The American Cancer Society’s cadre of 1.5 million dedicated volunteers are not only helping fight cancer but using their skills in unique ways to help those affected by Coronavirus. During National Volunteer Week, the American Cancer Society salutes their volunteers who are volunteering in innovative ways right now.
Jen Biren would normally be putting the final touches on the Relay For Life event for the Plainview-Old Bethpage community where she lives, but these days the American Cancer Society volunteer is shifting her focus for a little while on healthcare and feeding the front lines. Since mid-March she has tirelessly worked to fundraise, collecting over $32,000 and using those dollars to help local businesses provide meals and essential items for nursing homes, assisted living, local hospitals, food banks and other front liners on Long Island’s North Shore.
“Jen is amazing and does big things in short time frames, says Michelle Maugeri, senior manager community development for the Society. Much like Jen does for Relay For Life, Maugeri explains, she unites with other concerned members of her hometown, reaches out to the community, raises funds through social media and word of mouth, engages with local businesses to help those in need. “Well, it is no surprise to me that here she is again, not for Relay For Life but a very much needed cause at the moment.”
“The American Cancer Society strives to create a culture of gratitude for all volunteers,” says Marie Cimaglia, director of community development on Long Island and NYC. “This National Volunteer Week, we take an extra moment to express gratitude to each and every volunteer who has joined our mission, and the mission to help us through this pandemic,” she said.
Cimaglia continues by saying that during this difficult time, cancer won’t stop; and neither will we. “Despite cancelled events, the cancer fighting work of the Society continues,” she said. Virtual Relay For Life are happening in some Long Island communities and volunteers are creatively inspiring awareness and fundraising. As the COVID-19 crisis grows larger every day, cancer patients—many who already have compromised immune systems—are more vulnerable than ever. The public is asked to stay informed during this crisis at cancer.org/coronavirus. Donations are being accepted at cancer.org/rapidresponse.
Right now, the greatest need is information related to COVID-19 and cancer with 80 percent of all inquiries on the phone and online chat during March to the National Cancer Information Center were related to this crisis, according to Patti Lestrange Mack, communications director, American Cancer Society. “We’re continuing to answer questions and provide compassionate, knowledgeable, and reliable assistance to cancer patients and survivors through 800.227.2345 and live chat on cancer.org, 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” she said.