, ACS volunteer, donor
    • Staff: Twin Cities Market Team

    The unique nature of Jeff's partnership with the Twin Cities Market Team shows how a one-time event participant has grown to work with almost every staff team member and volunteer leadership committee within the Twin Cities. Through listening, opening doors, thinking innovatively to finding a path to "yes" the partnership has brought dozens of new volunteers, donors, and sponsors to ACS. This team has also inspired major philanthropic donors to contribute significantly and created opportunities to connect individuals, friends, and companies to the Society in a meaningful way. Alongside the Twin Cities Market Team, Jeff's passion for building community and making an impact through fun and collaboration creates opportunities to think outside of the traditional box of fundraising tools.


    • Volunteer: Mike Moore, chair, Hope Ball Gala
    • Staff: Celeste Pendarvis, senior development manager II

    Mike accepted the responsibility as chair for the Hope Ball Gala around the same time Celeste took on the staff partner role for this event. By 2019, Hope Ball grew to nearly $1.1M in gross revenue because of the commitment of this team. When Covid-19 initially hit, Hope Ball 2020 was just beginning its sponsorship asks – it was a challenging and unfamiliar situation. Celeste's guidance and support gave Mike the confidence to become one of the most active and outstanding volunteer leaders for the Southeast Region. Mike utilized his role with Delta to secure significant live auction packages, talent, and major influential honorees. Through their joint efforts, ACS has applied for and received a $1M grant from Emory and $75K gift from the Blank Foundation, along with a total Delta contribution of $145K annually (through 2020).


    • Volunteer: Navkiran Shokar, MD, MA, MPH, colorectal cancer screening
    • Staff: Martha Zepeda, cancer control strategic partnerships manager

    Dr. Shokar and Martha have been working together since the first Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) grant was awarded for colorectal screening in 2011. With the help of their work, the 80% by 2018 initiative was implemented communitywide and a strategic plan was developed to help hospitals, Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs), and primary care physicians increase screening in their community. Additionally, Dr. Shokar has implemented the Promotoras-bilingual community health care workers to connect with at-risk individuals. She utilizes ACS materials to educate over 160 community organizations in El Paso and surrounding counties to help make screening more accessible for breast, cervical, and HPV. Her priority is to include interventions in cancer prevention and control, shared decision making, and community-based research to address cancer health disparities and increase screening rates.  


    • Volunteer: Jeff McGreevy, Real Men Wear Pink
    • Staff: Christine Trunick, senior development manager

    Jeff and Christine worked together to recruit fellow Real Men Wear Pink candidates including police and fire departments in their community. As an officer himself, Jeff leaned on those in his community to drive awareness and support for our mission. Of course, there was a friendly competition between the different departments to help candidates raise the minimum of $2,500. The candidates were recognized through social media and the local radio station KHAY. With the help of Christine, Jeff raised more than $28,000! Jeff and Christine's partnership works so well because they always lead with our mission in mind. Their commitment to the mission led them to share breast cancer information with their community alongside their fundraising efforts.

    Global Headquarters

    • Volunteer: Bryan Sherwood, Relay For Life
    • Staff: Lindsey Pew, strategic director, RFL & Community Fundraising and Sarah Hsi, senior vice president, Information Technology

    Bryan and Lindsey worked together to replace an external vendor for Relay Connect. For a longtime, this has been a great resource for Relayers to find tools, resources, training, and community. With the financial impact of COVID-19, finding a more cost-effective platform for Relay Connect was needed. Sarah worked alongside Bryan and Lindsey, to identify an ACS supported platform that could meet the critical needs of Relay Connect with virtually little to no cost. Bryan stepped up as a volunteer to carry the weight of coding the website. With Bryan's help, the team was able to switch over to the new platform in late 2020 and go into 2021 without the extra expense of an external vendor. Bryan not only helped save the Society tens of thousands of dollars annually, but also increased the quality of the product offered to Relayers.

    If you have any questions about the Volunteer Staff Partnership Award, please Michelle Brady, volunteer engagement manager. 

  • Meet our 2020 St. George National Award winners

    The American Cancer Society is pleased to announce the winners of the 2020 St. George National Award. These winners will be recognized locally and at this year's virtual Volunteer Impact Series.

    This award recognizes outstanding volunteers who have demonstrated ongoing leadership in community, mission delivery, and/or business/field operations and have significantly contributed to furthering the Society's strategic goals and mission-driven programs. These award winners consistently represented the Society in a manner that advanced our mission and expanded our community presence. Even in the middle of a global pandemic, these volunteers continuously exhibited a commitment to the Society through a willingness to serve.

    Since conceived in 1949 by Charles S. Cameron, MD, former Society medical and scientific director, the St. George National Award has been presented annually to ACS volunteers across the country.  

    The 2020 St. George National Award winners are exceptional volunteers from across the nation recognized for their commitment to our mission during an incredibly difficult year. These individuals were nominated by their Regions for their dedication, passion, innovation, and so much more. Learn more about each of these award winners through these short bios.

    The 2020 St. George National Award winners are: 

    North Region

    • Linda DeGarmo (Wisconsin)
    • Jim Kavanaugh (Missouri)

    Northeast Region

    • David Kaufman (New York)
    • Kenneth M. Raymond (New York)

    North Central Region

    • Jeanette Altenau (Ohio)
    • John Bearden (Tennessee)

    South Region

    • Mark Doescher, MD, MSPH (Oklahoma)
    • Jaime Wesolowski (Texas)

    Southeast Region

    • Cynthia Farrah (Florida)
    • Nan Jenkins (Georgia)

    West Region

    • Tom Flookes (Washington)
    • Carolyn Rhee (California)

    Please contact Michelle Brady, volunteer engagement manager, if you have any questions.

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