ROANOKE, VIRGINIA – AUGUST 15, 2012 - Betty Lesko of Moneta, Va. is one of 26 inspirational individuals who recently received the American Cancer Society’s St. George National Award for outstanding service to the community in support of the Society’s mission to combat cancer. Recipients were chosen based on ongoing leadership, time commitment, and dedication to areas such as mission delivery, patient support, legislative advocacy, fundraising and event engagement.
All nominees for this award have dedicated at least six years of their time to the fight against cancer and for more birthdays, and have significantly contributed to advancing the Society’s mission. Since conceived in 1949 by Dr. Charles S. Cameron, former Society medical and scientific director, the St. George award has been presented annually to Society volunteers nationwide.
Lesko, a 23-year volunteer for the Society, has created a legacy in expanding the Society’s mission, fundraising, volunteer engagement and community presence in Roanoke Valley. By the time she completed her first six years volunteering for the American Cancer Society, she was serving on the organization’s local board of directors and volunteer leadership council and had already helped cofound the Society’s Roanoke Valley Discovery Shop.
The popular Roanoke Valley Discovery Shop offers quality new and gently used merchandise, including clothing, jewelry, furniture, collectibles and home goods. In 2007, Lesko helped to open a second shop exclusively selling furniture at Smith Mountain Lake. The two shops have generated more than $4.5 million for the American Cancer Society’s programs and services for cancer patients and caregivers, research to improve early detection, prevention and treatment options, as well as cancer education and support for cancer-related legislation.
But the value of Lesko’s dedication to the Society goes beyond financial contributions. Over the years, she has recruited other community members to volunteer for the shops and local events like the Pink Ribbon Tea Fashion Show, now a Gathering Luncheon, to benefit the Society. Lesko has recruited volunteers to serve on the Society’s volunteer leadership council, building a team of passionate cancer advocates who wanted to see more programs offered in their community. With Lesko’s leadership, the Smith Mountain Lake Discovery Shop became a hub for local volunteers and cancer patients seeking support and guidance.
The shop offers them access to the Society’s transportation assistance program so patients can get rides to treatment. Without this service, many patients would miss lifesaving treatment and their recovery would be affected. Patients are also linked to the Society to help with the appearance-related side effects of treatment, as well as support groups for men facing prostate cancer and women facing breast cancer.
“The St. George National Award recipients share a passion with the American Cancer Society for helping to create a world with less cancer and more birthdays,” said W. Phil Evans, M.D., F.A.C.R., president of the American Cancer Society. “We are proud to honor volunteers like Betty Lesko for their exemplary service to the Society’s mission.”
Lesko was previously honored with the Volunteer Involvement Award from the Society’s Roanoke Valley Unit in 2000.
About the American Cancer Society
The American Cancer Society combines an unyielding passion with nearly a century of experience to save lives and end suffering from cancer. As a global grassroots force of more than three million volunteers, we fight for every birthday threatened by every cancer in every community. We save lives by helping people stay well by preventing cancer or detecting it early; helping people get well by being there for them during and after a cancer diagnosis; by finding cures through investment in groundbreaking discovery; and by fighting back by rallying lawmakers to pass laws to defeat cancer and by rallying communities worldwide to join the fight. As the nation’s largest non-governmental investor in cancer research, contributing more than $3.5 billion, we turn what we know about cancer into what we do. As a result, more than 11 million people in America who have had cancer and countless more who have avoided it will be celebrating birthdays this year. To learn more about us or to get help, call us any time, day or night, at 1-800-227-2345 or visit cancer.org. For cancer news in your community, visit sacancernews.org.
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