- Cullman, Alabama

April 28, 2014


Special to The Times

— For more than 20 years, a large group of Cullman County residents have banded together with one common goal in mind: to help in the fight against cancer. We do that because we all have loved ones who have been affected by cancer. We’ve lost precious family members and friends to the disease. We’ve watched helplessly as they’ve struggled through treatments. We’ve held their hand and cried with them through their darkest times and erupted in joyous celebration with each victory.

We raise money through the American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life because of we hope and pray for a time when future generations won’t have to take on those struggles. We raise money so that one day future generations will only hear of cancer in their history books.

As volunteers, we have raised well over $1 million since the first Relay For Life of Cullman County. Well more than half of that money used by the ACS for research, education and patient support services.

Those monies come back to the county time and again in the form of new treatments, testing procedures that catch cancer early and making chances of survival increase exponentially. The ACS uses that money for educational materials that teach us ways to decrease our cancer risks and many other ways that help in the fight against cancer.

Almost 60 percent of the funds generated by the American Cancer Society goes back into the programs and services it provides, according to the Charity Navigator website ( The next largest expenditure is fundraising efforts, at just over 34 percent. A slim 6.1 percent is used for administrative costs.

Volunteers like those with Relay For Life of Cullman County who give so much of their time, money, sweat and tears wouldn’t do that without a big goal in mind. That goal, of course, is to be a part of finding the cure for cancer.

They don’t have to be the scientist who finally discovers the cure, but they can be one of the background players who help fund that scientist’s work. They can be one of those people whose donation helped a cancer patient get free lodging while they receive treatments far from home. They can help the more than 25 million people who access the 24 hour, toll-free ACS hotline (1-800-227-2345) and website ( seeking answers to their questions.

We, as volunteers, see so much value in what we do for ACS and what they do for everyone we love. We see our work with Relay For Life as investment in our future, in the future of our loved ones and in the future for all mankind.

Gail Crutchfield, publicity chair

Relay For Life of Cullman County