August 19, 2017 7:18 am Last modified: 6:49 am

American Cancer Society Thanks Many for Raising $183,000 for Relay For Life Events

Spirited Team Machuchal On St. Croix expressing the 2017 Relay for Life theme: Hope Shines

The American Cancer Society (ACS) USVI extends its deepest gratitude to residents, businesses, organizations and government agencies for their participation and support of its two “Relay For Life” events recently held on May 20-21 at Canegata Ballpark, St. Croix, and on June 24-25 at the Addelita Cancryn Junior High School, St. Thomas.

To date, the two events have netted $183,000. The single largest sponsor was Limetree Bay Terminals on St. Croix with $20,000. St. Croix fielded 35 fundraising teams, 17 of which have already met or exceeded their team goal of $1,650. St. Thomas fielded 38 fundraising teams, 25 of which have met or exceeded their team goal of $1,650.

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Survivors on St. Thomas enjoying being spoiled in an elegant setting.

Special mention must be made of the following teams, all of whom raised over $5,000: Super Heroes Against Cancer, Limetree Bay Terminals and the Sunshine Teams of St. Croix, and Total Fitness and YaYa Sisters Rising Phoenix of St. Thomas.

Relay For Life is the biggest annual fundraiser for ACS. It is a community event, led by passionate volunteers and supported by a small staff. This year-round effort is a labor of love and expression of passion for the American Cancer Society’s mission: to save lives, celebrate lives and lead the fight for a world without cancer.

ACS USVI is deeply grateful to the core leadership teams on both islands: Angel Torres, Vivian Furet, Rosalie Javois, Luz Rodriguez and Darren “Bogel” Stevens on St. Croix; and Vernice Gumbs, Loretta Lloyd, Therese Hodge, Daphne O’Neal and Merle Sasso on St. Thomas. They were ably supported by fuller committees of hardworking and dedicated volunteers.

8-year old Survivor Leilanie Batista giving an inspirational address at the Luminary Ceremony on St. Croix, surrounded by her loving family

ACS USVI currently has a unique privilege such that the money raised here, stays here. Funds are primarily used in the following areas:

  1. The ACS USVI Financial Assistance Program for active treatment, medication, medical supplies and transportation. In 2016, ACS USVI provided over $127,000 in patient financial assistance to uninsured, underinsured and underserved active cancer patients in the territory.
  2. A $50,000 grant to Cancer Support VI through the Community Foundation of the Virgin Islands, used in tandem with the ACS USVI Financial Assistance Program.
  3. Vouchers for free screening mammograms to uninsured and underinsured residents that are honored at participating local entities. In 2016, ACS distributed a total of 150 vouchers (70 for St. Croix, 70 for St. Thomas-Water Island, 10 for St. John).
  4. Colorectal screening: In 2017, ACS has undertaken an additional $20,000 grant with two public health care facilities: Frederiksted Health Care Inc. on St. Croix and the East End Medical Center on St. Thomas. They support increased colorectal screening, primarily in U.S.V.I.’s population over 50 years old.

Luminaries in memory of individual cancer victims and in honor of survivors lit up around the track and on the bleachers at Addelita Cancryn Junior High School field.

This year, ACS USVI has experienced an even greater demand for direct financial assistance. As such, it urges Relay For Life teams who have not yet met their goal to complete and turn in their funds by no later than August 2017. It also urges the public to continue supporting other ACS USVI fundraising initiatives throughout the year. Any donation, no matter how small, makes a difference in the life of someone who is journeying with cancer.

ACS is a global grassroots force of two million volunteers saving lives in every community. As the largest voluntary health organization, the society’s efforts have contributed to a 25 percent decline in cancer death rates in the U.S. since 1991.

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