American Cancer Society (ACS) has been in business in the Eugene community for 40 years. There is a genuine desire to make a difference in the lives of those affected by cancer and to contribute to cancer prevention, treatment, and support services. The knowledge that your efforts are making a difference in the lives of cancer patients and their families is all the motivation that is needed to serve our community.
The annual event Relay For Life pivoted in 2020 to an outdoor “drive thru” Luminaria Ceremony, luminaria bags were decorated and placed along a drive thru path of a local parking lot. During our traditional Relay For Life event, the Luminaria Ceremony is probably the most well attended activity during the Relay event. Even though most events in the community were canceled in 2020, we wanted our constituents to still have the opportunity to honor, support or memorialize a loved one. We had approximately 350 cars take part in the drive thru and received an overwhelming positive response to this event. Since then, we have been building back our event year by year.
A unique program that emerged coming out of the pandemic is the Road to Recovery program. Every day, thousands of cancer patients need a ride to treatment and some may not have a way to get there. The American Cancer Society Road To Recovery program provides transportation to and from treatment for people with cancer who do not have a ride or are unable to drive themselves. This is integral for supporting our local cancer patients and can be coordinated with a phone call, lowering the barrier for accessing the service.
There are countless ways that the support from the community has made an impact on saving lives, faster. In a quick summary, here are some of the ways that we’re making a difference to those affected by cancer.
- A free 24-hour hotline (1.800.227.2345) to get referrals to programs/services, information on cancer, and access to emotional support groups or oncology nurses.
- Programs and services including: free rides to treatment, free lodging while traveling for cancer treatment, support groups, connection to wig fittings, and support on tobacco cessation.
- Advocacy: Our sister organization, ACS Cancer Action Network, works locally here in Oregon and in Washington DC to hold legislators accountable for making and keeping laws that help save more lives. This includes: the right to screening, to catch cancer early, regardless of your insurance, tobacco control to help prevent youth from starting smoking and also to help people quit smoking, laws that restrict pharmaceuticals from being unaffordable to cancer patients, and more.
- Our research program is the pillar of what we do, and has been on the forefront of the major groundbreaking discoveries that have helped us screen, diagnose and catch cancer early. Our ACS funded researchers have developed screenings like the mammogram, colonoscopy, PSA test, PAP test, breast cancer gene, etc. It’s also developed cutting edge treatments that help save the lives of those diagnosed. The bone marrow transplant, radiation/chemotherapy combination, Gleevec, Gardasil, Herceptin, are just a few life-saving treatments that were founded by ACS researchers. ACS is the #1 private funder of cancer research in the world, and has helped us go from a 10% cancer survival rate (when the research program began in the 1940’s) to 78% now! We are making a difference!
The networking opportunities with business leaders that the Chamber has provided have allowed ACS to build the Real Men Wear Pink campaign to be one of the top campaigns in the nation. In 2022, we had 12 Ambassadors that raised over $200,000.00 in the fight against breast cancer! We want a good representation of like-minded people from the business community to help with development, keeping things fresh and engaging, for continued growth and success.