The event, along with all the other Relay events across the country, helps the American Cancer Society gain the funds it uses for a litany of activities and research throughout the year.
The participants are loyal; they go to a Relay and realize that it is as advertised - beautiful, moving, a celebration, a memorial and so much more.
And the participants are just like those who are affected by cancer - all ages, all races and all genders, including the 76th International Rice Festival Queen Sarah Mouton.
“I participate in this program because I have had many family members and friends who have been impacted by cancer,” said Mouton. “The American Cancer Society helps us celebrate more birthdays and for that I am grateful!”
Mouton, as an LSU student, joined the school’s Relay For Life team.
“I served as a team captain for the 2011 LSU Relay For Life. Our team, filled with visiting queens from festivals across the state, was a popular one! We sold Menchies frozen yogurt and raised nearly $200 that night.
“I think it is important that people find at least one charity they believe in and support it to the best of their ability.”
As years have gone by more and more people have become a part of Relay For Life and many haven’t even really ever delved into what happens with the money raised. They know it goes to the worthy cause of the American Cancer Society, but where exactly it goes, how much of this dollar goes here and that dollar goes there, is not often explored.
In an open letter to Relay participants, Camille Breaux, American Cancer Society community representative, explained how the funds were dispersed in Acadia Parish using the funds the 2012 Relay For Life of Acadia raised.
“Because of you,” she wrote, “the American Cancer Society is helping to create a world with more birthdays. The work that we are doing with both research and the patients locally is truly making a difference and would not be possible if it weren’t for the dedicated volunteers throughout Acadia Parish.”
This year, Relay For Life of Acadia returned to Crowley High and through a year of fundraising and a spectacular event in May Relay For Life of Acadia raised $40,752.
Those funds helped the American Cancer Society service 1,627 patients throughout Acadiana, 177 of which are in Acadia Parish.
The funds helped provide these patients with 6,534 services. Services included “1,600 nights of lodging to 81 cancer patients and caregivers in Acadiana at the Patrick F. Taylor Hope Lodge in New Orleans while they were receiving their treatment,” according to the open letter. “Three of those families were from Acadia Parish and you were able to provide them with 82 nights of free lodging because of the work that you do.”
Other services included helping patients in getting to treatments and providing treatment facilities with transportation grants. Then there is the Patient Support Room, located in the Acadiana office of the American Cancer Society. The room provides port pillows, new wigs, hats, turbans, cancer information and other things that might be necessary for cancer patients or their families. Female patients of Acadiana can receive a gift item, including mastectomy bras and prostheses.
“It is because of you that we are able to provide these services and I thank you,” Breaux wrote.
On the other side is the research that has given more hope to cancer patients as the years have continued.
With the American Cancer Society, research is the heart of the mission. For more than 60 years, it has been finding answers that save lives that include changes in lifestyle to new approaches in therapies to improving cancer patients’ quality of life.
The American Cancer Society relentlessly pursues the answers in order to understand how to prevent, detect and treat all cancer types. It combines the world’s best and brightest researchers with the world’s largest, oldest and most effective community-based anti-cancer organization to put answers into action.
The American Cancer Society’s comprehensive research program consists of extramural grants, as well as intramural research programs.
The Extramural Grants department reviews and administers both Research Grants and Health Professional Training Grants (HPTGs). HPTGs include both grants and scholarships awarded to nurses, physicians and oncology social work professionals. As the nation’s largest private, not-for-profit source of funds for scientists studying cancer, the American Cancer Society focuses its funding on investigator-initiated, peer-reviewed proposals.
The Intramural Research department is comprised of five programs: Epidemiology, Surveillance and Health Services Research, International Tobacco Control Research, the Behavioral Research Center (BRC), and the Statistics and Evaluation Center (SEC). All intramural department staff conduct applied cancer research in-house.
American Cancer Society grantees and researchers have recently discovered a genetic link to esophageal cancer, that the treatment of lung cancer varies depending on hospital type, that there are some risks of cancer associated with pregnancy and that southern states lag behind northern states in making progress against colorectal cancer.
The 2013 Relay For Life of Acadia will take place at Crowley High School April 13, 2013. The goal of $46,000 raised has been set. The event is for everyone, not just cancer survivors and victims and their families. Festivities will kickoff at 6 p.m. and conclude at 6 a.m.
On Jan. 14, 2013, their will be a “Kick-Up” event at 5:30 p.m. at the Wells Fargo building to show off what Relay For Life is all about and help teams, team captains, committee members and interested parties get ready for the 2013 Relay For Life of Acadia.