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President signs Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act

Clears the way for checks to be sent to Americans 

On Friday, the president signed into law the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which includes provisions to help nonprofits continue their critical services across the country. The CARES Act includes more than $2 trillion to help individuals, businesses, and nonprofits affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.  

ACS and ACS CAN volunteers and staff had urged their lawmakers to consider nonprofit organizations in the relief package. This activation resulted in more than 18,000 messages sent and more than 1,000 phone calls to Senate offices.

As ACS CAN policy experts pore through the hundreds of pages of the COVID-19 stimulus packages, they are seeing many very important victories for people impacted by cancer. These include:

  • Funding for the Community Health Centers that serve more than 29 million Americans in over 12,000 rural and urban communities across the nation.
  • Up to 2 weeks of paid family medical leave so people can take care of loved ones impacted by coronavirus or care for children whose schools have closed.
  • Coverage with no cost-sharing for COVID-19 testing even for those who are uninsured or underinsured.
  • Tax relief for charitable organizations like the American Cancer Society so they can remain on the frontlines serving cancer patients during and long after this health crisis.

For cancer patients, these provisions could be the difference between life and death. It could mean getting that needed test or making it to that crucial cancer treatment. One thing I know for sure is that it will mean saving more lives.

This is the third in a series of stimulus packages that Congress has passed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Its efforts have included direct lobbying, activating our grassroots network, and connecting grasstops leaders with key policymakers and staff. On Wednesday, Gary Reedy joined the CEOs of 150 other nonprofit organizations on a call with President Trump, during which the president thanked nonprofits for their essential role in providing services to our communities. 

A detailed summary of the three stimulus packages and the provisions most critical to our mission is available here

  • Gamers vs Cancer hosts College Streaming Tournament

    Fundraising begins April 2; checkout the tool kit and start recruiting!

    In an effort to think creatively, the American Cancer Society is launching our first College Streaming Tournament. This initiative seeks to attract new volunteers and new revenue from within the fast growing live-streaming community.

    How does it work

    The tournament will pit 64 colleges against each other in a bracket-style contest to determine which school’s “streamers” can raise the most support each week and throughout the duration of the six-week challenge. Fundraising will begin on Thursday, April 2, and end on Wednesday, May 13. Campus volunteers and are encouraged to seek out experienced live streamers to represent and support their favorite school in the fight against cancer

    There is no limit to how many streamers a school can recruit. Whether streamers are current students, alumni, admitted students, or just fans of the school, anyone can participate as long as their fundraising is performed via their live-stream channel and utilizes the fundraising page they create at

    Prizes will be awarded to the top four champion fundraising schools. The individual streamer who raises the most money throughout the tournament will win a brand-new gaming chair. Various random prizes will be awarded to streamers throughout the tournament. Based on their fundraising totals, streamers in the tournament will be eligible to earn official Gamers vs Cancer merchandise. 

    Streamer basics

    A streamer is someone who has their own live-stream channel and broadcasts regularly to an audience of fans, followers, or subscribers. Most live-streamers can be found on platforms/websites such as Twitch, YouTube, Mixer, or Facebook. Many streamers who would want to play in the tournament will play a video game while interacting with their audience. The audience can see the game screen, as well as the streamer.

    How to find Streamers

    • Reach out to your local high school or college athletic department and ask if they have an eSports team. Many of their players are likely to have their own live-stream channel.
    • Ask fellow volunteers, family, and friends if they watch any streams on Twitch. If they know what you're talking about, they'll get excited and share everything they know! 
    • Post to your event and personal social media channels that you are looking for Twitch, YouTube, Mixer, or Facebook Live streamers to join the fight against cancer.
    • Search Twitch and your city or state to find local streamers.
    • Call your local video game retail outlets and/or gaming lounges/arenas. Many of them have their own community of gamers and streamers. 

    For more information about the tournament, contact Jeffrey Montegut or Nino Cimino at or view the College Streaming Tournament Toolkit.

  • We need creative, innovative virtual fundraising ideas!

    These ideas can help us stand together – even when we’re apart

    As an organization, we have an opportunity to come up with new, creative virtual fundraising ideas while ACS in-person events are suspended. Our mission to save lives continues to be a priority for volunteers, staff, donors, and others who rely on us each day. 

    We need your help! Submit innovative ways to continue our fundraising efforts in a virtual space. Here’s how: 

    • Fundraising ideas (only) can be submitted to the Fundraising Ideas Database. This is the website that has been shared in earlier messages. If you are looking for a new idea, you can peruse existing ideas through this database, as well. Although the website is branded for Relay For Life, all revenue fundraising ideas are encouraged and welcomed. This database is being updated 2-3 times per week, so check back often!    
    • Volunteers and staff can share ideas about virtual fundraising, events, and more by emailing All ideas are welcome – not just fundraising – to support our events during this season. All fundraising ideas will be added to the Fundraising Ideas Database, and all non-fundraising ideas are being collected and shared with appropriate teams throughout the organization. 

    Thank you for sharing your creative and innovative ideas! 

  • Coronavirus/Covid-19 Guidance: March 26

    Amid the uncertainty that surrounds us right now, one thing that remains constant is that the American Cancer Society will be there for cancer patients when they need us most.

    ​This is your go-to place on My Society Source for the latest information and guidance involving ACS and COVID-19, the new coronavirus. This article will remain in the carousel indefinitely and be updated as needed.

    Stay safe, keep up your spirits, and continue to speak passionately about our mission. We need our volunteers now more than ever before!


    How You Can Help

    • While this is undoubtedly a challenging time, cancer does not stop, and neither can we. We are asking for your ideas, innovative thinking, and creativity to help minimize the impact on our overall 2020 revenue. With powerful volunteer leaders like you by our side, we have no doubt the American Cancer Society will prevail and come out even stronger on the other side of this crisis. Especially in times like these, we are so grateful for the passion and dedication of our volunteers and staff. Thank you for all you are doing to help lead the right for a world without cancer.
    • Volunteers and staff can share ideas about virtual fundraising, events, and more by emailing All ideas are welcome – not just fundraising – to support our events during this season. Read more here.
    • Join our Gamers vs Cancer College Streaming Tournament! Learn more here.

    News Announced Earlier

    • Out of concern for our patients, we suspended our transporation services as of March 25. Read more here.
    • Read our CEO Gary Reedy's message to our volunteers and supporters. It was emailed to more than 2 million people on March 17 and posted on
    • We are postponing all ACS events through the middle of May, all ACS offices and Discovery Shops are now closed to the public, and staff will continue to work from home.

    Where to submit your ACS-related questions?

    • Please contact your staff partner or call our National Cancer Information Center (NCIC) at 1.800.227.2345. On there is also the ability to Live Chat.


    • We are suspending all in-person events through mid-May. 
    • A workgroup has been convened to work on enhanced virtual options for our cancelled events.
    • We do have tools that make online fundraising possible - event websites, the Relay For Life fundraising app, and Facebook fundraising. Please make sure your teammates are making use of them.

    How YOU can help curb the spread of COVID-19 and protect yourself

    An Incidence Response Team is in place

    • We have assembled an incident response team that is assessing the potential impacts on different areas of Society business and developing action and contingency plans to mitigate risk for patients, volunteers, staff, and the organization as a whole. Its members are: Tim Phillips, our chief legal and risk officer; Len Lichtenfeld, MD, our deputy chief medical officer; Maria Clark, senior VP, Volunteer Events; Phil Monaghan, senior VP, Talent Strategy; and Paul McGee, strategic director, Strategic Communications.

  • Our Extramural Research program answers the question – Why does it matter?

    Read brief summaries of how current research indicates real progress

    To highlight some of the advances being made against cancer by American Cancer Society-funded scientists, our Research department wants to answer the simple question, “Why does it matter?” about various extramural research developments around the country. 

    These “Why does it matter?” articles aim to briefly summarize recently published work from current or past ACS funded scientists across the United States, emphasizing the progress research is making in the prevention, detection, and treatment of cancer, and quality of life for cancer survivors. 

    Here are some brief summaries of relevant research from our six Extramural Programs, as well as from the ACS Professors program, and why it matters:

    Extramural Research ProgramClinical Cancer Research, Nutrition, and Immunology

    • Why Doesn’t Immunotherapy Always Work? It’s a powerful idea: Use your own immune system to fight cancer. But why don’t immunotherapies work the same for all cancers? Former ACS grantee Dr. Padmanee Sharma and colleagues at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston are working to answer this question for glioblastoma multiforme, an aggressive cancer of the brain and spinal cord. Sharma’s team studied immune cells that are found in and around human tumors that either did or did not respond to immunotherapy. She discovered that a unique population of immune cells actually stopped immunotherapy from working in glioblastoma. However, in a mouse model, when these unique cells were not present, immunotherapy was more effective, and the mice survived longer. This study has two major impacts. First, Sharma may have found a potential therapeutic target to help immunotherapy work better for glioblastoma. Second, it shows that starting with what we know – in this case, the kinds of immune cells that surround tumors – can help generate hypotheses that can be tested in the lab and rapidly translated to clinical trials.
    • What comes next?  To test whether therapeutic removal of the inhibitory cells (CD73+) will work in human cancers as it did against mouse brain tumors to convert unresponsive cancers into tumors that are effectively eliminated by immunotherapy.
    • Read more about this study.

    Extramural Research Program: Health Professional Training

    • Improvements in the Management of Long-Term Effects of Cancer Treatment: If you are a survivor of cancer that was diagnosed when you were a child, teenager, or young adult, your chances of living a cancer-free life are very good thanks to advances in treatment. Unfortunately, you may experience significant and permanent side effects. Hearing loss is a common side effect of radiation and chemotherapy treatments, but we don’t know much about how these patients experience it and what impact it has in their lives. Emily Tonorezos, MD, MPH and other researchers affiliated with the Adult Long-Term Follow-up Program at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City interviewed adult survivors of childhood and young adult cancer to gain insight into their “lived experience” (or perception of their health-related experiences) of hearing loss. They learned that survivors don’t know that they may have hearing loss, may feel isolated or excluded in social settings as a result, and may downplay hearing loss compared to the threat from their cancer. Because hearing loss is often described as an “invisible condition,” clinicians should ask survivors about it so that they can get help. 
    • What comes next? Educating healthcare professionals about these findings may help improve quality of life for survivors of cancer diagnosed when they were young.
    • Read more about this study.

    Extramural Research Program: Translational Cancer Research

    • A Model to Accelerate New Treatments for Wilms Tumor in Children: Despite successes in treating Wilms tumor (WT), the most common kidney cancer in children, some of these tumors are associated with poor outcomes. We know which WTs tend to be high-risk – those that come back after treatment, develop in both kidneys (bilateral), or are composed of cells that don’t resemble kidney cells and structures (diffuse anaplasia). But we don’t have treatments that work well, mainly because we don’t have good ways to test them on WTs. Former ACS grantees Drs. Rani George (Dana Farber Cancer Institute), Jeffrey Dome (Children’s National Medical Center in Washington), Davidoff and Houghton (St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis), and others may have developed a model that can help. It involves removing pieces of WT from 45 patients and grafting them into mice, where over time the tumors continue to “act” like they do in the human patient. Comparison of the patient-derived tissues (before and after engraftment), particularly in response to therapies, instills great confidence that the scientific community now has a valuable resource to accelerate the clinical impact of research on WT subtypes with poor outcomes.  
    • What comes next?  In the very near future, we should see whether this model can more accurately predict which treatments will work best for hard-to-treat WT.
    • Read more about this study.

    Extramural Research Program: Cancer Control and Prevention Research

    • Better Communication About Cancer Care: Palliative care is recommended as a standard part of care given to people with cancer and focuses on reducing distressing symptoms and improving quality of life for survivors, family members, and caregivers. Being diagnosed with cancer is life altering and communication plays a critical role. ACS grantee Dr Robert Gramling and his team at the University of Vermont are analyzing recorded palliative care conversations to see how survivors understand their experiences, what suffering means for them, and how decisions might affect them. This new research uses natural language processing from transcripts of palliative care consultation visits. Researchers hope the results will help improve communications between patients and their health care professionals about care they’re getting, and how to more clearly convey information about the patient’s cancer prognosis and treatment. The US Senate is currently reviewing the Palliative Care and Hospice Education and Training Act (PCHETA), and if it is passed, the findings from this study could play a role in the implementation of public policy. PCHETA aims to establish and expand palliative care workforce training for interdisciplinary health care professionals by increasing the number of permanent faculty in palliative care at accredited medical schools, nursing schools, social work schools, and other programs. The bill will also significantly enhance research in palliative care and launch a national education and awareness campaign. 
    • What comes next?  The next step is to ensure that what has been learned about patient communication will be translated into the health care system to ensure that all cancer patients receive timely and appropriate palliative care. 
    • Read more about this study.

    Extramural Research Program: Cancer Cell Biology and Metastasis

    • Guiding the Combination of Targeted and Immunotherapy in Melanoma: A major function of the immune system is to attack foreign cells while leaving the normal cells alone. To control this, it uses “checkpoints.” Immune checkpoints are molecules on certain immune cells that need to be turned on (or off) to control an attack on foreign cells like cancer cells. However, cancer cells sometimes find ways to overcome these checkpoints to avoid being attacked by the immune system. This is where drugs that target these checkpoints hold a lot of promise as cancer treatments. They are called checkpoint inhibitors. Immune checkpoint inhibitors, such as nivolumab, have improved patient survival and helped people with melanoma live longer. However, new immune targets are needed because about half of melanoma patients don’t respond to current immunotherapies. Among the possibilities is a protein called VISTA. ACS grantee Dr. Andrew Aplin from Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia has found that melanoma tumor cells have large amounts of VISTA on their cell surfaces, and that VISTA seems to interfere with the immune system’s ability to attack the tumor cells. Interestingly, he found that certain targeted therapies, like the drug vemurafenib, which is already approved to treat some kinds of melanoma, reduces the amount of VISTA on the tumor cells. That means it may make existing immune therapy work better for more patients. Also, knowing how much a drug affects VISTA may help researchers prioritize similar-acting drugs that could make immunotherapy work better.
    • What comes next?  Since both immunotherapy and vemurafenib are already approved for melanoma, researchers should be able to test the combination quickly in patients.
    • Read more about this study.

    Extramural Research Program: ACS Professors Program

    • Blocking Drug Resistance in Breast Cancer: Breast cancer patients with HER2 mutations will often develop resistance to cancer drugs, including the new drug called neratinib. ACS Professor Dr. Carlos Arteaga at UT Southwestern in Dallas is trying to find out why. His team created a lab model with neratinib resistant HER2 breast cancer cells. They found that a key step in developing resistance happens when another gene, called TORC1, is activated or “turned on.” When that happened, neratinib stopped working. There is already another drug (everolimus) that can stop TORC1 from being turned on. Arteaga’s team found that using the two drugs together prevented resistance to neratinib from developing. 
    • What comes next?  The next step is to try this in breast cancer patients as well as other cancer types such as lung and ovarian where HER2 mutations appear.
    • Read more about this study.

    Extramural Research Program: Cancer Control and Prevention Research

    • E-cigarette Use and Respiratory Disease: Smoking regular cigarettes accounts for about 30 percent of all cancer deaths in the United States, including about 80 percent of all lung cancer deaths. Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in both men and women and is one of the hardest cancers to treat. Regular cigarettes also cause other lung diseases like asthma, bronchitis, and emphysema. Using e-cigarettes has been marketed as a less harmful alternative to smoking cigarettes. However, there’s still a lot that we don’t know about e-cigarettes. A recently published study by past ACS grantee Stanton Glantz, PhD from the University of California, San Francisco examined how e-cigarettes affect lungs. He found that e-cigarette users increase their risk of getting lung disease other than cancer by a third, compared to cigarette smokers who had a 2.5 higher chance of getting other lung diseases. His study also found that people who smoke traditional tobacco products and also use e-cigarettes, a common practice, are at an even higher risk for developing respiratory disease compared to those who use either product alone. 
    • What comes next? Ensure that information provided to the public about e-cigarettes is accurate and evidence based.
    • Read more about this study.

    Extramural Research Program: Molecular Genetics and Biochemistry of Cancer

    • Protein Turnover, a New Cancer Drug Target? As researchers have learned over the past few decades, the transformation of normal human cells into cancer cells can be highly complicated. A wide range of alterations to normal cells can lead to the development of cancer, so the more we know about how cells become cancerous, the better equipped we are to prevent, detect, and treat cancer. ACS grantee Patrick Potts at St Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, TN recently reported important new information about a protein called MAGE, that is normally only made in the testes, but found to be inappropriately made in more than a dozen different types of cancers. His laboratory has discovered that MAGE proteins cause cancer by allowing higher levels of other oncogenes to accumulate in cells leading to uncontrolled growth. The MAGE protein interferes with the normal process of turning an oncogene off and leads to abnormally high levels of these growth stimulating factors, which causes cells to grow out of control. This discovery opens the door for developing new drug that focused on stopping these MAGE proteins from causing the uncontrollable growth of cancer cells. 
    • What comes next?  Over the next few years we expect to see a new class of cancer drug tested that target restoration of normal protein turnover.
    • Read more about this study.

  • Caregiving during the COVID-19 outbreak

    ​Caring for someone with cancer has become even more serious because of the coronavirus pandemic. The person you care for may be at high risk of infection with COVID-19 because cancer and cancer treatments often weaken their immune systems. You may be at higher risk yourself if you are older or have an underlying health condition. Staying healthy protects you and the person you’re caring for. That means taking extra steps to keep both of you from getting sick.

    People with certain cancer types, including lymphomas, multiple myeloma, and most types of leukemia are at the highest risk for infections. These cancers cause changes that make the immune system unable to work as well as it should. 

    People who have recently had surgery for cancer and those in active treatment who are getting chemotherapy, radiation, targeted therapy, or immunotherapy may also be at higher risk. Some treatments, such as stem cell or bone marrow transplants, involve giving high doses of drugs that may cause long-term weakening of the immune system. But most people who have finished treatment (especially if it was years ago) probably have an immune system that’s back to normal.

    If you aren’t sure whether the person you’re caring for has a weakened immune system, ask their health care team. It’s also a good idea to find out if their insurance covers telehealth, and if the cancer care team is using it to help communicate with patients during this time.

    Have a back-up plan ready in case you, the person you’re caring for, or someone else in the household gets sick.

    Lower the risk of illness

    Stay home as much as you can and have contact with as few people as possible. Stay in touch with the cancer care team and be ready for possible changes to treatment plans. Read our list of questions you may want to ask.

    Take these extra steps to protect yourself and the person you’re caring for:
    • Don’t travel. Follow your state and local rules about traveling and leaving your home. Avoid crowds and public places. Go out as little as possible. Ask the cancer care team if medical appointments should be kept or postponed. If you do need to go out, take hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol to clean your hands and then wash with soap and water when you get home.
    • If the doctor wants to keep treatment appointments, only one caregiver should go along. No one who is sick or has any symptoms should go to a cancer treatment center. Be prepared to be screened at the door or to have to wait outside because some centers may not allow caregivers in the building at all.
    • At home, use household disinfectants regularly on things that you touch a lot, such as door handles, cell phones, remote controls, computer keyboards, and any items that are used by other people.
    • If you have to go out, wash your hands with soap and water as soon as you get home, wipe down the items you’ve brought home (including your purse, wallet, and cell phone), and wash your hands again after wiping them down.
    • When at home, wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially before eating and before touching your face.
    • Wash your hands after using the bathroom, blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
    • Wash your hands after touching animals, collecting trash, or taking out garbage.
    • Wash your hands after touching items used by others.
    • Read more about more ways to help someone with cancer lower their risk of infection.

    If you’ve been exposed to coronavirus

    If you find out you’ve been exposed to coronavirus, notify your doctor and the cancer care team of the person you’re caring for right away. They will help guide you in your next steps.

    If coronavirus symptoms develop

    • If you or the person you’re caring for has symptoms of COVID-19, call your doctor and the cancer care team and let them help you. The most common symptoms that need medical attention are fever, cough, and feeling short of breath. Some people may also have diarrhea or nausea before these other symptoms occur.
    Some symptoms are more serious and mean you need to get help right away. If you notice the following symptoms in either yourself or the person you’re caring for and feel you need to go to an emergency room, call the doctor or 911 first. This way you, the person you’re caring for, the first responders, the medical staff, and other people in the emergency room can be protected. Serious signs and symptoms of COVID-19 include:
    • Trouble breathing or shortness of breath
    • Constant pain or pressure in the chest
    • New confusion or being hard to wake
    • Bluish lips or face
    • If anyone in the household gets sick with mild symptoms and the doctor tells them to stay at home, follow guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
    • Have the person stay in one room, away from other people, as much as possible.
    • Have the person use a separate bathroom and bedroom if possible, and avoid sharing personal household items including dishes, utensils, towels, and bedding.
    • If facemasks are available, have the person wear a facemask when they are around others.
    • Have the person wash their hands often or use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol if they cannot get up to use soap and water.
    • Wash your hands often, especially after you’ve been with the sick person, and avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
    • Regularly clean all surfaces that are touched often, such as counters, tabletops, phones, and doorknobs.
    • Wash laundry thoroughly. Wear disposable gloves while doing laundry if you have them. After you take the gloves off, wash your hands.

    What else you can do

    Almost everyone has some risk of getting sick from the coronavirus. But staying informed and having healthy habits can help. This goes for you as well as the person you’re caring for.

    • Stay informed about local, state, and federal information to help guide your daily activities.
    • Get plenty of sleep. The CDC recommends adults get between 7 and 9 hours each night.
    • Eat a healthy diet, with lots of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Eat less refined grains, red meat (beef, pork, and lamb) and processed meat (hot dogs, ham, bacon, sausage, and some deli meats), desserts, high-fat dairy products, and fried foods.
    • Drink more water, less sugary drinks, and less alcohol.
    • Keep getting your regular amount of exercise. Add a little more if you can.
    • Stay in touch with family and friends.
    • Take care of your emotional health.
    Much more information about the COVID-19 outbreak can be found on 

  • Leaders of nation’s charitable nonprofits urge Congress to do more

    Please contact your senators ASAP!

    On March 23, the following statement was sent to national congressional, political, and policy reporters from CEOs of national charitable nonprofits, including ACS and ACS CAN CEO Gary Reedy. The statement calls on Congress to prioritize the nonprofit sector in economic relief packages currently being considered. For more details, read this earlier story.

    After you read it, please contact your senators ASAP and urge them to support what ACS CAN is seeking. The e-message has already been created, and it takes just a few seconds to fill in some details. TAKE ACTION HERE.


    "We appreciate provisions in the current proposal that may help some nonprofits — through Small Business Administration Loans, Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) grants, and the inclusion of a universal charitable deduction — but there is still much that must be done to ensure the charitable sector can meet the frontline demands of the COVID-19 crisis. Specifically, we urge Congress to:

    • Expressly provide charitable nonprofits with $60B in any emergency funding proposals. The charitable sector needs an immediate infusion of $60 billion and a mechanism must be constructed for a rapid infusion of cash to those organizations serving immediate needs in communities facing lost and declining revenue due to the pandemic
    • Create a robust universal charitable deduction and allow post-March 1, 2020 donations to be claimed on 2019 and future tax returns. Improve the proposed above-the-line charitable deduction by significantly raising the cap and allowing all taxpayers to immediately claim the deduction on their 2019 taxes (due on July 15) and beyond.
    • Ensure all nonprofits qualify for new small business loans and remove the Medicaid exclusion and 500-employee caps. Clarify that charitable nonprofits of all sizes are able to participate in the emergency Small Business Loan program by using the tax-law definition of charitable organizations (Sec. 501(c)(3) public charities), removing the cap on the number of employees, and removing the language that excludes nonprofits that are eligible to receive Medicaid reimbursements.

    We understand that providing economic relief is an ongoing process; however, given that nonprofits generate 5.4 percent of the nation’s GDP and employ 12 million people — more than the transportation, construction, and even manufacturing industries — it is imperative that Congress prioritize relief for the nonprofit sector. 

    We stand ready to work with Congress as the process continues so our sector can continue to help our communities and our nation respond to and recover from this crisis. We remain committed partners in providing aid and relief to the millions that we collectively serve.

    “Funding for charitable organizations is going to fall precipitously but the needs in our communities will not,” said Gary Reedy, CEO of the American Cancer Society and American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network. “As our nation recovers from this pandemic, cancer patients will rely on services like free rides to the doctor, free lodging when cancer treatment takes them far from home, and always available and trusted cancer information. Without federal funding support, we will face decisions with potentially bleak consequences for the cancer community we provide services to every day across the country — as will the rest of the charitable community regarding their mission delivery.”

    Since last Thursday, March 19, more than 16,000 messages have been delivered to senators, in addition to more than 1,000 confirmed phone calls. If you made one of them - thank you!

  • American Cancer Society suspends Hope Lodge program

    We are suspending our Hope Lodge program as of Friday, March 27, until further notice.

    As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to worsen, we’ve been forced to make the very difficult decision to suspend operations for our Hope Lodge program.

    Hope Lodge is an important resource for patients who must travel long distances for cancer treatment, however what we’re experiencing is unprecedented. Some hospitals have begun to turn away all but the most pressing medical cases. Yet, it has been our intent to keep Hope Lodge facilities operating as long as we are able to ensure a safe and healthy environment for patients and their families, as well as our volunteers and staff.

    The continued escalation of the COVID-19 threat nationwide has made it clear that we will soon reach a point where we cannot meet the standard of ensuring a safe and healthy environment. We greatly value and rely on our Hope Lodge volunteers and staff. Many are understandably concerned about inadvertently exposing patients to additional risk, leading to fewer people being able to help out at the Hope Lodge. A growing number of states have made shelter-in-place mandates. Our teams are not considered essential health care workers and therefore not exempt from the guidance provided by local authorities.

    We are taking action now to prepare to suspend this service before we reach that point where we cannot provide a safe and healthy environment. We have made the incredibly difficult decision to suspend our Hope Lodge program as of Friday, March 27 until further notice.

    Our main priority now is to help our current guests. We have begun working with guests to find other resources that might be available in the community. These could include alternate lodging programs or helping find assistance to get back home.

    This is a heartbreaking decision for the American Cancer Society and our staff. However, we feel it is the only responsible decision we can make as this pandemic grows. The health of our staff, volunteers and guests surpasses even our will to serve.

  • Tips for staying healthy when you're stuck at home

    ​Health experts are advising people to stay home as much as they can to stay safe from the coronavirus pandemic and slow its spread. This is especially important for those at higher risk, including people with cancer. It means big changes in daily routines including how and where you get your exercise, and what and when you eat.

    But we know that healthy habits can affect a person's risk for cancer and other diseases including heart disease and diabetes. This is because getting enough physical activity and eating healthy foods can help our bodies work as well as possible.  And there is growing evidence that cancer survivors who have these healthy habits have better quality of life and might have better treatment outcomes. With a bit of creativity, you can find new ways to get plenty of physical activity and eat healthy food even while you're staying home more.

    Exercises you can do at home

    The American Cancer Society recommends adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity each week. Moderate activities make you breathe as hard as you would during a brisk walk. Vigorous activities use your large muscle groups and make your heart beat faster, make you breathe faster and deeper, and make you sweat.

    Even lower amounts are good for your health and are safe for most people. Besides helping to prevent some health problems, getting some physical activity can be helpful for your sleep, mood, and energy. It's also important to limit sedentary behaviors such as sitting, lying down, watching television, or other kinds of screen time.

    If you're working or taking online classes from home:

    • Stand up or walk around while you read and answer emails and other messages on your laptop or phone.
    • During conference calls, stand up and pace, or stay seated and do leg lifts, knee lifts, and toe curls. Keep a weight under your desk for bicep curls. Do standing push-ups against a wall.
    • Take a short walk during lunch, or in place of a coffee break.
    • Set an alarm on your computer or phone to remind you to take an activity break. For example, take a one- or two-minute standing or walking break every hour.

    Other ideas to get moving:

    • Take a walk outside if it's a nice day or walk inside around the house if it isn't. Walk fast enough to speed up your heart rate and break a sweat.
    • Walk up and down your stairs. Take every other step to give your legs a good workout.
    • Turn on the radio and dance in the house, alone or with your partner.
    • If you don't have stairs or much open space, you can do jumping jacks, or walk or jog in place. Try to keep moving for at least 10 minutes.
    • Use hand weights or grab an object like a soup can if you're just starting to exercise, or a jug of water if you're stronger. Bend at your elbows to curl your hand to shoulder level. Repeat 10 to 12 times, or until you can't do it anymore.
    • Do squats when cleaning out closets or playing with your children. Be sure to bend with your knees and keep your back straight.
    • If you're on social media or can search the internet, check for live-streaming exercise sessions or activity challenges that you can participate in.

    Make TV time active time:

    • Stand up and fold laundry while you watch.
    • Do a few simple exercises like jumping jacks or walking in place, or by doing stretches in front of the screen.
    • Make a new rule: No sitting during commercials.

    Make household chores count:

    • Mop or vacuum fast enough to get your heart pumping. A 150–pound person can burn about 150 calories an hour this way.
    • Have young children or pets at home? Playing with them can burn more than 200 calories per hour.
    • Yard work and gardening are also ways to burn calories and strengthen your arm, leg, and back muscles. Pushing a lawn mower, raking leaves, shoveling, and other outdoor chores can be an effective workout.
    • Use stay-at-home time for projects you may have been putting off.  Cleaning out the garage or attic is another way to be productive and active at the same time.

    How to eat healthy at home

    The American Cancer Society recommends eating a variety of vegetables and fruits, choosing breads, pastas, and cereals made from whole grains instead of refined grains, and brown rice instead of white. Eat less processed meat, less red meat, and fewer sweets, and drink less alcohol.

    Eating healthy meals at home helps you cut down on fat, salt, and sugar – and saves money too. If you're home from work or eating out less these days, consider it an opportunity to try new, healthier ways of cooking and eating.

    These ideas may help:

    • When you do shop, stock your kitchen with ingredients for easy-to-prepare meals.
    • Search for healthy recipes that use ingredients you already have. You can try some recipes from the American Cancer Society.
    • Resist the urge to snack during the day. If you're working from home, work in a room that's not close to the kitchen.
    • If you do nosh during the day, choose something from our list of quick, healthy snacks, such as fresh fruit or mixed nuts.
    • If you have children home from school, get them to help with meals. Preschoolers can fetch items from the pantry or refrigerator and help stir, older children can use their math skills by measuring ingredients, and tweens and teens can take the lead in finding and preparing the recipe.
    • If you're thinking about getting takeout from local restaurants, call and ask for their menu or look it up online so you can make healthy choices.

    Nurture your emotional health

    Mental health is important too. Read more about ways for cancer patients and their families to cope with anxiety during the coronavirus outbreak. And remember the American Cancer Society is here for you. Call us at 1-800-227-2345 if you need help.

    NOTE: This story first appeared on

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