Majority of ‘Relay’ funds

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 28, 2000

go toward finding cure


Features Editor

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Each year, the Relay for Life campaign raises money for the American Cancer Society.

Each year, there are those who ask, "Where does the money go?"

Nedetria Talbot, chairperson of the Pike County Relay for Life board, has the answers.

Talbot said the American Cancer Society is the largest source of of private, not-for-profit, cancer research funds in the United States, second only to the federal government in total dollars spent.

To date, the ACS has invested more than $2 billion in cancer research, Talbot said.

A breakdown of how the money is used by the ACS shows that 79.4 percent of every dollar goes to research, public and professional education and patient services.

Only 2.8 percent is spent on administrative costs. The remaining 17.7 percent is used to cover the expenses of fund raising and in community services.

"Right here in Alabama, we can see the benefits of Relay in the recently dedicated Joe Lee Griffin Hope Lodge in Birmingham," Talbot said. "The Hope Lodge, which is supported by the ACS, provides housing free of charge, on a first-come, first served basis, to cancer patients and their families during the course of their treatment. The lodge will not only reduce the financial burden, but also provide a much needed supportive environment."

The ACS’s biggest contribution to the cure for cancer comes in the form of research and now it looms even larger.

"Scientists have always welcomed support from the ACS but never before have they depended on it the way they do now," she said. "Cutbacks in the federal budget make fewer funds available for cancer research. The irony of the situation is that, just as advances in medicine, pharmacology and technology are closing in on the mysteries of cancer, the resources they need are becoming less and less."

Over the years, researchers have accomplished much in the detection and treatment of cancer.

"Without their efforts, there would not be the Pap Smear, chemotherapy, knowledge of oncogenes and supressor genes, bone marrow transplants or new breast cancer treatment detection and treatment methods such as lumpectomy and mastectomy, the BRCAI gene and estrogen replacement therapy," Talbot said.

Research funded by the American Cancer Society is responsible for recent solutions to cancers considered deadly only a few years ago, Talbot said.

According to Talbot, leukemia, kidney cancer, bone cancer and testicular cancer can now often be treated and controlled, something that may soon be possible for some of the 100 types of cancer as well.

"The good news is that through research, today one of every two people diagnosed with cancer will survive the disease," Talbot said. "That’s very different from 30 years ago when only one in four people conquered cancer."