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Relay Rewards continues for the 2020 event season

​Relay participants encouraged to start earning Relay Rewards today!

Once again, Relay For Life participants have the opportunity to earn Relay Rewards - points for fundraising and for taking specific actions that lead to more fundraising and engagement with the American Cancer Society.

The Relay Rewards incentive program allows our Relay participants to earn branded merchandise that recognizes their hard work and commitment to the Relay For Life movement.

The point system is mostly driven by individual fundraising. Volunteers earn one point for every dollar raised that is credited to their personal fundraising page on their event website. Volunteers can also earn up to 50 additional points by taking specific actions.

Once a volunteer has reached 250 points, the lowest point total needed to redeem for Relay Rewards, they will receive an email letting them know of their achievement and how to log on to to check their point balance, browse, redeem, and earn more points.

This Relay Rewards program has many benefits to the organization and Relay For Life volunteers, including:

  • Building affinity and loyalty to our organization and Relay For Life
  • Motivating volunteers to raise more funds by not only incentivizing them to reach the next level of the program, but also to reach goals within each level of the program
  • Rewarding volunteers for their fundraising success and taking actions that help to increase fundraising
  • Giving volunteers the flexibility to spend their points however they wish, whether it's on one item or multiple items
  • Allowing volunteers to rollover any leftover points if they register for the next year’s event by the end of the calendar year (Jan – Aug events). Fall event participants (Sept. – Dec.) have until April 1 to register for the next year’s event.

For more information, please reference visit

  • Relay For Life registration challenge begins Jan. 17!

    Challenge runs until 11:59 p.m. Central time on Jan. 27

    Let’s face it, the more friends and family you bring together for Relay For Life, the bigger impact the American Cancer Society has in the fight against cancer. More rides to treatment. More free nights of lodging for patients and caregivers. More breakthrough research. More hope for people you care about.

    Here’s how this challenge works: 

    • Invite friends and family to register for an event from Friday, January 17, to Monday, January 27.
    • The event you or your friends and family register for could win a prize package of giant Relay For Life-branded goodies like a tumble tower, four-in-a-row, corn hole, a selfie frame, and more.
    • The top 10 events nationwide based on percentage of growth will receive prize packages. Plus, an additional 20 prize package winners will be drawn from all other events that grow by at least 25% (10 packages to events up to $149K and 10 to $150K+ events).

    Incentive Eligibility: 

    • Events must have a minimum of 25 participants at the beginning of the challenge on Friday, January 17, and reach 100 participants or more online registrations by 11:59 p.m. Central on Monday, January 27, to be eligible to win.
    • Make sure all registrations are online, including the FUNdraising App. Those are the only ones that will count.

    Here’s how you can help: 

    • Since word-of-mouth is our most powerful tool, join yourself and ask friends and family to join a Relay For Life team. 
    • Repost the social posts shared throughout the challenge from the national or local pages.

  • ACS awards inaugural Pat Flynn Spirit of Relay Award

    On Jan. 14, ACS CEO Gary Reedy presented the first Pat Flynn Spirit of Relay Award to students at Father Ryan High School in Nashville, TN.

    Students at the private coeducational Roman Catholic school have raised $1.2 million over 10 years for the American Cancer Society, created the largest student-led Relay For Life, per capita, in the nation, and attracted more than 1,000 people to its 2019 Relay last October.

    This new nomination-based award is given in memory of Pat Flynn, known as the "Mother of Relay," who inspired Relay participants around the world. This award honors an event or individual that embodies the same spirit of Relay that Pat Flynn embodied.

    The inspirational awards ceremony was attended by many local dignitaries and was covered by local TV stations. Among those present were the Most Reverend J. Mark Spalding, Catholic Bishop of Nashville; Rebecca Hammel, superintendent of schools for the Diocese; Jim McIntyre, president of Father Ryan High School; Michelle Mast and Jonathan McGee, moderators of Relay For Life at Father Ryan; Elizabeth Elfers, dean of Campus Ministry and Student Life; and Tim Forbes, the former dean of Campus Ministry who started Relay For Life on the Father Ryan campus in 2009. 

    Representing ACS were Bill Cance, MD, our chief medical and scientific officer; Wayne White, EVP, North Central Region; and Jeff Kean, chair of the American Cancer Society Board of Directors.

    In his remarks, Gary called the students "extraordinary" He talked about their creative fundraisers, including raising $1,500 in 60 seconds through the "Miracle Minute." The students also had penny wars, benefit concerts, and donated hair for wigs.

    Gary told those assembled that the students and their supporters are part of the world's largest peer-to-peer fundraising event to save lives from cancer. Since 1985, Relay For Life has raised nearly $6.5 billion. In 2018, 1.6 million people in the U.S. participated in more than 2,500 events and raised $185 million across the country.

    "I know cancer hit really close to home for you all with the passing of two members of the Father Ryan family last year," Gary said. "It is because of you and the broader Relay For Life community that we can conduct breakthrough research, provide free rides to treatment, places to stay near hospitals, and a live 24/7 cancer helpline.

    "Passionate, dedicated youth like you are changing the course of this disease. You are our greatest hope for fighting cancer. Your spirit and dedication are what put you at the very top of the over 2,000 nominees for the inaugural Pat Flynn Spirit of Relay Award," he said.

    Accepting the plaque were Relay co-chairs, students Madison Ahern and Danny Farone. 

  • Congrats to the teams receiving our Hero of Research Award

    An exception was made this year for a non-Relay team

    Our Heroes of Research Award offers qualified Relay For Life teams an opportunity to name an existing post-doctoral fellowship research grant in honor of a loved one or their team. Once identified, this named grant would be active for three years and the team would have the option to talk with the actual researcher.

    This award has been given to 15 Relay For Life teams nationwide since its inception in 2017, including one special exception this year. To win this award, teams must raise $165,000 in a calendar year. 

    In 2019, we had three teams qualify for the Heroes of Research Award — Nucor Steel Louisiana (from Relay For Life of St. James Parish, LA), The Naturals (from the Relay For Life of York, PA), and Ravens in the Hood (from Fighting Cancer to the Coast in Seaside, OR). Among the three teams, they raised more than $285,000 over what they did in 2018.

    Let’s learn more about these three impressive Hero of Research teams! 

    Nucor Steel Louisiana Relay For Life Team

    Nucor Steel Louisiana is a part of the Nucor Corporation based in Charlotte, North Carolina. The team has participated in the St. James Parish Relay event since 2013. It became a Hero of Research in 2018 by raising $217,00. Nucor Steel Louisiana team was awarded a second Hero of Research Award in 2019 by raising $200,000 more than it did in 2018.

    Nucor Steel Louisiana is the only team to receive two Hero of Research Awards, allowing it to name two research grants. The team named its first grant “The Nucor Bailee-Bee DIPG Grant,” and named its second grant “Bailee’s Brigade mTOR Grant” in honor of a teammate’s 12-year-old daughter. 

    The Naturals Relay For Life Team (pictured above)

    The Naturals is a team made up of staff from the United Natural Foods. The Naturals begin fundraising for Relay For Life 10 years ago, and had been consistently raising around $100,000 yearly. In 2018, the team raised a little more than $84,000. Members of the team wondered if they should continue as a team, however in 2019 the team had the best year yet by raising more than $166,000. The Hero of Research Award is a great way to recognize this team for its 2019 fundraising effort. The Naturals now have a renewed excitement.

    This team named its first grant “Gabby Galino and The Naturals of UNFI Hope Research Grant” to honor Gabby Galino, a 13-year-old student at Northern Middle School in York County who is battling cancer. Gabby was diagnosed with stage 4 Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in October. UNFI (the company that supports The Naturals) has rallied around her, helping the family fundraise to pay their medical bills, and supporting the team.

    Ravens in the Hood (pictured in the smaller image)

    Ravens in the Hood is an incredible high school team from Ravenscroft School in North Carolina. This team participates in the Fighting Cancer to the Coast DetermiNation event where athletes run in the Hood To Coast Relay in teams of 8-12 people for 199 mil, from Mount Hood to Seaside, OR. The team has raised approximately $450,000 solely through Fighting Cancer to the Coast, and it also supports Crucial Catch in their hometown of Raleigh, NC, raising more than $80,000 in three years. Because of their dedication to the American Cancer Society mission, an exception for Ravens in the Hood was made so it could become a Hero of Research Award winner, an honor usually reserved for Relay teams. Watch this video to learn more about their experience

    This team named its first grant “Ravenscroft School Cancer Research Fund” to honor the students, faculty, and alumni that are part of the team and who do so much every year to make their team successful. 

    Congratulations to all three teams! If you have any questions, please contact Steve Konsdorf, director, Relay For Life platform initiatives.

  • ACS continues to expand its DetermiNation® Endurance Series in 2020

    Participants take on the world through newly added World Marathon Challenge

    We are expanding the opportunity for people to fundraise for ACS through healthy and active lifestyle activities by adding additional events to our DetermiNation Endurance Series, including the KBC Dublin Marathon, climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro, and a trek along the El Camino de Santiago, Spain.

    "Building on the success and momentum of the DetermiNation program, this coming year we will offer even more events in an ever-changing field of peer-to-peer fundraising," said Paul Purdy, strategic director, Endurance Events. "The myriad of events in our portfolio provide participants the ability to accomplish an active lifestyle goal while supporting ACS."

    In 2020, two athletes and ACS supporters will participate in the World Marathon Challenge, which kicks off on February 6 in Novo, Antarctica. The World Marathon Challenge consists of 7 marathons on all 7 continents in 7 days. Only 139 people have completed the challenge since the event's inception in 2015. DetermiNation participants include Brian Cronin from Brooklyn, NY, and Keri Mandell from Princeton, NJ, pictured in the smaller photo. Both athletes have committed to an individual fundraising goal of $150,000 to support the ACS mission.

    • Brian Cronin: As an ACS DetermiNation ambassador, Brian has been running with ACS since 2012. Cancer has affected his life in many ways. In 2011, he lost his mom to ovarian cancer, and shortly after cancer took his Aunt. "This is an opportunity for me to push the limits physically and mentally, and gives me the chance to raise funds for ACS."
    • Keri Mandell: Ten years ago, doctors found cancer cells on her cervix and she had it removed, but she found out that she could no longer have kids. Keri decided to focus on what her body can do, rather then what it couldn't. She found the love and joy in running and this challenge is perfect for her. "Cancer has affected so many people that I know and love, and that has inspired me to join this ACS event. Taking part in this gives me the chance to make a difference and honor those touched by cancer."

    To see more about their story, check out the ACS  DetermiNation Video

    Anyone interested in joining these athletes as they embark on 183.4 miles can participate virtually by pledging to run 1, 3, 5, 10, 26.2 or more from February 6-12, and fundraise alongside them in the spirit of  #ACSrunstheWorld.

    Funds raised help ACS fund and conduct breakthrough research, and give cancer patients and their families the resources they need, like free rides to chemo, free places to stay near hospitals, and a live 24/7 helpline for answers and support.

    The DetermiNation fundraising platform includes more than 90 events raising over $12 million annually. It consists of events that are owned and operated by ACS and select partnerships with third-party events such as the Bank of America Chicago Marathon, TCS New York City Marathon, runDisney series, BMW Berlin Marathon, Napa to Sonoma Wine Country Half Marathon, and many others. The portfolio offers endurance events in running, cycling, hiking, indoor-cycling, yoga, tennis, climbing, obstacle course racing, adventure trek, rappelling, and swimming.

    To learn more about or join the DetermiNation community, visit

  • ACS CAN welcomes four new Board members

    Beginning January 1, 2020, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) Board of Directors will welcome four new directors:

    • Philip R. O'Brien – Mr. O'Brien is an attorney and shareholder with Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren, S.C., in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He serves on the American Cancer Society Wisconsin State Leadership Board and previously served on the Midwest Division Board of Directors. He first became involved with the Society through Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren's Making Strides Against Breast Cancer campaign and has served as chair of the event since 2010. Mr. O'Brien currently serves as the ACT! Lead for the 4th Congressional District of Wisconsin. 
    • Marcus Plescia, MD, MPH – Dr. Plescia is the Chief Medical Officer of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials and provides medical leadership and expertise across the agency and oversees the portfolio of chronic disease prevention and control programs. He has served in public health leadership roles at the local, state, and federal level in North Carolina and at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Dr. Plescia serves on the American Cancer Society's Mission Outcomes Committee and served on the former South Atlantic Division Board of Directors. 
    • Alice L. Pomponio – Ms. Pomponio serves as a strategic and operational advisor of Red Sky Partners LLC, and is the founder and managing director of Accendo Bio, an independent social innovation consulting practice aimed at accelerating innovative solutions to patient access, affordability, and adherence through enterprise formation, impact investment, and nonprofit strategic planning. She serves on the Eastern New England Area Board and led record-breaking fundraising efforts as the chair of the New England Research Breakfast since 2018. 
    • Jose R. Ramos, Jr. – Mr. Ramos is the Senior Director for Global Customer Acquisition in the Consumer Business Unit at Symantec, one of the world's leading cybersecurity companies. He has held numerous leadership roles in public and private companies, and his experience includes other management roles in technology, energy, and management consulting. He served as chair of the former California Division Board and has served in a variety of other roles, including as a legislative ambassador for ACS CAN, chair of Relay For Life, and as a State Lead Ambassador.

    The following ACS CAN Board members were elected to serve as officers for 2020:

    • Sandra Cassese, MSN, RN, CNS – Chair

    • Maureen Mann, MS, MBA, FACHE – Vice Chair

    • Bernard Jackvony, JD – Secretary

    • John J. Manna Jr., Esq. – Treasurer

    Finally, we want to recognize and thank John W. Hamilton, DDS, Robert E. Youle, and Daniel P. Heist, whose terms on the Board end December 31, 2019..

  • ACS welcomes three new members to its Board of Directors

    Board Elects Five New Officers for 2020 

    The American Cancer Society (ACS)  is pleased to announce three new members and the newly elected leadership officers to its Board of Directors, with all terms beginning on January 1, 2020.   

    "We are honored to welcome these distinguished members to the Board of Directors," said Jeffrey L. Kean, 2020 chair of the Board. "Our Board comprises strong leaders who collectively use their talent, expertise, and commitment to help ACS continue its mission of attacking cancer from every angle."  

    The ACS Board of Directors consists of 21 members, which includes five officers and 16 directors. Directors are elected for a two-year term, and officers hold their positions for a one-year term. For more details, read the 2020 Board Directory.

    Joining the Board are:  

    • Katie Eccles, Salt Lake City, UT: Katie is an attorney and of counsel at Ray, Quinney & Nebeker. In 2015, she received the local ACS Sword of Hope Award in recognition of her years of service as chair of its Hope Lodge Board to fund, design and construct the Hope Lodge in Salt Lake City. Katie currently serves on the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees for the University of Utah and chairs its Audit Committee, as well as serving as a trustee of the Nora Eccles Treadwell Foundation, the Emma Eccles Jones Foundation, and the Utah Museum of Fine Arts.  
    • Patrick Geraghty, Jacksonville, FL: Patrick is president and CEO of GuideWell, which includes Florida Blue, GuideWell Connect, GuideWell Health, GuideWell Source, and PopHealthCare. He established CEOs Against Cancer chapters in Minnesota and Florida and received the national CEO of the Year award from ACS in 2011. Patrick is also a recipient of the 2017 St. George National Award. 
    • Oyebode Taiwo, MD, MPH, Minneapolis, MN: Oyebode is the corporate medical director of 3M where he is responsible for the development of 3M's global health strategy, as well as the leadership and management of the medical organization.

    "We thank our outgoing Board members Edward Benz, Jr., MD, FACP, Kevin J. Cullen, MD, and Gregory L. Pemberton, Esq., for their dedication to the ACS mission," said Daniel P. Heist, outgoing 2019 chair of the Board. "We are excited to continue the great work with the newly-elected officers that bring more than 110 years of volunteer experience to the Board leadership roles."  

    The 2020 American Cancer Society Board of Directors: 


    • Jeffrey L. Kean - Chair  
    • John Alfonso, CPA, CGMA - Vice Chair 
    • Carmen E. Guerra, MD, MSCE, FACP - Board Scientific Officer 
    • Brian A. Marlow, CFA - Secretary/Treasurer 
    • Daniel P. Heist - Immediate Past Chair 


    • Joseph A. Agresta, Jr.  
    • Bruce N. Barron  
    • Jennifer R. Crozer 
    • Katie Eccles 
    • Patrick Geraghty 
    • Mark A. Goldberg, MD 
    • Gareth T. Joyce
    • Amit Kumar, PhD   
    • Michelle M. LeBeau, PhD 
    • Michael T. Marquardt  
    • Margaret McCaffery 
    • Terri McClements  
    • Joseph M. Naylor   
    • William D. Novelli 
    • Gary Shedlin 
    • Oyebode Taiwo, MD, MPH 



  • Giving Tuesday

    Dec. 3 is Giving Tuesday – a global day of giving when the world comes together for one common purpose: to celebrate and encourage giving.

    Across the American Cancer Society, teams and fundraisers are gearing up to leverage the milestone for a key fundraising push as they prepare to close out the year. 

    Here’s a snapshot of the Giving Tuesday activity happening across ACS:

    • Mastercard Match – For the third year, Mastercard has signed on as ACS’ exclusive #GivingTuesday match partner. Mastercard will match, dollar for dollar, all donations on up to a maximum of $150,000. ACS will promote this match through a series of email and social media messages throughout the day on Giving Tuesday, as well as a feature on the home page of Check out promotions that will begin starting Monday, December 2.

    • Event Fundraisers – Participants in Relay For Life, Making Strides Against Breast Cancer, and Real Men Wear Pink who want to engage their family and friends to donate to their fundraisers for Giving Tuesday have customizable tools available. ACS will complement these peer-to-peer fundraising efforts with some marketing to Relay For Life and Making Strides audiences through email, social media, and mobile marketing promotions on Giving Tuesday.

    In addition, ambassadors who rallied their networks to support the pilot ResearcHERS fundraising program in May have received sample messaging and content to re-engage their networks for another push this Giving Tuesday.

    As volunteers, you can join in on the Giving Tuesday fun, too, by sharing American Cancer Society Giving Tuesday posts on your social media platform of choice, FacebookInstagram, and Twitter

  • The 2019-2020 Coaches vs. Cancer season is underway

    Look for new TV ads

    The 2019-2020 Coaches vs. Cancer season kicked off November 24 with a robust media plan and new TV ads. The creative campaign leverages iconic coaches, including Roy Williams of the University of North Carolina, Tubby Smith of High Point University, John Calipari of the University of Kentucky, and Jim Boeheim of Syracuse University, and links their efforts directly to the American Cancer Society’s mission. Watch one here.

    The campaign aims to drive awareness and increase participation and revenue for Coaches vs. Cancer, which has raised more than $125 million to date. The television, digital, and social ads will run throughout the NCAA season on major networks including BTN, Fox Sports, and CBS Sports. In-game announcements, logo inclusion, and court-side signage will be prominent during games. The campaign also features 14 coaches in advertisements specific to the Big Ten conference. 

    This season ACS will also expand the spouses, youth, and Officials vs. Cancer program. We'll have more details on that later. Additional components of the 2019- 2020 Coaches vs. Cancer program include:

    • January 20-26, 2020 Suits & Sneakers Week – The most visible time for the Coaches vs. Cancer program where coaches from across the country wear sneakers with their suits during their games to raise both awareness and funds for ACS. This year, Suits and Sneakers games will support childhood cancer research, services, and awareness for ACS. Vineyard Vines will once again supply exclusive Coaches vs. Cancer ties, available online and in Vineyard Vines stores while supplies last. Thirty percent of the proceeds from the sale of each tie will benefit the Coaches vs. Cancer program. 

    • April 4-6, 2020 Final Four – The final four will be held April 4-6, 2020, in Atlanta. Plans are underway for a robust ACS presence, including exclusive events, fan experiences, fundraising and mission activities, and partnership opportunities with the Final Four Atlanta host committee. 

    • May 19-21, 2020 Coaches vs. Cancer Las Vegas Golf Classic – The tournament presented by Sanford Health is now in its 12th year, hosted by Lon Kruger, head coach of the University of Oklahoma. 

    • June 14-15, 2020 Coaches vs. Cancer Golf Invitational – The 2020 tournament will be hosted at Whistling Straits in Kohler, WI, by Notre Dame head men’s basketball coach, Mike Brey. It will honor participating coaches and raise corporate and private funds for our mission. 

    For more than 25 years, the Coaches vs. Cancer program, in collaboration with the National Association of Basketball Coaches, has united coaches and fans nationwide to help us defeat a common enemy – cancer. Through fundraising and education initiatives, the program encourages coaches, fans and the pubic to join our team and help us beat cancer together.

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