Lynchburg, Va. (WFXR) — The American Cancer Society has encountered a two-hundred million dollar deficit nationally and has lost five million dollars in our area due to COVID’s impact on the nonprofit’s biggest fundraiser of the year, Relay for Life.
The loss in funding has cut cancer research efforts nearly in half. The American Cancer Society is second only to the National Government for cancer research in the world, making cuts in monetary support detrimental to not only research but the vast programs that are provided to those inflicted with the disease.
In lieu of the losses, the American Cancer Society Southeast Region is hosting a Relay for Life Auction calling on the community to make bids for breakthroughs. Bidding opportunities begin on Thursday, November 12th.
Gerald Winfield graciously shares his personal battle with cancer and why he chooses to be an advocate for those affected by cancer.
“It’s important that we get out there and support the American Cancer Society. You may not be affected by it, but you will know somebody who is affected by it.”Gerald Winfield, Cancer Fighter and Advocate
Gerald Winfield is one of those people, along with 1,762,450 others that were diagnosed with cancer in 2019.
Gerald had a growing lump on his neck. A painful sneeze is what led him to seek medical advice on August 23rd of 2019. His diagnosis came back as Hodgkins Lymphoma, however, he didn’t want to know the severity.
“I entrusted my wife with the information. She got me through a lot of things with what the Doctor said and what my nurse said. I didn’t want to know at first. It scared me, it still scares me.”Gerald Winfield, Cancer Fighter and Advocate
“All of his scans and test results, he never saw them. I reviewed them all with the doctors and made the decisions of the next steps.”Heather Winfield, Cancer Wife and Cancer Advocate
Gerald’s wife of twenty-one years, Heather kept the details of his diagnosis to herself for two whole months, bearing the knowledge that her husband was battling stage four cancer.
“My whole thing at the moment was fight, fight, fight like crazy. I don’t care what it was, you fight, fight, fight. I don’t care what stage, what not, it was already in my mind I was gonna fight.”Gerald Winfield, Cancer Fighter and Advocate
Fight Gerald did; eventually finding out what he was up against himself. Three rounds of chemotherapy and radiation later, September brought the sound of bells. The vibration of sound, the high emotions, all representing a second chance.
“Once you hear remission it’s like you’re born again, your life starts all over. You get a new lease on life right there.”Gerald Winfield, Cancer Fighter and Advocate
Gerald attributes his strength to his wife, daughters, and faith. However, cancer is a life’s battle for himself and other’s, which is why he and his family are dedicated to American Cancer Society’s mission even in remission.
“We need every funding possible, every donation possible so we can find a cure for all of cancer.”Gerald Winfield, Cancer Fighter and Advocate
Senior Community Development Manager for the American Cancer Society Southeast, Amanda Darling- Thompson wants the community to understand that the upcoming auction is much more than an event.
“It’s not necessarily about fundraising for an event, we’re fundraising to help American Cancer Society continue to save lives from cancer. As you know cancer doesn’t stop for a pandemic, it would be great if it did. We have to continue raising the much-needed funds so that we can continue the work that saves lives, that funds our research efforts, that provides our patients and their families with their local services. We cannot do it without the community support.”Amanda Darling- Thompson, Sr, Community Development Manager, American Cancer Society S.E.
- Learn more about the American Cancer Society
- Make a bid for the American Cancer Society – Southeast Region – VA RFL Auction
- Follow Gerald Winfield’s journey, The Winfield Warriors