American Cancer Institute holds dinner to thank volunteers

A volunteer reading the name of lucky prize winner from the raffle held at the American Cancer Society Open House on Tuesday.
A volunteer reading the name of lucky prize winner from the raffle held at the American Cancer Society Open House on Tuesday.

EL CENTRO – The American Cancer Society (ACS) recognized volunteers and held an open house at their office in El Centro last Tuesday, grateful for the many who spent selfish hours helping those diagnosed with cancer.  Volunteers were recognized for their labor of love and information was given about the overall logistics of the facility and programs.

“First and foremost, we wanted to acknowledge the volunteers for all the hard work they do,” explained Jose Landeros, staff organizer and senior manager at Relay For Life. “Sometimes when they’re in their own area, they don’t see how valuable they are or how strong of a group they are. The overall benefit for us bringing them together is so that they could see they are an “army” of volunteers.”

Several volunteers were recognized for their charitable work in the community and were given a chance to win unique prizes during the raffle drawing.

“We also wanted to let people know that the American Cancer Society is here,” said Linda Shaner, legislative ambassador for Cancer Action Network. “People don’t realize we have a local office and which programs are available. Whether it’s because you’ve been diagnosed (with cancer) or a family member or friend is, or if you just want to volunteer, there are a lot of opportunities here. My mom  died from cancer, which is why I started volunteering. We all need to be aware and be that voice that’s going to stop cancer from taking so many lives.”

Shane is also promoting a petition to add a $2 tobacco tax to the ballot in November.

“It’s so important because we know that tobacco does kill and is one of the main causes of cancer. There are wonderful programs through ACS if someone wants to stop smoking. We really want to get this on the ballot,” Shaner told the group.

“I think the outcome for tonight has been really good,” explained Shaner.  “Tonight gave an opportunity for all the people who only know about one part of the organization, to find out what the whole organization is about. Being able to actually connect with people is important because sharing the ideas we have is beneficiary since we all have the same goals. We’re all here because we want to fight cancer. It has touched our lives in some way.”

“If people have any questions about the facility or programs, please contact the office or call the 1-800 number,” said Shaner, “and if they would like to know more about us, please come out to one of our Relay events to find out what we’re about and what they can do to help.”

The next Relay for Life of El Centro will take place Saturday, March 19 at Southwest High School.

“Be a part. Be a voice. We are all one degree away from cancer, we all have that somebody,” said Shaner.

The recognition dinner was catered by Olive Garden.

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