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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.


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