ACS: Not JUST American!

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Fantasy Faire raises money for Relay For Life, and Relay For Life supports and raises funds for the American Cancer Society. This much we all know, but there’s an assumption on some people’s parts, crossing all nationalities, that the money ACS raises stays entirely within the United States. While it’s not an unreasonable conclusion to draw from the name, this couldn’t be further from the truth.

Last year I was asked to write a hunt for Relay Weekend. This turned out to be something of a revelation for me as I learned just how many places across the world ACS manages to spend our money and, since Fantasy Faire is about as global a community as Relay has, I thought it might interest my fellow Fairelanders to know how wide that reach is. The fight against cancer is one that is shared right across the planet; cancer doesn’t see gender identity, skin colour or language, and neither do the world’s efforts to fight back.

It all starts with Research, of course. You can’t educate without information, you can’t treat without knowledge, and you can’t help and support survivors and caregivers without understanding – so the root of the Society’s efforts is in the lab and the ACS research budget has a simple mission: go where the science is. Right now, in hospitals and universities across the globe, scientists are asking – and answering – questions about the most basic nature of our foe; each new question, each new answer is a step closer to a victory for everyone. More than that, ACS goes beyond the obvious and funds research into the best ways of supporting someone after diagnosis and how to make sure they can stay well after the all-clear has been sounded. Projects as far afield as London and Tokyo rely on ACS funding, and nationality isn’t a criterion to get it.

There’s more than research, though: the Society is funding public education in places like Brazil, Mexico, Columbia and India, working with local partners to get the prevention message across in a manner people can easily understand, and there are more allied projects coming on board every year. This kind of education’s a subject close to my heart: it saved a friend’s life, and I’m happy to know that some of what I’ve helped to raise has very probably allowed someone else I’ll never meet to say exactly the same thing.

The fact is there is a global need for the work the American Cancer Society does and, much like many other nation-based cancer organizations, ACS is committed to getting that work done wherever it can. Take a look at the ACS website (https://www.cancer.org/health-care-professionals/our-global-health-work/) and see for yourself just how wide the Society casts its net because I’ve barely scratched the surface here; even though it says “American” on the door, the American Cancer Society is working all over the world, and you might be surprised to discover just how close to home a Linden you dropped into a kiosk last year ended up!

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