American Cancer Society honors volunteers

Council members Janine Jones, Nancy Coulter, Agnes Russell and Teresa Kerr, left to right, at the American Cancer Society’s Volunteer Recognition reception in November 2019. Courtesy of ACS

The American Cancer Society is a 98% volunteer-run organization, and ACS couldn’t achieve its goals without the generous work of selfless volunteers.

On Nov. 19, the local Santa Clarita unit of the American Cancer Society honored their exceptional volunteers who do so much for the community.

The celebratory event, a wine and appetizer reception with the theme of giving thanks, paid tribute to the extraordinary contributions of volunteers and staff. These outstanding individuals were recognized for their hard work, commitment and passion.

The most esteemed award presented was the Heather Warrick Legacy Award. Heather Warrick served the American Cancer Society for two decades and was the embodiment of optimism, determination and courage.

Diagnosed with breast cancer at age 24, Warrick endured metastatic cancer for more than half her life, all the while providing compassion and support for others, working to educate and empower others, and diligently leading the local organization.

She shared her powerful message that “hope and hopelessness are both a choice, so why not choose hope.” Teresa Kerr, an organizer of the event, said, “Heather’s legacy is what ACS is all about — people helping people in the goal to find a cure for cancer in our lifetime. And all of us here are making a difference together.”

This year’s Heather Warrick Legacy Award was presented to Agnes Russell, who has been an ACS volunteer for more than 15 years. Russell facilitates the Bosom Buddies breast cancer support group, leads a Relay Team that has raised more than $300,000, and sits on the SCV ACS Leadership Council.

City Councilman Bill Miranda presented her the award and bestowed a recognition certificate from the city of Santa Clarita to the ACS volunteer organization.

City Council Member Bill Miranda, right, presenting Agnes Russell, left, the Heather Warrick Legacy Award at the American Cancer Society’s Volunteer Recognition reception in November 2019. Courtesy of ACS

Awards were given to members for outstanding service in support of the Go Pink Campaign, which raised $4,900 in this year’s program. During the month of October, in honor of breast cancer awareness, volunteer hairdressers across the valley provided pink hair extensions to participants for a $10 donation.

Office support awards were presented to volunteer staff who generously give of their time to answer phones, manage the office and provide a warm reception to those who visit requesting information. Carol Mendolia, Sandi Lottermoser and Kathleen Pavard received these awards.

Relay For Life awards were presented to this year’s Relay chairs, Cass Stauffer and Leslie Borgen, both first-time SCV Relay chairs, for their organization, innovation and tireless efforts under difficult circumstances.

Community partners were also recognized for their commitment to working with the American Cancer Society on projects that benefit Santa Clarita. Mandy Eglseder from City of Hope, Alex Hafizi from Santa Clarita Magazine, and Marlee Lauffer from Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital were all honored for making a difference in the community.

The American Cancer Society worldwide has 3 million volunteers who work diligently, fundraising to expand research, promote education and provide free programs and services to cancer patients.

“We treasure our outstanding and diverse volunteers and staff who help to fulfill our mission. With appreciation and gratitude, we honor their dedication,” said a statement from the Santa Clarita unit of the ACS. “Their positive attitude and indomitable spirit are inspiring. It’s an ambitious journey we face to find a cure for cancer, but if all of us work together to achieve this goal, it is within our reach.”

For more information about becoming a volunteer or sponsor with the American Cancer Society, visit cancer.org or contact the SCV ACS office at 661-298-0886, option 3.

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