ACS volunteer recognition dinner held

The Jefferson County American Cancer Society Volunteer Recognition Dinner was held Feb. 25 at Zalenski’s Family Eatery & Pub in Wintersville with certificates presented to individuals involved with the Steubenville Area Relay for Life and the Buckeye Relay for Life and to ACS volunteers.

Bryon Anzevino, director of community and volunteer involvement for the ACS East Central Division, offered the welcome and introduced Jo-Ann Crank, division vice president. Sister Pauline Herbert gave the invocation.

A state of the unit was offered by Dan Wood, Jefferson County ACS board member and former relay chair.

The East Central Division had 84 research grants totaling $47.7 million in 2012 with seven cancer research sites in Ohio. They are Case Western Reserve University, Ohio State University, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, University of Cincinnati, Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Kent State University and the University of Toledo.

There were 241 Relay for Life events in Ohio Relays, generating $14.9 million. In the Northeast Region, which takes in 13 counties, including Jefferson, there were 51 Relay For Life events that netted $4,153,198.

The Steubenville and Buckeye Relays for Life in Jefferson County netted a combined $187,298.11.

Total income raised in Jefferson County was $196,435.17.

In an advocacy report for 2012, Barb Wilinski noted that last year, the Ohio Supreme Court unanimously upheld the state’s smoke-free law, ensuring that the health of many Ohioans will be protected.

Funding continues for the Breast and Cervical Cancer project, which provides potentially life-saving cancer screenings to low-income and uninsured women in the state, she said.

“The governor also announced that Ohio would accept millions of dollars in federal funding to health care coverage through Medicaid. This will allow more than 600,000 hard-working, low-income Ohioans to get access to health care,” she said.

Access to care will ensure that cancer patients have equitable access through their insurance programs to lifesaving treatments, according to Wilinski.

In detailing upcoming advocacy-related campaigns in 2013, Wilinski said on the federal level, ACS CAN will advocate “for robust funding” for research at the National Institutes of Health and the National Cancer Institute. It also will advocate for an overall balance that protects low- and middle-income and elderly cancer patients who rely on Medicare and Medicaid for their health care and advocate to make coordinated palliative care available to all cancer patients and survivors in all care settings.

On the Ohio level, Wilinski said ACS CAN will work to ensure that the Affordable Care Act is implemented in the state in ways that make preventive services and cancer treatments more affordable and accessible.

She said it will defend Ohio’s strong indoor, smoke-free law by supporting enhancements to the rules process which will increase the effectiveness of the enforcement, and it will propose an increase in Other Tobacco Products tax to 55 percent of wholesale and an increase of the cigarette tax from $1.25 to $2.25 per pack.

ACS CAN will advocate for funding of the state breast and cervical cancer screening program for low-income, uninsured women administered by the Ohio Department of Health; work to prevent tanning bed access for children under 18 years of age; and assess statewide opportunities to reduce obesity, improve nutrition and increase physical activity, according to Wilinski.

Beth Conley of the ACS offered a health initiative report, noting that in the fiscal year that spanned from Sept. 1, 2011, to Aug. 31, 2012, “we received requests from 247 Jefferson County residents, which resulted in 735 services being given. Of the 247 residents, 159 of them were newly diagnosed cancer survivors, and 45 of them were underinsured or on Medicaid.”

Thirty-three women attended the ACS Look Good Feel Better group workshops to learn how to deal with skin changes and hair loss using cosmetics and skin care products donated by the cosmetic industry and facilitated by a trained volunteer cosmetologist. Each participant received a cosmetic kit and beauty tips to help combat the appearance-related side effects of cancer treatment.

Nineteen men attended the local ACS Man to Man meetings throughout the year. “These men returned bimonthly to participate in this educational support group for prostate cancer survivors and their loved ones. A trained volunteer facilitator and knowledgeable speakers provided information about prostate cancer, treatment and side effects in a casual and friendly group setting,” she said.

Six women received help with their breast cancer diagnosis through the ACS Reach to Recovery program. “Our trained volunteer visitors are women who have survived breast cancer and who continue to live productive lives. They provide information and support to the newly diagnosed breast cancer survivor,” Conley said.

“Our Road to Recovery program helped 10 cancer patients get to and from their cancer treatments. Our trained volunteer drivers transported these patients to 54 treatments and cancer-related doctor’s appointments. With access to transportation being a major factor in cancer treatment, our drivers were able to help these patients get to potentially lifesaving treatment,” she said.

. Transportation gas cards were provided to 31 Jefferson County residents in the form of American Express cards. The value of these cards totaled $4,605. The gas cards were reimbursement for transportation to the patients’ cancer treatments.

Four women received a free wig through the ACS’ partnership with Pantene. The Pantene Beautiful Lengths program offers free wigs through local salons to women battling cancer. “We have received donated wigs that are both real hair and synthetic. When you donate your hair to Pantene Beautiful Lengths, you are helping to provide these beautiful wigs free of charge to cancer survivors,” Conley said.

Six patients received 10 nights of lodging at the Hope Lodge. “Our Hope Lodges are a ‘home away from home’ for those receiving treatment for cancer and their loved ones. Our Hope Lodges are situated close to nationally designated cancer centers, and they provide free housing to cancer patients and their families,” she said.

There were 213 patients who received a Personal Health Manager kit directly from a health care f facility in Jefferson County. These kits help the newly diagnosed cancer patient and their caregivers organize the multitude of information they receive from various sources, including the ACS.