Nashoba Valley Rotarian Leigh Carpenter speaks about the American Cancer Society
  • Gino Frattellone, Littleton Rotarian
  • The next Bolton Repair Café will be held on January 23, at a new location, the Sawyer School.
  • Our next meal packaging event will be held on Saturday, February 6 at NRHS. Other clubs will be joining us, including the NRHS Interact club.
  • The District Conference this year will be in Plymouth, and called “Plymouth Rocks.” This will be an expanded conference, and our club will have a table where we can display our projects. The price of the conference will go up in February, so register before then.
  • The “Power of Change” will be held Tuesday, January 26 unless there’s snow, in which case it will be January 28.  The recipient this year is Acre Family Child Care of Lowell, an organization that teaches women financial skills, writing marketing plans, and how to run their own day care business.
  • Snow policy reminder: Our club follows the schools. If school is closed, we have no meeting; if it’s delayed and the meeting is scheduled for the morning, we will have no morning meeting, but if it’s scheduled for the evening, we will meet.
  • Birthdays: Fatima, February 7; Bob, February 18.
Happy/sad fines:
  • Karin, representing the Christmas elf, gave a “Service above Self” pin to Mary Ann for her work to establish the fast-growing Interact Club at NRHS.
  • Nanci: happy that the Healing Garden’s new video is finished.
  • Chris: having some 20 boy scouts to the house in Wareham.
  • Ron: his Christmas tree is still up, but it’s okay, because it isn’t shedding needles.
  • Carol: sad that so many acquaintances are sick or injured, but happy that everyone is on the mend.
  • Laura: happy to see family in Ohio and the children home,  and happy again that they’re now gone.
  • Ray: today is his last day of work!
  • Terry: happy to be in the club.
  • Jacky: delighted to be taking a “bucket list” trip with her husband to Tortola and a few other islands.
  • Leigh: her niece has begun calling her “auntie” and she saw Star Wars with her dad at a veterans’ benefit.
  • Jim: happy that half his term has passed, and no one has complained.
Our speaker was the newest member of our club, Leigh Carpenter. As Senior Market Manager, Community Engagement, for the American Cancer Society, Leigh serves as the primary relationship manager for small, medium and large size businesses to engage with the American Cancer Society as a charity of choice through event participation, sponsorship, employee wellness programs, group volunteerism, advocacy and more.
Leigh spoke about several initiatives and projects to raise awareness of what exactly the American Cancer Society does and the research they’re engaged in. One, for instance, is a program to provide beauty products for cancer patients, donated by some of the leading product makers. The impact on patients’ self-esteem is inspiring. Another is Road to Recovery, a volunteer program that will take patients to and from their appointments.  This is one program that the ACS can’t meet without the assistance of volunteers.
Still another program that would be impossible without volunteers is Bridge to Recovery, a pairing of current patients with cancer survivors—people who know what the patient is feeling, and can provide social support, and can relate directly to the individual’s situation.
They maintain a database that contains all the community and organizational cancer screenings, and a 24-hour, 365-day telephone line. Anyone can call this line any time of day to find out about local support groups. Friends and family often say, “Call me any time,” but we don’t want to burden them with our problems. Trained phone staff can talk through fears and anxieties. And nurses and clinicians can answer general questions.
Fundraising events include bike rides, a plane pull (volunteers band together to pull an airplane; in Boston, they pulled a 747!), walks for cancer. Awareness campaigns are simply to inform the public about carcinogens; anti-smoking campaigns, for instance, and most recently the dangers of tanning beds, and E-cigarettes.
Lobby Day is another important awareness event.  On March 10, volunteers and staff from across the state will converge on Beacon Hill to do just that. The 2016 Lobby Day will be an opportunity to share personal stories related to cancer, and to urge state lawmakers to make fighting cancer a top state priority. 
The American Cancer Society is the largest nonprofit funder of cancer research.  A month ago, Congress voted to increase funding, for the first time in decades. A short video, the One Degree Campaign, that helped with this effort is at:
The society’s focus is on young researchers. Young researchers, if they receive funding, are likely to continue.
One final note: The ACS has set a goal for colon cancer screening, to have 80%of people tested by 2018. Massachusetts is well on the way, but in other places where access to centers is inconvenient or for other reasons, much work still needs to be done. Yet colon cancer is one of the most preventable cancers, provided it’s caught early.