Stories

Light up San Antonio for World Cancer Day

By Lisa Ayres | Jan 21 2016

We have heard a lot about cancer in recent days, as beloved artist like David Bowie, Lenny from Moterhead and Alan Rickman of Harry Potter and Die Hard fame have passed after their battles with cancer. In his State of the Union address, President Obama historically called for a “Moonshot” to find a cure for cancer. Vice President Biden, who lost his son to brain cancer, is leading the way on this very personal mission.

On February 4, 2016, World Cancer Day, San Antonio will come together as one community to honor and remember those closest to us who have been affected by cancer. The American Cancer Society encourages everyone to place Luminaria bags, illuminated bags decorated with names, stories or pictures, in their window or on their porch.

They will then share a picture of their bag on social media with a call to action to their followers to join them in the fight against cancer. We are calling this event “Illuminate San Antonio.”

We hope this event will not only raise funds but also raise awareness of the American Cancer Society, cancer prevention, and the services for patients and their families available throughout San Antonio.

When I tell people I work for the American Cancer Society, I get many different responses. Some will tell me about their or their loved ones’ battles with cancer. Some will tell me that they participated in one of our events. But most people will ask me, ”What does the American Cancer Society do?”

I love this question! I l am proud to share the many ways the American Cancer Society in San Antonio is working to ease the burden of cancer. I understand that most people don’t think about cancer until it affects them or a loved one, so they are not going to be familiar with the workings of America’s oldest and largest cancer fighting organization.

ACS Logo

So, what does the American Cancer Society do?

Our mission is to eliminate cancer as a major health problem by preventing cancer, saving lives, and diminishing suffering from cancer through research, education, advocacy, and service.

In San Antonio this year, we are projected to have 6,907 people diagnosed with cancer and 2,608 deaths from cancer.

Your American Cancer Society is fighting back in the following ways:

Research:

  • We fund research that helps us better understand, prevent and cure cancer.
  • We are funding $451 million in research in the United States today.
  • We are funding $35 million in research funding in Texas today.
  • We are funding $501,500.00 in San Antonio today and have funded over $14 million dollars since 1969.

Advocacy:

  • We’ve advocated for and helped secure $300 million for research and prevention programs in Texas.
  • We’ve helped secure funding for Texas Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program ,that provides screening to low-income women.
  • We helped pass legislation in Texas that assures insurance coverage for oral chemotherapy and routine patient costs associated with clinical trial care.
  • We lead the efforts to make San Antonio Smoke-Free.

Services:

  • In San Antonio we have free Rides for Patients to treatment appointments, this program was in response to lack of transportation that many local cancer doctors told us was an issue for their patients. Patients who use this program have told us they would have given up on treatment without it.
  • 24 hour/7 days a week we have Cancer Information Specialists available to answer questions and connect patients and their loved ones to services and support.
  • We have free hotel stays for patients traveling away from home for treatment.
  • Cancer Survivors Network: A safe, monitored, online support group for patients and loved ones.
  • Reach to Recovery, a support program for breast cancer patients that matches survivors to newly diagnosed patients.
  • Clinical Trial Matching Service, for those looking for more options in treatment.
  • We have free items available at the San Antonio Office including Wigs, Hats, Turbans, Scarves and Pillows. Our volunteer wig fitters not only help patients find the style that is right for them, they also share information about all the services we offer.

Prevention:

  • We are the leader in developing evidence based screening guidelines
  • We provide the latest education and resources for medical professionals
  • We are funding grants here in San Antonio to help at risk communities take action on their health
  • We participate in community and business health events to share information with the public

You can help us in this Fight by participating in “Illuminate SA”. Here’s how to get involved:

  1. Get your bag from the following locations: San Antonio Public Library January 31-Febuary 4, 2016 (view all locations here) , or the American Cancer Society Office (8115 Datapoint, San Antonio, TX 78229). On January 31, 2015 we will be hosting bag decorating parties at the library pick-up locations from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm. Please join us!
  2. Browse our website to learn more about the American Cancer Society, make a donation, find out how to get involved in the fight against cancer through our Relay For Life events, and get ideas for decorating your bag.
  3. Be sure to like our local America Cancer Society Facebook and Twitter pages and let your social media friends know you are participating.
  4. Decorate your bag in honor or in memory of a loved one.
  5. On February 4, 2016 starting at sunset (6:14 pm) share a picture of your bag on your Facebook or Twitter with the hashtags #IlluminateSA and #FightCancer, link to our website at cancer.org/IlluminateSA, and ask others to join you in the Fight Against Cancer .

Illuminate SA Luminarias

We are proud to be a community partner of SA2020 and fully support their mission to turn the community’s vision into a reality. Improving the health of our city is one important way to make progress toward that vision. We are also proud and thankful to partner with the world-class San Antonio Public Library system to reach the citizens of San Antonio with this project.

If you have any questions about #IlluminateSA, you can call American Cancer Society’s office at 210-614-4212.

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Lisa Ayres

Lisa Ayres

Lisa Ayres grew up in San Antonio and attended local Catholic Schools then the University of Texas -San Antonio and received her degree in Communications/Public Relations. She has been working in the Non-Profit sector since receiving her degree in 1998. She first worked for KLRN-TV/PBS managing their on-air fundraiser “Blazing Gavels”. She then moved to Pennsylvania to work for WVIA-TV PBS/NPR managing their on-air fundraising and events. While at both stations, she received national awards for her on-air events. After 5 years in Pennsylvania and what seems liked 20 cold winters, her family decided to move back to San Antonio and she began working for the American Cancer Society focusing on fundraising and community engagement. She has been with the American Cancer Society for 10 years.

View all posts by Lisa Ayres

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