The American Cancer Society
When we think of the American Cancer Society (ACS) we often think Relay for Life. But the ACS is much more than just the Relay for Life folks. This organization is a nationwide community based organization dedicated to the elimination of cancer by prevention, research, and doing what it can to diminish the suffering associated with cancer in those suffering from the myriad of oncological diseases. This is accomplished chiefly through funding research, education, advocacy and service to the public. A significant portion of the dollars generated by their annual Relay for Life events nationwide go towards research grants to scientists and doctors to help understand and treat cancer. Nationwide more than $120 million was invested in research programs last year, but there is more. In the South Atlantic region the ACS has invested more than $19 million into patient support programs and some $16 million in cancer prevention efforts this year alone.
As the medical and scientific communities strive to find cures for cancers, the ACS offers local communities many helpful services. For example, there are cancer survivor groups for women with breast cancer and men with prostate cancer. There are programs to help locate volunteers and train them in the transportation of cancer patients back and forth from their treatment centers. ACS also provides family and caregivers free personalized nutritional counseling for those living with cancer patients so providers can customize individual diet plans for whatever type of cancer is involved. Another one of the lesser known programs the American Cancer Society has is the Hope Lodge. This is free overnight lodging and support (on the order of the Ronald McDonald House) for cancer patients and their family who have to travel to distant cancer treatment centers in major metropolitan areas, such as Atlanta, GA, Charleston, SC and Greenville, NC to name a few. The ACS also offers college scholarship opportunities for those who have survived childhood cancers and meet eligibility requirements. Up to $2,500 in college scholarships can be awarded per student cancer survivor.
This very worthwhile organization does a lot in the community for those undergoing cancer treatments, those survivors of cancer and their families. So next time you donate to the Relay for Life or participate in the fundraiser think of all the good uses your donated time and money is going. For more information on the American Cancer Society and the programs and services they offer, you can visit their homepage at www.cancer.org or call their toll free number at 1-800-ACS-2345.
JP Saleeby, MD is the medical director of the Emergency Department at Marlboro Park Hospital, Bennettsville, SC. He maintains a wellness blog at www.docsaleeby.blogspot.com.