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American Cancer Society Telethon raises $261,847

A recent weekend’s American Cancer Society telethon raised a record-setting $261,847, surpassing last year’s total of $254,386.

Some funds from the annual two-day event at Penn’s Peak will be targeted for research. The ACS mission this year is to “end cancer as we know it. For everyone.”

Mark Drill, vice president for the Pennsylvania and New York division of the American Cancer Society, said the organization research is targeting “what cancer is and how it hits the body.”

Dee Mathis, executive director for the Eastern Pennsylvania market, said since 1991 the patient mortality rate has declined by 33 percent, the equivalent of 8 million lives.

Funds are also going to services such as the Hope Lodge, that provides patients and their families with a place to stay when they are in the city for treatment. Lodges, equivalent to an adult Ronald McDonald House, are located in Philadelphia, Baltimore and New York City.

“Patients can stay as long as they need to at no cost,” Mathis said. She added that through the Road to Recovery program patients can get rides to and from the hospital.

The emphasis this year was also on volunteers.

Many volunteer opportunities are available, locally and regionally. Interested people can go to cancer.org for more information.

One coming event is the Pennsylvania Hope Ride. Brian McQuestion, a 20-year cancer survivor, spoke about the May 17 ride, based in the Lancaster area. People can ride from 7.5 to 100 miles.

Cyclist Carl Cramer said this ride started in 2013 to support the Hope Lodges. So far the event has raised $1.3 million to help the program. That’s the equivalent of 5,700 nights for cancer patients and caregivers. “It’s a phenomenal facility, caring and supportive,” Cramer said.

In 2023, one-third of the night stays were from people in the Northeast Pennsylvania region. “That’s over 5,200 nights for our neighbors,” he said.

When his sister was being treated for cancer, Cramer said she saved over $40,000 in hotel bills with Hope Lodge stays.

For more information, visit Pahoperide.org.

Locally, the Relay for Life for the Anthracite Region is coming up Aug. 17 at the Tamaqua High School stadium. Volunteers, teams and sponsors are needed.

Volunteer run events contributed the largest part to the telethon total. For example, the basket auction, daffodils and other events totaled $34,000. East End Fire Company in Tamaqua brought a check for $20,000, raised through the boilo contest and other fundraisers.

The annual Labor Day Zoostock brought in $10,000. A golf tournament raised $8,700.

Steve Ulicny, a Tamaqua teacher, brought in $7,387 from the district’s annual Kids Helping Kids events. There were volleyball tournaments, a Toolshed Jack concert, dress down days and more. This amount was $1,000 over the record amount brought in last year.

Students from Carbon Career and Technical Institute answered the phone to take pledges and brought a check for $2,000. Sue Gerhard, administrative assistant, said the money was raised by 12 different student organizations.

“Each one chose their own fundraising project,” Gerhard said. There were beef stick sales, purse bingos, basket auctions. The faculty had a dress down day.

“We have an awesome group of students,” she said.

They chose the cancer telethon as their charity because “everyone in one form or another is affected by this awful disease,” Gerhard said.

The Palmerton Leo Club raised $1,500 through Gertrude Hawk candy sales.

Three Courage Awards were presented to cancer survivors: Tom McCarroll Sr. of Tamaqua, Kerry Jones Uher of Lansford and Marissa Haas of Emmaus.

Press photo by KATHY PETERS Volunteers celebrate the Cancer Telethon total of $261,847, more than $7,000 more than last year's total. From left are Lori Kane, Lisa Hiles and Joe Krushinky, telethon chairman.
The Harmony Scholars from Panther Valley High School perform on the telethon Sunday afternoon. ERICA HEERY CONTRIBUTED PHOTO