Delta’s support of the American Cancer Society started with local Relay For Life events and has grown into a company-wide, international fundraising campaign. But the program remains an employee-led initiative. From fundraisers at 112 airports in 13 countries on Delta Day of Hope to the Jet Drag event, which pits teams of 20 against a 757 aircraft in an epic tug-of-war battle, Delta people organize and fundraise all year long. There’s even a group of maintenance technicians at Delta’s Technical Operations Center that serves grits every Wednesday for $3 a bowl, with all proceeds supporting the American Cancer Society.
10 years ago, a group of Delta people in the Minneapolis airport who had participated in their community Relay For Life decided to host a Relay in their airport. As they said, "the airport family IS our community." That airport Relay was so successful and inspiring, the effort has spread around the world. Now with over 100 airports hosting Relay For Life fundraising and awareness events on the same day, the Delta Day of Hope is a vital part of Delta's overall campaign to raise $2.25 million this year to support the Society.
The annual Jet Drag is one of the most unique fundraisers. A total of 107 teams of 20 people each competed for the fastest time to pull a 127-ton Boeing 757 aircraft 20 feet. About 3,000 participants made for a festive day at Atlanta TechOps. Last year, the LAX Men's Division team, Rain Is Not, walked away with the victory with a winning pull time of 7.410 seconds. Not far behind, the SLC Women's Team finished with a time of 9.463 seconds, Team Bangahz topped the Mixed Division with a time of 8.533 and in the Corporate Division, the IMMEC team finished at 8.879. The top fundraisers were Gretchen's Gazelles, pulling in $131,000 as a team and Mike Weigel, who raised $17,000 individually.
In 2018, the 6th annual Delta Wings of Hope golf tournaments took place in New York on July 16th at the Muttontown Club and in Atlanta on September 10th at the Druid Hills Golf Club. The golf tournaments also include brunch or dinner and a post-golf reception. The Delta Wings of Hope tournament in New York raised just over $296,500 with an additional $256,800 raised from the Atlanta tournament. The Delta Wings of Hope tournaments together broke $550,000 including $256,800 from the Atlanta tournament. On the main page, it states "Delta has partnered with the American Cancer Society for 17 years beginning with local Relay For Life events and growing into a company-wide, international fundraising campaign. "
Delta Air Lines is celebrating 20 years of partnership with the American Cancer Society beginning with local Relay For Life events and growing into a company-wide, international fundraising campaign..
Cancer is something that affects all of us.
In 2022, Delta Air Lines and the American Cancer Society celebrate 20 years of partnership. After a pandemic pause, Delta’s Relay for Life & Jet Drag saw more than 2,500 from across the nation raise funds and participate in a day that puts the fun in fundraising. With 150 teams pulling a 757 airplane, Team Delta raised over $780,000 at this year’s event.
Delta’s commitment doesn’t stop with Relay For Life events. Delta serves as presenting sponsor for Delta Wings of Hope golf tournaments in Atlanta and New York, and Hope Ball in Atlanta. This summer, Delta Day of Hope will return with 112 airports in 13 countries sharing the mission of the American Cancer Society.
“Whether you’ve experienced cancer firsthand or have a friend or family member that has battled this terrible disease, the reality remains that cancer touches everyone’s life," explained Eric Phillips, Senior Vice President Airport Customer Service and Airline Operations. “That’s why our people champion this cause every year, to change that reality and play an active role in finishing the fight.” Through fundraising efforts, the airline and its employees have contributed more than $16 million to the fight against cancer.
More than 11 million cancer survivors are alive today and some of them work at Delta. These survivors and their stories are just another reason why they continue their efforts to save more lives.
Flight Attendant, International
Breast Cancer Survivor
Together, Delta and the American Cancer Society have been able to do great things, moving us one step closer to achieving a world free from the pain and suffering of cancer.