Leading the Fight for a World Without Cancer
(Editor’s Note: In April, we’ll announce how much was raised at Cleveland County Lifestyle’s 13th-Issue Celebration and ACS Fundraiser, held Feb. 21 at Royal Bavaria.)
An estimated 18,710 Oklahomans will be diagnosed with cancer in 2017, of whom 8,200 are expected to die. These numbers are staggering, pretty much guaranteeing everyone will be directly affected by someone facing cancer in their life.
While there have been dramatic increases in both awareness of and treatment for various types of cancer, there’s still a long way to go in providing for those facing cancer, their family and the community’s health as a whole. This is where the American Cancer Society steps in. Across the nation, and here in Oklahoma, the lives of those facing the many aspects of cancer are being improved through the efforts of the cancer society.
There are countless ways for members of the community to become involved, and it is only through action that we can face this devastating disease head-on.
I recently spoke with Lindsey Diel, health systems manager, hospitals, with the American Cancer Society Inc., about the society’s goals, objectives and community involvement.
What is the mission of the American Cancer Society?
To save lives, celebrate lives, and lead the fight for a world without cancer.
What unique needs does your organization face?
We are a volunteer-based organization, so we’re always looking for volunteers to help with the many different opportunities we have available. Specifically in the Cleveland County area, we are looking for volunteers to drive patients to and from treatment through our Road To Recovery program, which provides transportation to and from treatments and cancer-related medical appointments for people who have cancer and do not have a ride or are unable to drive themselves. Trained volunteer drivers donate their time and the use of their vehicles so patients can receive the treatments they need.
About how many people are served in this region annually?
6,085 Oklahoma cancer patients were served by the American Cancer Society in 2016. The services included help with transportation and lodging, wigs and vital information. 462 of those patients reside in Cleveland County.
Could you tell us about existing annual fundraising events and programs servicing the Cleveland County area?
The Cleveland County Relay For Life will be held April 28 (location TBD). The American Cancer Society Relay For Life movement is the world’s largest fundraising event to save lives from cancer. The Relay For Life movement brings communities together, embracing their collective power to free the world from the pain and suffering of cancer. With every passionate step, Relay For Life participants demonstrate courage and strength. They prove that, together, we are bigger than cancer. And together, we can raise the money needed to help the American Cancer Society bring cancer to its knees.
The American Cancer Society Cancer Survivor Resource Center is located at Norman Regional Hospital’s Porter Campus and is open Monday through Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The resource center is staffed by volunteers who help patients get plugged in with the American Cancer Society’s free programs and services. The center also has free wigs and turbans available to patients going through active cancer treatment, information on prevention, and diagnosis and access to our patient navigators.
We are also able to help cancer patients with transportation or lodging needs while going through treatment.
What do your volunteers do, and if interested, what should one do to find out more and to sign up?
Volunteers can serve on a committee for all events, including our signature gala, Cattle Baron’s Ball, or they can serve as a team captain for a Relay For Life team or a Making Strides Against Breast Cancer team. Volunteers can also donate their time at our ACS Survivor Resource Center at Norman Regional or drive patients to and from treatment through our Road To Recovery program. If you are a canine lover, you can help plan our various Bark For Life events.
If you are interested in volunteering, please call 1.800.227.2345 to speak with one of our Cancer Information Specialists. You may also call our local office at 841.5800.
In what other ways can people help?
People can make a donation, help fundraise, raise awareness on prevention and early detection, and remember the American Cancer Society is available 24/7.