Why Relay for Life is a Vital Cause

Howard Wilner
3 min readJul 9, 2019
Howard Wilner on Why Relay for Life is a Vital Cause

Cancer is one of the leading causes of death in the world, according to the World Health Organization. In the U.S, 1 out of 3 people are diagnosed with cancer. As such, the American Cancer Society (ACS) spearheads its signature annual fundraising event, Relay For Life, as part of the mission to help cancer patients and their families.

Relay For Life is an event where participants take turns walking around a track. Different teams participate, with each team having one member on the track at all times. This signifies the fact that cancer never sleeps, and cancer patients continue the tiresome fight. Aside from the track, participants can also enjoy other attractions such as games, bake sales, and performing bands. The proceeds of Relay For Life go to ACS mission programs like patient support services, cancer research, prevention and education measures, and cancer detection and treatment.

Relay For Life receives a massive amount of support every year, both from the public and its company partners. Howard Wilner, president of Automax Preowned in Framingham, Massachusetts, is one of these partners, having recently announced its sponsorship for the Relay For Life in the cities of Marlborough, Attleboro, and Natick in Massachusetts. Wilner is a dedicated community volunteer and shares the vision of a cancer-free future.

Howard Wilner believes in the purpose of Relay For Life and shares the importance of this great cause.

Helps cancer patients and their families

The physical, mental, and emotional weight that cancer brings drains the affected. Heavier still are the financial burdens imposed by cancer, since chemotherapy and treatments are not cheap. Relay For Life somehow eases this through patient support services.

For those who get their treatments from other cities, ACS provides free lodging near treatment centers, so the patient and his caregiver won’t have the need to travel back and forth. Similarly, ACS also has the Road to Recovery Program, which provides rides to patients who are unable to get to treatment centers.

Breast cancer patients receive unique support through the Reach to Recovery program, where patients are matched with volunteers who will help them cope with breast cancer diagnosis and treatment.

There’s also a 24/7 helpline, dubbed as the National Cancer Information Center (NCIC). The NCIC provides accurate and unbiased information about cancer to patients and their families. With trained cancer information specialists, patients are connected to valuable services and resources in their communities.

Howard Wilner says that the ACS offers more services, such as personal cancer guides and financial help for hospital bills, all of which are fruits of the Relay For Life movement.

Funds Research

To continuously find better treatments for cancer, extensive research is needed. Relay For Life allocates a substantial amount for cancer research such as molecular genetics, cancer cell biology, clinical cancer research, and cancer control and prevention.

ACS also conducts large-scale cancer prevention studies, leading to effective implementation of cancer prevention and control programs worldwide.

Raise awareness

Howard Wilner believes that one of the most powerful things that Relay For Life does is increase people’s awareness about cancer. Every year, over 5,000 Relay For Life events take place in 20 countries, which means that the movement is taking leaps globally. People who support this fundraising event are not only those affected by cancer or know someone who had cancer, but even people who just love to help the community and raise funds for the noble cause.

Wilner says raising awareness paves the way for powerful changes. For instance, education on cancer helps people take preventative measures, while early cancer detection increases chances of survival. Since 1991, ACS saw a 23% decline in cancer rates, which calculated to 1.7 million fewer cancer deaths in the last 27 years.

Provides a fun and meaningful experience

Participating in Relay For Life is both an emotional and inspirational experience. Aside from the games and entertainment, being there and embracing that you are part of a unique community gives you a new sense of appreciation for life. Meeting new people and listening to their stories will make you feel an overwhelming support. Whether you’re a cancer patient, a survivor, or someone who is honoring a loved one who passed away, Relay For Life provides a deep and meaningful experience.

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Howard Wilner

President of Automax Preowned in Framingham, Massachusetts.