RFL Training Plan: Mission Integration

In the end, all we do for the American Cancer Society revolves around…... MISSION. 

As Relayers, everything we do, everything we fight for, everything we believe in, stems from the heart and soul of the American Cancer Society’s mission statement. “Save lives, celebrate lives, and lead the fight for a world without cancer” is the common goal that we’re all working towards.

Every American Cancer Society (ACS) volunteer is directly supporting the mission of the organization, and we should be proud and eager to speak freely about the ways ACS carries out its mission. When your participants understand how their donations are being used, they’re much more likely to fundraise. Familiarize yourself with the graphic below that explains exactly how ACS uses donor dollars:

Where the money goes graphic.JPG

Our role as ACS volunteers is to be able to integrate mission into everything we do, so that we bring the heart of the organization to the forefront of our participants’ mind. Mission can range from several different concepts that we may not recognize as mission at first. Because mission is so versatile, there are many ways we can think of mission and incorporate it into our Relay endeavors throughout the year. Here, I'll give ideas on ways you can integrate mission more  on your campuses so that you can educate your campus about the heart of ACS.

  • Mission Moments: at your committee meetings, kick things off by reminding your board/committee what ACS is all about. This can be done in several different ways. One easy way is to share cancer statistics pertaining to the cancer of the month, or sharing anything relevant happening in the cancer world such as breakthroughs in research or new facts. This information can be found on www.cancer.org or on the ACS YouTube channel as well! Another great and extremely personal version of Mission Moments is sharing our own stories with cancer in our lives. Have a committee member start a meeting off by explaining why they Relay and what this organization means to them. Not only is this a tangible and relatable way to understand what Relay means to someone else, but it also induces team bonding and brings Mission to the forefront of the meeting to start with!

  • Mission in Canning: A great way to integrate mission into canning is by using facts and statistics in a unique and clever way. One way is to wear neck signs that you make yourself to promote statistics. One could read “⅓ women and ½ men will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime. Ask me how we can make that 0/3 women and 0/2 men” or another could read “I can't take off this sign until I raise $500, ask me why!” These are attention grabbing signs that'll bring people in to talk to you, which will give you the opportunity to share the mission of ACS and talk about why you Relay! Be sure to go canning wherever you can, be that in front of local businesses, in your dorm building, or anywhere on campus!

    • A clever way I've seen a friend fundraise is to can with a guitar! For every $10 raised for ACS, a Road to Recovery ride can be funded! So for every $10 he raised, he'd perform a song! This is a cool way to draw in attention while adding in an aspect of mission, which in this case is Road To Recovery rides! If you aren't as musically talented, see if you can bring a talented friend with you to tag team this approach, having one person perform while the other talks about Relay and ACS’ mission!

  • “Why I Relay Wednesday”: While social media can often be seen as distracting for the plethora of memes to be seen online (guilty), it can also be a pretty amazing plug for Relay promotions as well!

    • One phenomenal way to promote Relay is to join the “Why I Relay Wednesday” movement! Every Wednesday, you post a picture or status or tweet explaining why you Relay! It can be for a loved one, for more cancer research grants, for a certain statistic (I Relay so that testicular cancer survival rates go from 95% to 100%), for a cancer free future, or literally anything at all! At the end of the post, you use the hashtag #WhyIRelayWednesday, so that nationwide we see a collection of pictures and posts all connected by this hashtag, bringing together the Relay world while promoting mission on social media. This is a great way to share the mission of ACS and your personal story to your social media followers who may not be as familiar with Relay as you are, while having the opportunity to create an international network of Relayers who share their love for this organization!

  • Use the Cancer Ed Toolkit to your advantage: The Cancer Ed Toolkit is filled with tons of creative and fun ideas to bring to your campus in order to raise awareness of specific types of cancers! Be sure to check out this month by month guide for a detailed list of mission related ideas to bring to your campus!

  • An important distinction between Relay and other cancer fighting events is how the money raised is used in two important ways. Relay dollars invest in a future without cancer by funding research, but they also help cancer patients who are battling right now. Highlight the various programs offered by ACS to support patients and their families: Many participants aren’t aware of the various programs that are offered by the American Cancer Society to support patients and their families. On social media, through committee meetings, and through events and programming, be sure to highlight these important programs so that people learn the mission goes beyond saving lives through research, but also through supporting lives through these programs!

    • Road To Recovery:

    • 24/7 Cancer Hotline:

    • Hope Lodges:

    • Look Good Feel Better:

Remember that isn't an end-all-be-all list of things you can do on your campus! This is just to get the gears turning and to provide kickstarting ideas of how to smoothly integrate mission into everything you do on your campuses to really bring the heart and soul of Relay For Life and the American Cancer Society to the forefront of your campaign!

List of online resources

Breast Cancer Awareness Celebration

Campus Relay's Promoting Breast Cancer Awareness

Happy Halloween! It’s crazy to see that October is already over. It’s been incredibly inspiring and exciting to see SO many campuses participate in Breast Cancer Awareness month and put on amazing events on their campuses! In this blog post, we’ll be featuring all the awesome things you guys did all throughout the month of October to raise awareness! Make sure you check out the pictures at the bottom of this post.

Northwestern University

At Northwestern University, they participated in Making Strides of Park Ridge by tabling at the ACS CAN tent all morning, getting over 100 petitions signed at the event. On campus, they guarded “The Rock” for 24 hours and then painted it pink to raise awareness on campus for not only breast cancer, but also Relay For Life as an organization. They also partnered with their Zeta Tau Alpha chapter and passed out pink ribbons for students to pin onto their backpacks. Way to go Northwestern!

University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

At he University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, they hosted a Pink Week on their campus quad, where they sold both short sleeve and long sleeve shirts the entire week to raise money for their CAC chapter. They also had tons of information and activities about breast cancer screenings and prevention! Amazing work UofI!!

University of Georgia

Relay For Life of The University of Georgia hosted a Pink Out Tailgate where they handed out tons of pink treats while educating students on breast cancer statistics and facts! Way to go, UGA!

University of Wisconsin, Madison

At UW-Madison, they hosted an awesome Breast Fest Week, which included a fall kickoff, a breast cancer panel, a bros in bras event, a balloon release, and an event reminding loved ones to schedule their mammograms. They also hosted a fall luminaria ceremony as a big part of their week! Congrats on an amazing Breast Fest Week, UW-Madison!

Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences

ACPHS Relay For Life decorated their student center with various pink decorations to amp up the excitement for Making Strides in Albany. They also held a Think Pink Party, which had Basket-Bra, Plinko, raffles, and a pink bake sale which raised $500! They also had a penny wars competition between the male faculty members on who would wear a pink mullet wig for a day to raise awareness for the Real Men Wear Pink Challenge, which raised $50! Finally, students, faculty, and staff came together and participated in their local Making Strides event and raised $4,463.49. Amazing work ACPHS!

DePaul University

At DePaul University, the CAC chapter volunteered at their Making Strides event in Chicago as ACS CAN reps and as cheerleaders. They also hosted an events with their activities board where students can decorated ribbon shaped cookies and take pictures with a giant pink chair. Breast cancer informational material and pink ribbons were also handed out. Awesome work DePaul!

Eastlake High School

At Eastlake High School, they created crowd boards for the student section to hold that created the image of a pink ribbon. They also tabled at lunch periods and asked students to text two women in their life asking them to get their annual mammogram. They also made cards for all of their female faculty members reminding them to get their mammograms as well. Amazing work Eastlake!

University of Wisconsin, Whitewater

University of Wisconsin-Whitewater hosted a Bros in Bras event on their campus, and collected donations for Relay For Life of UW-Whitewater while passing out baked goods! Great work UW-Whitewater!

Ohio State University

At The Ohio State University, the Relayers put on a pink week, which featured bra pong, and tons of information pertaining to breast cancer awareness. Great work OSU!

SUNY Geneseo

SUNY Geneseo put on Breast Week Ever on their campus, where they provided information on mammograms, had a pink pumpkin painting day, played bra pong, sold tee shirts, passed out ribbons, and held a dodgeball tournament. They also participated in their local Making Strides Event! What a phenomenal week for SUNY Geneseo!

Thank you to ALL the schools that participated in Breast Cancer Awareness month this October and did your part to help raise awareness on your campuses! Although October may be over now, our campaigns to raise awareness on our campuses never end! Be sure to take all the amazing work you did this month and carry it over to the months to come! 

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Hey Campus Relayers!

As you all know, October is here and that means the cancer of the month is breast cancer! Breast Cancer is one of the better known cancers in the country, as one in eight women in the US will develop invasive breast cancer in their lifetimes. It is predicted that nearly 250,000 new cases of breast cancer will be diagnosed in women in 2016, and that 40,000 women will die of breast cancer in 2016. 

A lot of Campus Relayers all over the country have had experiences with breast cancer in their life, whether it is a mother, a sister, an aunt, a grandmother, a friend, or any woman in your life, breast cancer has affected many of us across the globe in different ways, shapes, and forms.

Although breast cancer has affected so many loved ones in our lives, there’s a lot to celebrate! Since 1989, death rates due to breast cancer have been dropping more and more each year, due to advances in medical technology and prevention techniques that the American Cancer Society has done a tremendous job of educating people about. At this time, there are more than 2.8 million breast cancer survivors in the United States, and that’s something truly remarkable.

That’s why this October, we’re going to celebrate together, as a nationwide campus movement. This year we’re launch our first ever Breast Cancer Awareness Celebration Week! Participating in this celebration is super easy and will be tons of fun, and this is how it’s going to work:

Campuses (that’s you guys!) will be putting on Breast Cancer Awareness events on your campuses! Whether you hand out mammogram reminder postcards on National Mammography Day, table on your campus with a bra pong booth, hand out pink ribbons or pink Relay tshirts, or whatever other way you choose to promote Breast Cancer Awareness on your campus, we want to see what you’re doing! We ask that you send us videos and pictures of the events that you host on your campus, describe what the event is, the impact it had on your campus/how many people were involved, and the name of your school! We ask that you send these in by Saturday, October 22nd at the latest!

Then, from October 24th to October 31st, we will have our Breast Cancer Awareness Celebration Week! Through Facebook posts, Instagram pictures, and blog posts on our Campus Relay Website, we will be featuring and spotlighting all the schools that participated in the event so that the entire country can see the amazing work that you’ve done on your campus to raise awareness for breast cancer!

To help you guys out in the planning of your Breast Cancer Awareness events, we at the National Campus Leadership Team have created a special resource that we are launching out called the Cancer Education Toolkit! This toolkit is a month by month guide filled with ideas, graphics, and other resources that pertain specifically to that month’s specific cancer. Here is the link the October Guide of the Cancer Ed. Toolkit, which should help plenty if you’re stuck on coming up with ideas to raise awareness on your campus! 

Best of luck in all of your Breast Cancer Awareness events! We can’t wait to see what you do to raise awareness on your campuses!
 

Blog by: Jazib Gohar, NCLT- Cancer Education Chair

ACS CAN Lobby Day 2016

Every year, hundreds of American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network staff partners and volunteers travel to Washington, D.C. for the annual Leadership Summit and Lobby Day. The goal is always the same: meet with our nation's lawmakers to share personal stories and ask that they make the fight against cancer a national priority. However, each year presents different challenges and objectives. 

This year, we will be calling on Congress to support three unique asks. 

First and foremost, ACS CAN volunteers are requesting an increase in cancer research funding. We have proposed a $680 million increase for the National Cancer Institute (NCI). Current projects are seeing great success in treating cancer, but hundreds of researchers are forced to abandon their groundbreaking work due to a lack of funding. As the incidences of cancer are projected to increase dramatically over the next decade, this ask is crucial. It is important to ride the momentum of current research projects and ensure new projects are properly funded.

Secondly, we are asking Congress to support the Palliative Care and Hospice Education and Training Act. This is more commonly referred to as the Quality of Life Bill. Individuals diagnosed with cancer are faced with fear of the unknown, effects of treatment, and lingering physical symptoms of survivorship. Palliative care is an extension of care, and when used in combination with curative treatment plans, it has been proven to be most effective for cancer patients and their families. Individuals affected by cancer deserve an organized plan of overall treatment and this bill will provide that. 

Lastly, volunteers will stress the importance to support the Removing Barriers to Colorectal Cancer Screenings Act. Colorectal cancer is highly preventable with the help of screenings and removal of polyps. However, a loophole exists that leaves seniors on Medicare with a surprise bill if a polyp is found during a routine colonoscopy. We must better protect these individuals, while continuing to promote yearly colorectal cancer screenings. 

Each ask is a tall order in itself, but with personal stories, as well as the passionate staff partners and volunteers, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network is making great strides each year. It is our mission to further our success in the fight against cancer this week in Washington, D.C. at Leadership Summit and Lobby Day. 

Leadership Summit and Lobby Day were unlike any other event I have attended. On the first two days of our visit, over 700 volunteers from all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and Guam gathered to learn about the legislative asks and get prepared for the meetings with congressmen and women. Volunteers attended many breakout sessions where we split into groups based on experience and met peers from all walks of life. These meetings helped us gather stories to share with our lawmakers and bring back to our communities.

Lobby Day itself was a day full of emotions: power, hope, and a bit of nervousness. Meeting with lawmakers can be intimidating at first, but they turned out to be extremely receptive to all of our asks. Our personal stories helped bring reality to the legislation and proved our dedication to the cause. The day was busy and involved a lot of walking around and navigating the buildings, but was one of the most rewarding experiences we had all been a part of.

After Lobby Day, we were able to come back as a united front to share our lobbying stories. While varying states had different outcomes, no one felt defeated after leaving their meetings. We were all inspired and full of hope for the future after meeting with our lawmakers and sharing our stories. Some newcomers, like me, were able to witness the strong bonds that our veteran volunteers have developed with longstanding congressmen and women.

Lobby Day was an unforgettable experience that taught me so much about fellow volunteers, ACS CAN, and the policy aspect of healthcare legislation. Seeing so many dedicated volunteers come together for one cause is incredibly moving and inspiring. I believe all volunteers should have the opportunity to attend a local or federal Lobby Day and get motivated by volunteers near and far.

To get involved or learn more about ACS CAN and their mission, please visit acscan.org

Blog written by Allison Johnson (WRCLT) and Alessia Riccio (NRCLT)

Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

It’s September! The leaves are starting to change, college football is in full swing, and pumpkin spice lattes are back (if you’re into that). But more importantly, September is also a big cancer awareness month--September is the awareness month for childhood, gynecological, leukemia/lymphoma, ovarian, prostate, and thyroid cancers. In this week’s post, we’re going to be focusing on Childhood Cancer. 

If you’re a baseball fan, you may have noticed different players, coaches and reporters around the MLB wearing yellow ribbons. These are for childhood cancer awareness. Why is childhood cancer different from other cancers? And how can we join the fight? Childhood cancer, in the most broad sense, is any type of cancer that affects children. The most common childhood cancers are different from those that affect adults; childhood cancer is similar in that it is the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells. However, for children, these abnormalities come from their genetics, with little to no effect from environmental factors. And that is why we focus on Childhood Cancer this month: to give children a chance to reclaim their childhood from cancer.

The battle is far from over, but it’s part of our mission to celebrate how far we have come. This month, the CDC released new information about childhood cancer- some good, some bad. Brain cancer is now the number one cause of death amongst children and teens in the United States. Looking beyond this, however, we see that the reason brain cancer is the number one cause of death is because survival rates for leukemia, the previous leading cause, have risen significantly. In essence, the support and treatment has the ACS changing lives, with one cancer at a time. Additionally, the funding for new and alternate treatments has drastically changed the lives of those affected by cancer: compared to past decades, children diagnosed with cancer now have an 80% chance of surviving for 5 or more years, whereas the rate in the 1970s was 58%. This jump in survivorship is more than worthy of recognition, but know that the ACS’s track record shows that they will never stop fundraising and researching until there are no statistics such as these.  


The American Cancer Society fights childhood cancer in several ways. The ACS provides information as well as services to those diagnosed. On their website alone (cancer.org), there are dozens of articles regarding childhood cancer, covering subjects that range from coping with diagnosis, to understanding pediatric oncology better, and even to returning to school after remission). ACS programs, like Road to Recovery, Hope Lodges, and Look Good Feel Better, are all available for childhood cancer patients. The Society also funds research and health programs aimed at helping children with cancer and their families. Lastly, ACS CAN advocates for laws and policies that increasing funding for research, help improve the quality of life for children that face cancer, and broaden health care access. 

Curious how you can make a difference in the fight against Childhood Cancer? Here are a couple ideas to help you get started:

  • Help spread awareness! Posts on social media work well, but don’t be afraid to also start a conversations with people.

  • Wear gold to show support for families and patients of childhood cancer!

  • Organize a letter drive (possibly for upcoming holidays, like Halloween and Thanksgiving) to deliver to a nearby cancer treatment center to show a child that we are fighting for them!

  • Host an awareness/education event on campus for childhood cancer. There’s no better way to start off the Relay Year than a big cancer education/advocacy push!

  • Join ACS CAN! For $10 you get a year long subscription to the Cancer Action Network which makes a real difference when it comes to laws and policies. There are a lot of ways you can become more involved with ACS CAN if you have the time/ability.

Thank you for tuning in to this week’s blog! The inspirational children and families we are spotlighting this month show that it’s our hope, not our hurts, that shape our future.

Co-Authored by: Will Pfadenhauer and Ana Landon (Southeast Regional Team)