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National Volunteer Week is a Great Time to Get Involved

April 22, 2013


Gary M. Reedy is the volunteer chair of the American Cancer Society Board of Directors.

This week is the 40th annual National Volunteer Week, when many organizations honor and thank their volunteers, and call the public’s attention to the incredible difference volunteers make in communities nationwide. As a volunteer myself, I know well the value of this special sort of service to the American Cancer Society, to the many people who depend on our assistance, and to the individuals who are willing and able to volunteer their time.

I began volunteering for the Society 12 years ago, when a professional colleague presented me with an opportunity to join the ACS Foundation Board. From the very beginning I was hooked. The same friend who inspired me to get involved later lost her life to ovarian cancer, and some time after that I lost my sister-in-law at age 44 to non small-cell lung cancer. I continue to volunteer with the Society so I can play a part in ensuring that others will not be affected by cancer the way my family and friends have been.

Even an organization with more than three million volunteers still has room for more. And as we are only a few weeks away from celebrating our 100th birthday, there has never been a more exciting time to volunteer at the American Cancer Society. While we’ve seen substantial progress against cancer, there is much more work ahead of us as we strive to make this cancer’s last century. If you are not yet a Society volunteer, then I am asking you to consider getting involved in our effort to finish the fight. Everybody can make a meaningful contribution. There are so many different ways to help:

  • Make the fight local. The Society is active in more than 5100 communities nationwide.
  • Participate in a Relay For Life® event, where we walk the track all day and all night to raise funds and awareness. Find an event in your community and sign up at
  • Support the Society’s fight against breast cancer by walking in a Making Strides Against Breast Cancer® event this fall.
  • Volunteer to help people with cancer in your community by driving them to treatment appointments, cooking a meal for Hope Lodge® guests, or providing other forms of moral and practical support. Learn about these opportunities and more at
  • Speak up and tell your lawmakers that the cancer fight must be a top priority at home and around the world. The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, the nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate of the American Cancer Society, encourages federal, state, and local leaders not only talk about fighting cancer but take real steps toward decreasing the number of people suffering and dying from cancer. For more information go to
  • Become part of the American Cancer Society universe. Visit, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter (@AmericanCancer) to stay up to date on many other opportunities available to join the fight.

As we kick off National Volunteer Week I want to thank my fellow volunteers for their invaluable dedication and hard work. You are the engine that makes the American Cancer Society what it is, and every single volunteer makes a real difference in helping us finish the fight.

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