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American Cancer Society Celebrates Its Volunteers For Helping Create A World With Less Cancer and More Birthdays Since 1913
National Volunteer Week is April 10 -16

ATLANTA – April 7, 2011 – In celebration of the 38th annual National Volunteer Week (April 10-16), the American Cancer Society recognizes and celebrates the efforts of all of its volunteers who have helped make a difference for people facing cancer since the organization’s inception in 1913.


“Volunteers are the foundation of the American Cancer Society,” said Terry Music, chief mission delivery officer for the American Cancer Society. “We are so grateful for the Society volunteers of yesterday, today and tomorrow, as they are helping save lives and create a world with less cancer and more birthdays for future generations to come.”


With the help of its volunteers, the organization is able to help people stay well, help people get well, research to find cures and fight back against this disease. Several opportunities to volunteer throughout the year include:

  • Road to Recovery, where volunteers drive patients to and from treatment;
  • Look Good…Feel Better®, where volunteers help women overcome treatment related-side effects by teaching them skills to help their appearance;
  •  Reach to Recovery, where breast cancer survivors volunteer to provide one-on-one support to newly diagnosed breast cancer patients;
  • Hope Lodge®, where volunteers can cook a meal for guests staying at a local Lodge, which offers cancer patients and their families a free, temporary place to stay when their best hope for effective treatment may be in another city; and
  •  The American Cancer Society Cancer Action NetworkSM, the Society’s nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate, has a grassroots volunteer network of hundreds of thousands of volunteers who work to encourage elected officials and candidates to make cancer a top national priority.


Additional opportunities to get moving and get healthy, or to help plan events while making a difference include:

  • The Society’s DetermiNation™ program offers athletes of all abilities the opportunity to save lives with every mile they conquer in endurance events across the country, all while maintaining their own health and fitness goals.
  • Relay For Life®, the world’s largest movement to end cancer with more than 5,000 events in 20 countries, this overnight community event engages volunteers in organizing teams that celebrate the lives of people who have battled cancer, remember loved ones lost and fight back against the disease.
  • Making Strides Against Breast Cancer®, the organization’s premier event to raise funds and awareness to fight breast cancer, involves nearly 500,000 people across the country in an inspiring, non-competitive walk.

While American Cancer Society volunteers have always had the common goal of saving lives and eliminating cancer as a major health problem, the volunteer experience has evolved significantly. The Society was founded in 1913 as the American Society for the Control of Cancer (ASCC) by fifteen prominent physicians and business leaders in New York City. In 1936, Marjorie G. Illig, an ASCC field representative and chair of the General Federation of Women’s Clubs Committee on Public Health, made an extraordinary suggestion. She proposed creating a legion of volunteers whose sole purpose was to wage war on cancer. The Women’s Field Army, as this organization came to be called, was an enormous success. Its recruits donned khaki uniforms, complete with insignia of rank and achievement, and went out into the streets to raise money and educate the public. More than anything else, it was the Women’s Field Army that moved the American Cancer Society to the forefront of voluntary health organizations.


The Points of Light Foundation and Volunteer Center National Network sponsor the annual National Volunteer Week, which began in 1974 with an executive order by President Richard Nixon. Every president since has signed a proclamation promoting National Volunteer Week to recognize volunteers nationwide. The American Cancer Society listens, shares, heals, and nurtures a spirit of hope and a culture of caring through voluntarism. To learn more about how you can saves lives while fulfilling your own through volunteering, visit our Web site, www.cancer.org/volunteer.


The American Cancer Society combines an unyielding passion with nearly a century of experience to save lives and end cancer for good. As a global grassroots force of three million volunteers, we fight for every birthday threatened by every cancer in every community. We save lives by helping you stay well by preventing cancer or detecting it early, helping you get well by being there for you during and after a diagnosis, by finding cures through groundbreaking discovery and fighting back through public policy. As the nation’s largest non-governmental investor in cancer research, contributing more than $3.5 billion, we turn what we know about cancer into what we do. As a result, more than 11 million people in America who have had cancer and countless more who have avoided it will be celebrating birthdays this year. To learn more about us or to get help, call us anytime, day or night, at 1-800-227-2345 or visit cancer.org.


Claire Greenwell
American Cancer Society
Phone: (404) 417- 5883
Email: claire.greenwell@cancer.org