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Column: Relay for Life funds have many benefits

By Kim Lambert, ACS Relay For Life of Nobles County Co-Chair

This is in response to Mr. Schwarz’s recent inquiry about where the funds raised in the local American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life events go.

Generally speaking, nationwide 73 cents of every dollar raised by the ACS goes directly to cancer research, patient services, education, prevention, detection and treatment programs. Nationwide, the expense of putting on an event like Relay For Life takes 20 cents of every dollar raised; this includes providing training for the hundreds of thousands volunteers like myself. Lastly, the remaining 7 cents of every dollar raised goes to the management fees of the ACS.

I noticed Mr. Schwarz is from Fulda, so I requested specific information for both Nobles amd Murray counties from our local ACS Relay For Life Specialist. In summary for 2013:

* 22 Murray and 47 Nobles residents were served by the ACS with patient-related information and programs by either calling 1-800-ACS-2345 or going to

* The ACS answered 37 Murray and 83 Nobles patient-related information requests that included questions about treatment options, transportation assistance, patient programs and support services.

* The American Cancer Society provided a total of 125 Murray and 59 Nobles patient-related services. (Example: a one-night stay at a Hope Lodge counts as one service, as does a one-way ride via Road to Recovery.)

* Murray had two patients stay a total of 70 nights and three caregivers stayed for 37 nights, at no cost, at an American Cancer Society Hope Lodge facility when travel far from home was needed to receive cancer treatment. Nobles had two patients stay a total of nine nights and three caregivers stayed for 17 nights.

* Murray had three patients and Nobles had four patients attend a Look Good Feel Better session, where trained volunteer cosmetologists teach women how to cope with the appearance-related side effects of cancer. Each patient leaves the session with products valued at over $300.

* The American Cancer Society provided four Murray and 10 Nobles patients with gift items, including bras, prosthesis items, and head coverings, to cancer patients undergoing treatment.

* The American Cancer Society connected three Murray people and eight Nobles people to additional state, community and non-profit resources to help them through their cancer journey.

From past trainings I have attended, I learned that on average 117 Nobles County residents are diagnosed with cancer each year. I apologize that I do not have that same figure for Murray County. Each year, 42 people in Nobles County will lose their fight against the disease.

The ACS is now 101 years old. During the first century of the ACS a few of the many significant discoveries have included; Confirming the link between smoking and lung cancer, showing that mammography is the most effective way to find breast cancer early, establishing the link between obesity and many cancers, developing tests like the colonoscopy, papsmear and PSA and most recently developing targeted therapy drugs like Gleevec to treat leukemia, Herceptin and Tamoxifen to treat breast cancer. The ACS’ goal is to “Finish the Fight” and put itself out of business during its second century.

The ACS is honored to have supported 47 researchers before they went on to win the Nobel Prize, considered the highest accolade any scientist can receive. This is a tribute to the Society’s Research Program and the strength of its peer-review process.

Speaking of research. In 2013, the Midwest Division (South Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa and Wisconsin) was host to 49 cancer research projects at an investment of more than $25 million. Five more grants are approved, but no funding is available — to fully fund these projects, an additional $3 million is needed. In 2013, Minnesota was host to 19 cancer research projects at an investment of more than $8 million. Three more grants are approved, but no funding is available — to fully fund these projects, an additional $2 million is needed.

The ACS provides support to cancer patients, care givers and survivors 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year at 1-800-ACS-2345 or at This is the starting spot for anyone looking for information about cancer, any of the programs provided by the ACS or for emotional support for the patient or caregiver before, during and after treatment.

I have been a volunteer for the ACS for the past 8-10 years. I am more than happy to discuss the ACS with anyone. Please call me at 372-5305 if you have any further questions. I will do my best to answer your questions or find someone that can answer them.