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Cancer Society honors volunteers

Awards: Event presents awards and president

Posted: November 20, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: November 20, 2011 1:55 a.m.

From left to right, Candy Spahr, winner of the Community Leadership Award; Cassie Taylor, American Cancer Society Gala Auction Committee volunteer; Nancy Coulter, Volunteer of the Decade; Agnes Russell, Community Outreach Award.

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The American Cancer Society, Santa Clarita Valley Unit recently honored its cadre of volunteers with a special recognition program and the introduction of incoming Leadership Council President Andie Bogden.

Bogden is the director of planning, marketing and public relations at Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital.

She replaces Nancy Coulter, who has served several terms in the president’s chair.

Coulter and Candy Spahr, a member of the Leadership Council, made the award presentations of acrylic trophies and certificates.

Those honored in the 2011 Volunteer Tribute included:

Outstanding Volunteer Team: Patient Service Coordinators, Relay Survivorship Committee, Legislative Ambassadors, Gala Auction Committee and Office Coordinators.

Rookie of the Year: Lori Bennett

Youth Recognition: Brittany Magno

Special Recognition: Jane Bettencourt-Soto and Janine Jones

Quest for the Best: Pat News

Relay for Life Leadership: Jen Minard

Community Outreach: Agnes Russell

Outstanding Community Partnership: Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital

Community Leadership: Candy Spahr

Mission Delivery: Donna Ashmore

Volunteer of the Year: Teresa Kerr

Volunteer of the Decade: Nancy Coulter

This year’s annual recognition program carried the theme “Decade of Change.”

The event was decorated with numerous photos that represented the different areas of change and success for the SCV Unit.

Coulter addressed the volunteers and reviewed the accomplishments of the past year, which included a successful Daffodil Days Campaign, headed up by co-chairs Ronda and Rory Bestle.

The campaign brought in $15,000 in donations.

“We gave out 310 Gifts of Hope to cancer patients in 10 different centers in the SCV,” Coulter said. “We painted the town yellow.”

Coulter also acknowledged the accomplishments of the Relay for Life event.

Relay, the signature event of the American Cancer Society, earned $490,000.

“We had 128 relay teams and set a new record of 612 survivors beginning the opening lap to start the 24-hour event,” Coulter said.

The event also saw 2,100 luminaria sold.

“Jen Minard did a wonderful job as relay chair for the third year,” Coulter said.

Coulter also listed a variety of other events including working for tips at the Hyatt Jazz & Blues Concerts, a new event, Survivor Tea and a record-breaking survivor breakfast.

“Last year, we seated 97 attendees and this year, we had 230,” she said. “It was a sensational and wonderful event.”
Coulter, Brenda Robinson and Agnes Russell chaired the event.

In her welcome, Coulter acknowledgde the important contributions the volunteers make to the American Cancer Society and to the SCV Unit.

“We are so proud of our volunteers and their philanthropic accomplishments,” she said. “Tonight, we honor the most outstanding of them all.”

Coulter said that nationwide, 98 percent of the work of the American Cancer Society is done by a volunteer workforce.

She said the SCV Unit has benefited from the quality of volunteers it attracts.

“Our volunteers work hard, are dedicated and always display generosity of time, energy and spirit,” she said. “It’s these qualities, along with our researchers and staff working together that will bring us a cancer-free world.”

She encouraged people to continue to volunteer to assist the American Cancer Society.

“There are as many reasons to volunteer as there are volunteers, cancer strikes 1 in every 2 men  and 1 in every 3 women,” she said. “This year in California 135,000 people will be diagnosed with cancer. And approximately 55,000
Californians will die from cancer — that’s about 150 people a day.”

Despite the grim statistics Coulter said there was also good news in the fight against cancer.

“Because of our volunteers and the American Cancer Society there are more than 11 million cancer survivors in America today,” she said.

As Coulter turned over the reins of the presidency of the council to Bogdan she left the attendees with a few parting words.

“It’s an ambitious journey we face to find a cure for cancer,” she said. “It’ll take all of us working together to realize that goal.”

Coulter said she knew that Bodgen will lead the unit to “new and exciting heights.”

Bodgen said serving as president “is a precious gift.”

For more information on volunteering for the American Cancer Society Santa Clarita Valley Unit or for programs offered by the Unit visit www.cancer.org or call (661)298-0886 Option 3.

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