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ACS volunteer leaders receive cancer awards

Leaders honored with 2022 Cancer Prevention and Early Detection Laurels Awards.

Several American Cancer Society volunteers were recently named recipients of the 2022 Cancer Prevention and Early Detection Laurels Award, given by the Prevent Cancer Foundation and the National Colorectal Cancer Roundtable. These awards recognize and celebrate innovators and leaders in the cancer fight. 

NCCRT co-directors Emily Bell and Kaitlin Sylvester joined Prevent Cancer Foundation leadership to present the following awards at a June Prevent Cancer Dialogue conference:

  • Candace Henley, CPN, member, NCCRT Steering Committee; 
  • Robert Winn, MD, member, ACS, Inc., Board of Directors; 
  • Edith P. Mitchell, MD, MACP, FCPP, FRCP; member, ACS National Consortium; and
  • Karen Peterson, PhD, chair, NCCRT Nominating Committee. 

Candace Henley received the Laurel for Dedication to Community Service. She is the founder and chief surviving officer of the Blue Hat Foundation, Inc. Candace has more than 17 years of advocacy experience in colorectal cancer prevention, education, and support. Her battle with colorectal cancer inspired her to start the Blue Hat Foundation in 2015.

Robert Winn received the Laurel for Increasing Health Equity. Dr. Winn serves as director of VCU Massey Cancer Center, overseeing the National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated cancer center. Dr. Winn is leading the nation in establishing a 21st-century model of equity for cancer science and care, in which the community is informing and partnering with the Massey Cancer Center on its research to best address the cancer burden and disparities of those the cancer center serves, with a local focus but global impact.

Edith Mitchell earned the Laurel for National Leadership. She is the clinical professor of medicine and medical oncology at Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University and associate director for diversity programs and director of the Center to Eliminate Cancer Disparities for Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center.

Karen Peterson earned a Special Award for Outstanding Commitment. She served as vice president of programs for the Prevent Cancer Foundation for two decades.


  • Genentech named Corporate Partner of the Year

    Partner honored for multi-year leadership commitment to Get Screened initiative.

    The American Cancer Society (ACS) announced in a press release that Genentech, a member of the Roche Group, has been awarded the 2021 Corporate Partner of the Year Award, a national honor presented in recognition of its incredible impact on the development goals of ACS. The company was also recognized in a tweet.

    Genentech made a multi-year leadership commitment as a founding sponsor of ACS’s Get Screened initiative, a comprehensive multi-sector national movement to restore cancer screening rates to pre-pandemic levels. As a shared priority to advance health equity principles and increase cancer screening, Genentech activated its employee network to accelerate social media activities, drove local activation of campaign efforts, advised regional cancer control projects, and participated in the National Consortium. 

    “The initiative reflects Genentech’s broader commitment to support the development of interventions to advance health equity,” said Jennifer Lombardo, vice president of Corporate Alliances & Solutions for the American Cancer Society. “Their investment has enabled ACS to initiate this transformative campaign and execute a variety of key components nationwide.”

    "We believe every person with cancer deserves the best possible care, from prevention and diagnosis to treatment and monitoring," said Fritz Bittenbender, senior vice president of Access & External Affairs at Genentech. "Realizing this is only possible through the power of partnerships. We are proud of our longstanding relationship with the American Cancer Society and to be recognized as their Corporate Partner of the Year."

    In addition to the Get Screened campaign, Genentech partnered with ACS on various impactful initiatives to further its commitment to the mission of the ACS. Some of these included:

    • Cancer Screen Week, is a collaborative effort among ACS, Stand Up To Cancer and Optum to increase public awareness and understanding of the potentially lifesaving benefits of early cancer detection through screening.
    • Screen Your Lungs campaign, sponsored by Genentech, focused on highlighting the importance of lung cancer screening through a public service announcement and robust advertising campaign, complete with a website for consumers to determine screening eligibility through a quiz.
    • Serving as a member and sponsor of The National Lung Cancer Roundtable (NLCRT): Launched in 2017 and has brought together and galvanized more than 170 leading organizations, professional societies, government agencies, cancer centers, academic institutions, and health plans to help to reduce lung cancer mortality.
    • Long-time sponsor of the National Navigation Roundtable (NNRT): Launched in 2017, the NNRT is a national coalition of organizations and invited individuals dedicated to advancing navigation efforts that eliminate barriers to quality care, reduce disparities, and foster ongoing health equity across the cancer continuum.
    • Extensive engagement and partnership elevating mission activities and addressing health disparities and awareness

    Dr. Karen Knudsen, chief executive officer of ACS, is a member of Genentech’s Scientific Resource Board.


  • Partnership honored with Faces of Philanthropy Award

    ACS and Philadelphia cancer center lauded for community impact.

    The Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center – Jefferson Health (SKCC) along with ACS have been selected as a Faces of Philanthropy honoree by the Philadelphia Business Journal. The Faces of Philanthropy honorees were recognized at an event on April 7. Pictured above, at the ceremony, are, left to right, Alex Khariton, SKCC vice president of Cancer Services; Paula Green, vice president of the Philadelphia area; Dr. Andy Chapman, enterprise director of SKCC; and Dr. Matt Huesser, SKCC vice president for Cancer Research Administration.

    Each year, the Philadelphia Business Journal recognizes philanthropic partnerships between for-profit and nonprofit organizations in Greater Philadelphia. Honorees are chosen based on their impact on the community during the past year and their overall charitable work across multiple years. The partnership between SKCC and ACS is one of 23 being honored this year.

    The long-standing relationship between SKCC and ACS has been able to aid patients across the community, as well as support a shared commitment to accelerating the pace of discovery in cancer research.

    “SKCC helps so many patients in our community, and the American Cancer Society is proud to have them as a partner in our shared goal of improving the lives of cancer patients and their families,” said Karen Knudsen, MBA, PhD, chief executive officer. “Both SKCC and ACS put the patient at the center of all we do. From providing lodging for SKCC treatment at our Philadelphia Hope Lodge facility to collaborating on activities like local screening campaigns, SKCC has been dedicated to working with ACS to reduce cancer disparities and enhance lives.”

    Through ACS grants, SKCC provides transportation and housing support to patients in need, thus eliminating some of the most common barriers preventing people from receiving timely access to cancer care. ACS patient navigators are also onsite to provide support to patients; in the past several years, ACS navigators helped more than 1,000 newly diagnosed cancer patients at SKCC, approximately 30% of whom were uninsured or on Medicaid.

    Additionally, SKCC and ACS both recognize that early-career researchers are at the forefront of scientific discovery. ACS has awarded grants to many early-career investigators at SKCC who are conducting innovative research that will lead to new ways to detect, treat, and prevent cancer. ACS is currently funding five research projects at SKCC totaling $1.8 million.

    SKCC also works with ACS to advocate for legislative solutions to improve the lives of cancer patients and their families. Together with ACS CAN, SKCC representatives champion the needs of patients and the community at large and encourage legislators and other government officials to make cancer research a priority, both nationally and locally.    

    "The Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center is grateful for close relationship we have had with the American Cancer Society over the years,” said Andrew Chapman, DO, enterprise director of SKCC and executive vice president of Oncology Services at Jefferson Health. “Together, we are making a difference in the lives of patients throughout the Philadelphia region and beyond by ensuring individuals are able to access the high-quality care that our NCI-designated cancer center offers, as well as by supporting the next generation of scientists and their groundbreaking research.”


  • Trish Greene Quality of Life Award winner named

    Dr. Abby Rosenberg honored for outstanding research work.

    The Trish Greene Quality of Life Award, a national honor, is presented to an outstanding investigator in the field of quality of life. The 2021 recipient is Abby R. Rosenberg, MD, MS, MA, from Seattle, WA. 

    “Dr. Rosenberg is a leader in the field of pediatric oncology. Her research helps adolescent cancer survivors build resilience skills throughout their cancer journey,” said Ellie Daniels, MD, MPH, senior vice president, Extramural Discovery Science. “Her evidence-based approach developed with support from ACS funding has led to multiple large grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).”

    The Trish Greene Quality of Life Award recognizes the importance of the contributions of researchers who have devoted a significant portion of their careers to the various areas of quality of life and have accomplished outstanding research that benefits cancer patients and their families. The award honors the life and work of the late Patricia (Trish) Greene, RN, Ph.D., who served in a variety of roles as both a volunteer and staff member throughout her 20-year association with the ACS.

    More about Dr. Rosenberg

    Abby R. Rosenberg, MD, MS, MA, is an Associate Professor of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology at the University of Washington (UW). She serves as the director of the Palliative Care and Resilience (PCAR) Lab at the Seattle Children’s Research Institute (SCRI), the Director of Pediatrics at the UW Cambia Palliative Care Center of Excellence, and the Director of Survivorship and Outcomes Research in Pediatric Oncology at the UW. She is also involved in various national organizations at the leadership level – this includes serving as the Chair of the Ethics Committee within the American Society of Clinical Oncology, the Co-Chair of the Scientific Program for the American Association of Hospice and Palliative Medicine, and the Associate Editor-in-Chief of "Palliative Care Fast Article Summaries for Clinicians." Dr. Rosenberg is an ACS peer reviewer and is chair for the Cancer Treatment, Survivorship and Palliative Care Peer Review Committee. 

    Dr. Rosenberg's research focuses on developing programs to help patients and families with serious illness build resilience, thus alleviating suffering and improving quality of life. Through her work as program co-director for the University of Washington T32 program in Palliative Care Research and lead mentor in the PCAR lab, Dr. Rosenberg is active in training the next generation of palliative care and supportive oncology clinician–scientists at the postdoctoral and junior faculty level.


  • Discovery Volunteer Award honors Seattle volunteer

    Michele Rhilinger wins the 2021 award.

    The Denise Noel Discovery Volunteer Award honors a volunteer who has provided outstanding contributions to the Discovery Shop program. The 2021 recipient is Michele Rhilinger from Seattle, WA

    The Denise Noel Discovery Volunteer Award recognizes an American Cancer Society volunteer who has shown exceptional achievement, performance, and dedication to the Discovery Shop program. This individual adheres to the Discovery Shop program’s mission and values, is particularly dedicated to elevating the customer and donor experience and performs above and beyond their duties as a Discovery Shop volunteer. An appointed task force comprised of ACS team members from all active Discovery Shop regions select the awardee based on a set criteria scale.  

    About our award winner

    Michele Rhilinger has been the heart and soul of the West Seattle Discovery Shop for more than 10 years. She is extremely professional in all her work at the Discovery Shop and well-known throughout the West Seattle community as a representative of the American Cancer Society.  Through her talents in merchandising, she has created a standard for a very high level of appearance of the Shop and an exceptional level of customer service. Michele has worked endless hours to keep her local Shop open when so many other volunteers did not return after the initial COVID-19 shut down. She has spent hours in the Discovery Shop and at her home, working with volunteers, answering questions, bringing in new volunteers, and keeping current volunteers apprised of what was going on throughout shop remodeling and COVID-19 closures. 

    Michele served as the chair of the West Seattle Shop, Vice-Chair, then chair again before the business transitioned to an employee-run Shop. Despite her retirement from her professional career, Michele stayed in the role and has sacrificed countless days for the benefit of the Shop. 

    Her support of the Discovery Shop and American Cancer Society’s mission is unmatched and respected by so many in her community and across the Discovery Shop program.

    A sidewalk sale at the Discovery Shop in West Seattle earlier this month. Photo courtesy of the shop's Facebook page. 


  • Virginia scientist wins Researcher of the Year

    Dr. Roger T. Anderson honored for making advances in cancer research.

    Roger T. Anderson, PhD, from Charlottesville, VA, has won the 2021 Researcher of the Year Award. This is a national honor for leadership and innovation in cancer research.  

    The Researcher of the Year Award recognizes an investigator who has benefitted from an American Cancer Society extramural grant and has made remarkable advances in cancer research. A selection committee reviews each nomination, and one winner is selected nationwide, each year.  

    More about Dr. Anderson

    Roger T. Anderson, PhD is a faculty member of the University of Virginia, an esteemed researcher, and champion for ACS. He continually drives the conversation to address quality of life and access to care through his work. In 2019, Dr. Anderson was awarded an ACS pay-if grant of more than $1,000,000. This funding supports his work in the rural Appalachia geography. He is investigating breast cancer screening policies and practice at mammography sites, making a most direct impact on access to care for unserved population. 

    Additionally, Dr. Anderson was selected to receive the ACS and Flatiron Health 2021 “Real-World Data Impact Award.” This award is funding Dr. Anderson’s work examining patterns of care related to tumor, patient and demographic characteristics focused on the use of CDK4/6i for hormone-receptor-positive patients with metastatic breast cancer. 

    As the associate director for population sciences, co-leader for cancer control and population health research, and professor of public health sciences, Dr. Anderson is a trusted member of the UVA ACS communities. 

    Dr. Anderson is always generous to provide an overview and update of his ACS funded research. He has provided his local ACS team with guidance for the planning of the ACS Virginia Breast Health Equity Summits. He spoke as a panelist in the first annual event in 2020, sharing a phenomenal perspective to his work and investigating breast health equity and access to care in rural Appalachia. In 2021, Dr. Anderson provided valuable feedback and direction to support the planning of the second annual VA BHES. His guidance helped tailor the event and recruit the best panelist to continue the health equity conversation with a focus on access to screening and navigation resources from a rural and urban, safety net perspective.


  • Duo named Philanthropy Partner of the Year

    Phillip and Elizabeth Gross have remarkable legacy of supporting our mission.

    One special foundation receives the 2021 Philanthropy Partner of the Year Award for its incredible impact to the American Cancer Society’s fundraising and development goals. The 2021 recipient is Phillip and Elizabeth Gross of the Phillip and Elizabeth Gross Family Foundation. 

    The Philanthropy Partner of the Year Award recognizes an organization whose partnership with ACS has resulted in successful achievements that impact the American Cancer Society’s mission. Nominees must be an advocate for the American Cancer Society’s mission in their community. A volunteer awards selection committee carefully reviews all nominations and selects the awardees.

    About Phillip and Elizabeth Gross

    The Gross Family has left a remarkable legacy of philanthropic purpose on the mission of the American Cancer Society over the last three decades. Elizabeth (Liz), Phillip (Phill) Gross, and their family have spent countless hours supporting our mission. They have fostered generational philanthropy and volunteerism with their four children, who have contributed in many meaningful ways to our mission work. 

    Liz and Phill held critical leadership roles in the development of the Boston Hope Lodge, which opened in 2008. Their contributions of time and financial support helped to give Hope a Home in Boston for people with cancer. 

    The Gross Family has long been involved and served in a leadership capacity to support our efforts to find cures through research. They helped create and are charter members of our volunteer New England Pay-if Research committee, to which they give generously. They’ve also endowed a postdoctoral fellowship and funded a large-scale intramural research project. Phill has served as a sounding board to the Research Department and the new BrightEdge Philanthropic Fund always looking at new ways to accelerate our efforts to cure cancer, selflessly sharing his expertise and experience. 

    In 2020, the Gross family invested their time and financial support to initiate a new legacy program of critical importance, The Diversity in Cancer Research Program – which was made permanent through their $5 million dollar investment. The fund creates an endowment to develop initiatives that support researchers of color and increase diversity in cancer research and patient care. Liz has been on the advisory committee for this program since day one, she is incredibly active and has led volunteer efforts to make this program a reality. 

    Their approach to philanthropy is long-lasting, impact driven and need based. Their investment of time, willingness to open doors to other philanthropists, their strong advocation for our mission work, their transformative financial support and their inspirational influence has furthered our mission and benefited our work in immeasurable ways.


  • Event of the Year Award goes to…

    🚴 Bike-A-Thon: Bridge to the Beach!

    ACS honors one incredible event with the 2021 Event of the Year Award, a national honor presented in recognition of extraordinary fundraising success. The 2021 recipient is Bike-A-Thon: Bridge to the Beach in Philadelphia, PA

    This is one of the awards in our expanded Volunteer Awards Program

    The Event of the Year Award recognizes an American Cancer Society event that achieved remarkable success and greatly impacted our fundraising and development goals. Nominees must directly impact the American Cancer Society’s development portfolio. The Development Volunteer Awards Selection Workgroup carefully reviews all nominations and selects the awardee.

    About the event

    With more passion than ever, in 2021 the Bike-A-Thon: Bridge to the Beach team transitioned from a virtual experience back to an in-person, physical ride. The team overcame many challenges to successfully raise more than $1.2 million – exceeding goal – and engaging 2,440 riders.

    The Bike-A-Thon team keeps community outreach top of mind since the ride touches many communities as it spans 100 miles in two states. This doesn’t include virtual riders from as far away as Hawaii. Diversity and inclusion are also a key focus for this team ensuring that diverse cycling groups such as Kings/Queens Rule Together and Latin Girls Do Bike share this experience.

    Because of the team’s tremendous efforts, Bike-A-Thon: Bridge to the Beach is poised to have its best year yet in 2022 celebrating its 50th anniversary.

    Pictured are, left to right, ACS Vice President of Philadelphia Paula Green, and Bike-A-Thon: Bridge to the Beach Committee Members Chris Madamba, Mark Feinman, Andy Polovoy, Meghan McCormack, and Alan Sindoni.


  • Michigan volunteer receives top development award

    Award is given to an incredible fundraiser.

    Our 2021 Development Volunteer Award for Excellence recognizes a volunteer who has made an incredible impact on the organization’s fundraising efforts. This year’s award goes to Catherine Duchon from Ann Arbor, MI. 

    The Development Volunteer Award for Excellence is presented to an individual who has made an incredible impact on the success of the American Cancer Society’s fundraising and development goals. This volunteer must have a demonstrated record of outstanding performance that goes above and beyond the usual roles and responsibilities associated with their volunteer position. Nominees must represent ACS in a manner that advances our mission and expands its community presence. 

    About our award winner! 

    Catherine (Cathi) Duchon, pictured above on her own and with Abby Samuels, senior development manager, has been a longtime donor to ACS and took on her first leadership volunteer role in 2012 when she was invited to join the executive committee for the Michigan Softball Academy by the University of Michigan’s Softball Coach, Carol Hutchins. In 2013, Cathi led an innovative recruitment effort and became the event’s Team Captain Chair, taking it upon herself to recruit team captains and coach them on recruiting team members to help fundraise. 

    That year, the number of event participants rose from 130 to 216 and fundraising nearly doubled to over $82,000. Thanks to Cathi’s support and dedication, the Michigan Softball Academy became the first women’s NCAA team to raise one million dollars for ACS in 2018. That year, Cathi and team March Thru a Million and built the next goal. 

    During 2020, the Michigan Softball Academy became one of the first virtual ACS events to take place nationwide – with just six weeks to transition to a virtual platform. Cathi continued to maintain solid relations with team captains and provide a meaningful experience online, resulting in continued surpassed income goals. 

    In addition to her continued work with MSA, Cathi enthusiastically signed up as the Ann Arbor market chair, recruiter, and Ambassador for the ResearcHERS program in Michigan. 

    Cathi’s leadership across programs continues as she has been among the top fundraisers in the state of Michigan each year.


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