Cancer is serious a subject. However, the American Cancer Society is attacking it from all angles through vital education, support, programs, services, and research with the ultimate goal of eradicating the disease.

“We at the American Cancer Society have taken a very close look at what cancer is and whom it affects,” explains Josiah LaRow, director of community development. “People can forget that cancer touches them on an individual level as well as their family and friends. We take it to a personal level.”

Started in 1913 in New York City, the organization is now nationwide. Its mission is to save lives, celebrate lives and lead the fight for a world without cancer. Programs such as peer support and rides to treatment are vital. The American Cancer Society wants to be with every person diagnosed with cancer and their families every step of the way.

There are many ways to get involved, and the best way is whatever works for the individual. “I volunteered, and now I work for the American Cancer Society and what I love is that whatever way you want to get involved, we can find the right way to make it happen. It can be volunteering at one of our walks, participating, and raising money. It can be leadership. We have a board of volunteers who organize our community in Southern Nevada. You can help to plan our events, or come to our office to learn of other ways to support.”

The impact on the community is resounding. One of the largest events on the west coast is “Making Strides Against Breast Cancer” that took place on Oct. 27 at Red Rock Casino Resort & Spa. “We invite everyone to come out, especially our survivors. When they come out, we have a VIP area for them, and it really makes an impact. 20-year survivors are meeting those who were diagnosed recently, and the connection is incredible. We raise money for programs and research as part of the celebration that people have beat cancer,” says LaRow. In fact, survival rates in the United States have increased over the last few decades. There are expected to be more than 20 million cancer survivors by 2026.

While many may think men wouldn’t wear pink away from the golf course, the “Real Men Wear Pink” campaign proves otherwise and brings together influential men in our community to do just that. The campaign gives these men the opportunity to take action in the fight against breast cancer by raising funds and awareness, not only for their mothers, sisters or wives but for the thousands of men that are diagnosed with breast cancer each year in the United States.

Passion can come from many different places. For one of the Southern Nevada Leadership Board members, it came out of her father’s interaction with the American Cancer Society. While living half a country away, her father was diagnosed with cancer and even with all the family could do, he needed rides to his treatment. The Society connected him with a volunteer driver that not only brought him to and from his appointments but became a friend and confidant during one of the most difficult times in a person’s life. This inspired her to step up and volunteer, because she knew, from personal experience, how important volunteers are to the mission of the American Cancer Society.

The good news is that there are steps that can be taken to help prevent cancer. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle goes a long way. Skin cancer can be avoided by using sunscreen. HPV vaccination can help prevent up to six different types of cancer. Talk to your doctor about what other steps you can take and visit for questions to ask.

The American Cancer Society is here to make that human connection, and their 24/7 toll-free number, 800-227-2345, is always there for people to call for help and guidance. Want to get involved? Call the Las Vegas office at 702-798-6877 to learn more. The Better Business Bureau is proud to have the American Cancer Society as a BBB Accredited Charity.