Keeping Hope in Allegany

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American Cancer Society Relay For Life Helps Keep Allegany County Families Close During Treatment

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ANGELICA, NY – May 3, 2012 – Relay For Life is coming soon to the Fairgrounds in Angelica, and it will be an opportunity for the entire county to come together to celebrate, remember and fight back against a disease that struck 277 Allegany County residents last year alone. Money raised through Relay funds cancer research, but it also supports American Cancer Society programs and services that help cancer patients and their families overcome challenges that often accompany a cancer diagnosis. For two local families, Relay For Life meant they could focus on getting well as they traveled to Buffalo and Rochester for treatment.

A cancer survivor, Patricia Pettnot walked in the very first American Cancer Society Relay For Life event in Wellsville and has continued to participate every year since. Even when Relay For Life went on hiatus, she walked with her daughter in the Springville event. “Fighting cancer through Relay For Life is important,” said Petnott, “I’m a survivor. I just have to walk.”

She also knows first-hand how the money raised through Relay helps people in Allegany County; she and her husband Francis stayed at the American Cancer Society Hope Lodge in Rochester thirteen years ago, and again this past March. Many changes have been made in those thirteen years, most notably the opening of the current American Cancer Society B. Thomas Golisano Hope Lodge Hospitality House.

During a recent stay at Hope Lodge, Pettnot explained that coping with a cancer diagnosis at first seems daunting. She explained, “Your first thought is, what’s next? Eventually you begin scheduling appointments with the doctors and along with that you worry about accommodations when treatment is away from home.” The Pettnots are from Belmont; therefore commuting to and from the hospital in Rochester for early morning appointments was not an option.

Then a social worker at the hospital told them about Hope Lodge. “It was like staying in a hotel; all the amenities you would expect a hotel to have were there, even some things that I didn’t expect, like the library and kitchen area. The small things made the difference, it felt like we were being treating like family.”

Today Pettnot looks forward to the return of Relay For Life to Allegany County this summer. “Relay is something that goes beyond participating, it’s the message you send out to the folks affected by cancer, and it’s the feeling you get from being there. You will leave knowing that you made a difference.”

Village of Belmont Clerk, Richard Hoshal has stayed at the Hope Lodge in Buffalo to be near his son while he’s in treatment at Roswell Park Cancer Institute. “Hope Lodge makes it possible for me to work and visit my son when he’s in the hospital in Buffalo.” Like Pettnot, Hoshal is supporting Relay For Life this summer in Angelica.

American Cancer Society Hope Lodges have served 44 people from Allegany County during its fiscal year September 1, 2010 through August 31, 2011, for a total of 805 nights.

About Relay For Life
Relay For Life of Allegany County
7pm June 29 – 7am June 30
Allegany County Fairgrounds, Angelica
For more information or to register: Relayforlife.org or 1-800-227-2345
or contact your local representative: Erin.Harvey@cancer.org or 585-465-3223

The American Cancer Society Relay For Life is an overnight community celebration where individuals and teams camp out, picnic, dance, play games and take turns circling around a track “relay” style to raise funds and fight cancer. The event opens as cancer survivors lead the way around the track and are honored with the Survivor Lap. As the sun begins to set, the warm glow of hundreds of luminaria light the field in an emotional silent ceremony. Each bag lit is in honor of a loved one who won the fight against cancer or in remembrance of a special someone who lost their battle. The American Cancer Society Relay For Life represents hope in that those lost to cancer will not be forgotten, that those who face cancer will be supported, and that one day, cancer will be eliminated.

“Relay For Life is not just an event,” said Erin Harvey, community representative for the American Cancer Society. “Relay For Life provides the American Cancer Society with year-round touchpoints, a chance to talk about prevention and early detection, and a chance to talk about programs and services that are available to local cancer patients and their families.”

Started in 1985, Relay For Life began with one man who circled around a track for 24 hours raising $27,000. This year, Relay For Life has grown to more than 5,000 communities and over 25 countries worldwide.

About American Cancer Society Hope Lodges
Facing cancer is hard. Having to travel out of town for treatment can make it even harder. Yet the American Cancer Society has a place where cancer patients and their caregivers can find help and hope when home is far away - an American Cancer Society Hope Lodge.

Each Hope Lodge offers cancer patients and their caregivers a free, temporary place to stay when their best hope for effective treatment may be in another city. Not having to worry about where to stay or how to pay for lodging allows guests to focus on getting well. Hope Lodge provides a nurturing, home-like environment where guests can retreat to private rooms or connect with others. Every Hope Lodge also offers a variety of resources and information about cancer and how best to fight the disease.

Currently, there are 31 Hope Lodge locations throughout the United States. Accommodations and eligibility requirements may vary by location. To find out more about a Hope Lodge, please call the American Cancer Society at 1-800-227-2345 or visit cancer.org/hopelodge for more information.

Additional Reading:
Relay For Life of Allegany County
American Cancer Society B. Thomas Golisano Hope Lodge Hospitality House
American Cancer Society Hope Lodge in Buffalo

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About the American Cancer Society
The American Cancer Society combines an unyielding passion with nearly a century of experience to save lives and end suffering from cancer. As a global grassroots force of more than three million volunteers, we fight for every birthday threatened by every cancer in every community. We save lives by helping people stay well by preventing cancer or detecting it early; helping people get well by being there for them during and after a cancer diagnosis; by finding cures through investment in groundbreaking discovery; and by fighting back by rallying lawmakers to pass laws to defeat cancer and by rallying communities worldwide to join the fight. As the nation’s largest non-governmental investor in cancer research, contributing more than $3.4 billion, we turn what we know about cancer into what we do. As a result, more than 11 million people in America who have had cancer and countless more who have avoided it will be celebrating birthdays this year. To learn more about us or to get help, call us any time, day or night, at 1-800-227-2345 or visit cancer.org.