American Cancer Society Turns 100

By: Anna-Lysa Gayle Email
By: Anna-Lysa Gayle Email

HARRISONBURG -- It's been a century since the American Cancer Society opened its doors, helping cancer victims worldwide survive the disease.

Sharon Skates is a local mother of five, who was diagnosed with cancer.

"I had some lymphnodes that were raised in my neck and I just went to Emergicare to kind of find out what was going on, not ever expecting it to be cancer," said Skates.

She has been cancer free for four years.

"I had Hutchkins lymphoma which isn't hereditary. It's pretty random," said Skates.

On the 100th anniversary of the American Cancer Society, she says she is thankful.

"It's awesome. I've made friends. I consider them a family now. There are so many folks who volunteer for the ACS who dedicate their life,” said Skates.

Annika Dean is a community manager with the American Cancer Society's western Virginia office. She said the organization provides a plethora of aid to prevent cancer and counsel cancer patients.

"We want to provide as many programs and resources to local cancer survivors and their and their caregivers as possible because we know that cancer is hard and finding help shouldn't be," said Dean.

Skates said she's now paying it forward by partnering with the American Cancer Society to start her own relay for life group.

"And so far in four years we've raised over $30,000 as a team, so we're really proud of that. We came in fourth out of 104 teams at this year's event," said Skates.

Since defeating cancer, Skates got more tattoos to celebrate.

"After cancer I just decided you know what, life is way too short. I don't waste time with my kids. I will leave the house to go play outside with them and enjoy time with them now," said Skates.

On a day that the American Cancer Society is celebrating a birthday, the people there are more interested in helping others experience more birthdays.

"The American Cancer Society is the official sponsor of birthdays. We look at our birthday as a way to make more noise," said ACS Community Manager Carrie Klamut.

On Wednesday May 29th, the American Cancer Society in Harrisonburg will host a moment of silence against cancer from 12 to 1 p.m. on the corner of Reservoir Street and Neff Ave.
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