By David Veniziano, Executive Vice President, American Cancer Society, California and Stephanie Christensen, Executive Vice President, American Cancer Society, Great West
Earlier this year, the American Cancer Society and Western Growers announced a first-time collaboration to raise awareness about the important role nutrition plays in cancer prevention and critically-needed funds to support the Society’s efforts to finish the fight the fight against the disease once and for all.
We are very excited about this partnership, as it connects the American Cancer Society with those farmers and growers who are providing nutritious fruits and vegetables to people throughout the nation. We know that up to one-third of new cancer cases are linked to poor diet, physical inactivity, and obesity. These cancers could be avoided if everyone did what we know works: eat a nutritious diet with an emphasis on plant foods, get plenty of physical activity, and maintain a healthy weight. This partnership will enable our organizations to help Californians and Arizonans of all ages achieve healthy eating habits that can help them stay at a healthy weight and reduce their cancer risk.
As a Western Growers Association member, there are many ways you can get involved in the American Cancer Society’s mission beyond nutrition awareness. October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and it’s an excellent time to remind the women in our lives about the importance of breast health and annual screening. The Society recommends that women in their 20s and 30s have clinical breast exams every three years and that women age 40 and over have a clinical breast exam and a mammogram every year. We also recommend that women know how their breasts normally look and feel, and report any changes to their doctor right away. Taking these steps can help find breast cancer when it may be more easily treated. In short, early detection helps save lives.
Another way Western Growers members can get involved in the Society’s fight against breast cancer is by participating in their local Making Strides Against Breast Cancer® walk. The American Cancer Society Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk began in 1993 and has quickly become the largest and most powerful network of breast cancer events in the nation. In its first year, the program rallied 5,000 walkers in two cities to raise $660,000. That momentum has continued, with more than one million walkers from 300 communities raising $68 million in 2013. To date, Making Strides events have raised nearly $600 million for the Society’s breast cancer programs.
The funds raised through Making Strides events help the American Cancer Society invest in groundbreaking breast cancer research; help women diagnosed with breast cancer with free programs and services like rides to treatment, one-on-one counseling and support, and wigs; help them deal with side effects and other consequences of treatment; and ensure access to screenings and treatment for women who need them.
Together, the awareness and funds raised through Making Strides events are making a difference. “The number one reason people call the American Cancer Society is related to breast cancer,” says Susan Petre, managing director, Making Strides Against Breast Cancer. “Everyone has their own personal story of how they have been impacted by breast cancer, but when they come together, it’s all the same story. They’ve already seen the impact they have had on the fight to end breast cancer since we started this event.”
To create a team to walk and fundraise to help save lives from breast cancer, visit makingstrideswalk.org to find a Making Strides event in your community. By working together both in our communities and in our fields, we can help finish the fight against cancer.
Join Western Growers
Western Growers members care deeply for the food they grow, the land they sustain, the people they employ, and the community in which they live.