Every December, countless men and women in the Mohawk Valley vow to do more for their community in the new year. And with nearly 2,000 people expected to be diagnosed with cancer in 2016 in Oneida and Herkimer counties alone, one of the most impactful ways to give back is by getting involved with your local American Cancer Society.

The American Cancer Society offers a variety of unique ways to get involved that accommodate all schedules and preferences. Some local opportunities are listed below. An American Cancer Society mission delivery expert is also available to be interviewed about ways to give back.
To learn more about any of these opportunities or to get involved, call 1-800-227-2345 or visit cancer.org.

  • 1

    Road To Recovery Volunteer Driver

    Own a car and like to drive? Apply to be a Road To Recovery volunteer driver. The American Cancer Society Road To Recovery program provides free rides for cancer patients to and from treatments. Trained volunteer drivers donate their time and the use of their personal vehicles to help patients get to the treatments they need.

    •  Time commitment: You get to keep a flexible schedule by choosing the days and times you’re available to help.
    • Training and requirements: Volunteers must complete an initial new volunteer training and subsequent annual training updates to ensure high-quality service delivery nationwide. Volunteer drivers must have a current, valid driver’s license, proof of automobile insurance, and own a safe and reliable vehicle. Drivers must be between the ages of 18-84 and be willing to have a background check and motor vehicle records check to ensure volunteer and patient safety.
  • 2

    Look Good Feel Better Volunteer

    Becoming a Look Good Feel Better volunteer is a fun way to help patients learn beauty techniques and feel better about themselves during cancer treatment. In-person workshops help women with cancer manage the appearance-related side effects of treatment. Trained volunteer beauty professionals teach simple techniques on skin care, makeup, and nail care, and give practical tips on hair loss, wigs, and head coverings. The program is a collaboration of the Personal Care Products Council Foundation, the American Cancer Society, and the Professional Beauty Association.

    • Time Commitment: Volunteer opportunities generally involve a few hours per month, and we work with your schedule.
    • Training and requirements: A certification class and a biannual update class are required. To conduct a group program or consultation you should be an experienced beauty professional.
  • 3

    Cancer Resource Volunteer

    If you like one-on-one and small group interaction, are a cancer survivor, have been a caregiver, or have had a family member or friend diagnosed with cancer, you will appreciate the experience of being a Cancer Resource Volunteer. As a trained volunteer at a cancer resource center, you would interact with cancer patients and caregivers and be a conduit to information about cancer types, treatments, cancer screenings, and support services provided by the American Cancer Society and other organizations.

    • Time commitment: Long-term opportunities are available. Most opportunities take place during regular business hours, Monday through Friday.
    • Training and requirements: Volunteers must go through local training to be familiar with the Cancer Resource Center’s services. Additional confidentiality training or other preparations may also be necessary. Volunteers must be prepared to provide compassionate assistance to cancer patients, family members and friends.
    Jacob Ammentorp Lund/ThinkStock
  • 4

    Volunteer With Relay For Life!

    Want to get involved with the most successful fundraising event in the world? Become a volunteer with Relay For Life! At Relay For Life events, teams camp out overnight and take turns walking or running around a track to raise funds for the fight against cancer. Events are up to 24 hours long, and each team is asked to have at least one participant on the track at all times. Relay volunteers help with registration, logistics, participant support, and other unique opportunities based on the event’s location. Or you can be a Relay For Life team member or team leader and volunteer your time toward participating in the event and fundraising.

    • Time commitment: Varies. Event Leadership Team members usually meet evenings to plan the event. Relay For Life team members meet whenever is convenient for your team, and the event itself is one day in the Spring.
    • Training and requirements: Relay For Life Event Leadership Team members who help plan the event may have required training and orientation based on their roles, and there may be on-site training for day-of-event volunteers. There is no training required for fundraising team members, but optional tutorial meetings are offered.
  • 5

    ACS CAN Volunteers

    Use your passion for politics to help enact laws and policies that will make cancer a top national priority. ACS CAN volunteers work to make sure our leaders take real steps toward finishing the fight against cancer. As the nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate of the American Cancer Society, ACS CAN holds lawmakers accountable for their words and their actions. As an ACS CAN volunteer, you will meet with legislators, plan events, encourage new membership, and help make phone calls. With the help of our volunteers, ACS CAN campaigns have led to 35 states going smoke-free and increased federal cancer research funding for the National Institutes of Health.

    • Time commitment: Short-term and long-term volunteer opportunities are available. Opportunities range from a few minutes a day or an hour a week, to more involved positions that allow you to make a larger impact.
    • Training and requirements: ACS CAN provide training for volunteers to help them become effective advocates.
    Catherine Yeulet/ThinkStock