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Relay for Life coming to Wesson

Relay for Life (RFL), the American Cancer Society's (ACS) major fundraising event that has taken place annually in local communities across the nation since 1985, is coming to Wesson this year.

Co-Lin will host the event sponsored by ACS of Lincoln and Copiah Counties on April 25 from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. Last year, the event was held at Lincoln Civic Center in Brookhaven.

"We are excited about our move to the Co-Lin campus in Wesson," Stacie Cross, community development manager for the area ACS, told an Institute for Learning in Retirement luncheon. The Relay is one of ACS's most visible activities, and teams are already organizing in Copiah and Lincoln Counties to raise funds in connection with the event.

"Over thirty years, RFL has generated some $6.5 billion, which the Society spends on cancer research that is not entirely understood and other services largely unknown to the public," Cross said. Cross focused on that research and those services:

Research results, including new screening technologies to detect cancers early, new drugs and advances in treatments of cancers unique to women. "ACS has directed some $4.9 billion in grants to cutting edge research that resulted in 49 Nobel Prize awards," Cross pointed out.

A 24/7 800-number (800-227-2345) where cancer patients and their caregivers can learn about what to expect as they pursue treatments, be reassured, connect with volunteers for rides to physicians offices and clinics and obtain other kinds of assistance.

Lodging for cancer patients and their caregivers during treatments. "ACS has its own apartment complexes -- Hope Lodge -- and has arrangements with hotels and motels," Cross said. "It's free for the length of the treatment period -- days, weeks or months. It allows patients to keep their homes if they must spend extended time away."

A Hope Lodge which opened in Jackson last year is currently 60 percent occupied.

Travel grants.

Insurance and resource assistance.

A wig bank for patients who experience hair loss due to chemotherapy.

A wide-ranging network of volunteers, who are thoroughly trained to provide services, and understand what ACS offers to patients and caregivers.


Cancer patients need one-third of the stored blood supply, and ACS partners with the American Red Cross on blood drives to make sure it's there for them.

"Under new leadership, ACS is taking an increasingly business-like approach to its work," Cross concluded. "We now seek out donations for things for which we used to pay. Training for employees and volunteers is extensive." As result, the Society, which once spent only 65 cents of every dollar on its mission, now is spending 79 cents, with the goal of increasing it to 85 cents, Cross said.

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