February is National Cancer Prevention Month, a time to educate the country on the disease, and more importantly, possible ways to prevent it.
According to USAfacts.org, cancer is the second most common cause of death in the US, following heart disease, with COVID taking the number three spot. Nearly 1.9 million new cancer cases are estimated this year with almost 600,000 expected fatalities, indicated on cancer.org. The good news is, US cancer fatalities have decreased nearly 31% from 1991-2018 and 2.4% from 2017-2018. (1)
Prevention methods vary depending on the type of cancer, which include risk factors such as smoking, excessive sun exposure, excess alcohol consumption, obesity, physical inactivity and poor nutrition to name a few. In fact, the American Cancer Society states that over 42% of cancers diagnosed annually (almost 750,000 last year) are avoidable. (1) Click here to view Seven Steps to Prevent Cancer.
While this month marks an active approach to encourage people to get routine exams, become informed of the risks and lead a healthier lifestyle, with the ultimate goal of hopefully reducing this year’s projected statistics, Road Scholar Transport is spreading awareness 12 months of the year with our awareness trucks. Here is a look at some of the organizations we are spreading awareness for.
This year, it is estimated that over 10,500 children between the ages of 0-15 years old will develop cancer, taking the precious lives of around 1,190. (2)
Working together with Liz Scott, who founded the Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation after her 8-year-old daughter Alex passed away from cancer, Road Scholar’s bright yellow tractor trailer was created, featuring an image of young Alex at her lemonade stand with the goal “Fighting Childhood Cancer, One Cup at a Time.”
Alexandra Scott was diagnosed with neuroblastoma before her first birthday. After receiving a stem cell transplant when she was just four years old, Alex wanted to open up a lemonade stand and “give the money to doctors to allow them to ‘help other kids, like they helped me,’” she said. She ended up raising $2,000 that year. As more and more people heard Alex’s story, they too began to open lemonade stands and with their help, Alex was able to raise over $1 million to help find a cure before she passed away at the age of 8.
Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation has raised over $200 million so far.
Working with the Children’s Cancer Recovery Foundation, Road Scholar created a jet black tractor trailer, featuring the foundation’s trademark bear, which is pictured with a red bandana on, a symbol of undergoing chemotherapy. Also portrayed is a happy young cancer survivor.
The organization was created in 1990 after Greg Anderson, their Founder and survivor of a 30 days to live lung cancer diagnosis, visited a children’s hospital for a speaking engagement. After meeting with numerous parents at the hospital, Greg realized that he needed to do something to help. Greg interviewed parents and those responses helped him form the programs the foundation has today.
The Bear-Able Gift program, which delivers gifts to thousands of children each year…items such as board games, toys, crayons, coloring books, markers, video games, puzzles, books, teddy bears, craft kits…all sorts of things that make children smile and laugh…are distributed to hospitals across the country. The Bear-Able Gift Program is the largest supplier of gifts to children with cancer in North America.
The Helping Hands Fund provides emergency bridge payments directly to the utility companies and landlords, ensuring that each child has a warm, safe place to call home while recovering from cancer.
The Camp Scholarship Program allows children in remission to reconnect with those friends and activities. The program provides funding for a camp of their choice; sports, music, art, science, horseback riding, skiing or whatever activities they missed most during treatment.
Children’s Cancer Recovery Foundation operates an extensive international aid program which provides treatment medications and medical supplies to clinics and doctors treating cancer patients in developing and impoverished countries. They also provide medicine and supplies to aid medical professionals in the treatment and prevention of the side effects of cancer including lymphedema and treatment-related infections.
Working with Hebert, Usable Creative of Lafayette, La, and Elmo Rinaldi (President & CEO of Northern Wine & Spirits and who introduced Road Scholar to Sky High), a new awareness truck was born, this one On the Road to Save Lives! Shooting for Comfort, Aiming for a Cure, spreading the word for Sky High for St. Jude, which helps fund research, provide comfort, and save lives at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
“Sky High is a non-profit organization comprised of an army of volunteers that raises funds on behalf of the families undergoing treatment for pediatric cancer and other threatening diseases at St. Jude through sporting clays, concerts, live auctions and golf tournaments,” says Brittany Hebert, Founder of Sky High for St. Jude. “St. Jude has taken pediatric lymphoblastic leukemia from a 4% survival rate in 1962 to 94% in 2015.”
But Road Scholar Transport’s mission does not stop there. We are also spreading awareness for several other cancers as well, including our first awareness truck that started it all, breast cancer awareness.
Beginning on a Saturday morning in October 2007, Road Scholar owner Jim Barrett was facing frustration from his wife and daughters when he could not take an hour off of work to participate in a breast cancer walk that they were attending.
While his wife and daughters were gone, Jim decided to one up them and walked across the street to a company who sells tractor trailers, telling one of their employees that he wanted to buy a brand new trailer but under one condition…that they painted it pink. He then went to a decal place and told the people there that he wanted an eight foot tall oval ribbon with a white background. He now had a pink breast cancer awareness truck.
Jim said to his wife, “Anyone could put on a pink shirt or a pink band around their wrist. Go try an 80,000 pound tractor trailer all pinked up for breast cancer awareness.” His goal was accomplished, he one upped his wife.
The American Breast Cancer Foundation was established in 1997, providing education regarding the disease as well as financial aid to breast cancer patients. The foundation has issued over 46,300 grants since 2007.
Northeast Regional Cancer Institute (Rock on Judi H)
The Northeast Regional Cancer Institute is a non-profit organization focused on “community and patient services, hospital and practice support services, and cancer surveillance,” as well as services as a “local resource for cancer education services, regional statistics and information on cancer.”
Our Rock on Judi H trailer, benefitting the Northeast Regional Cancer Institute, was created in memory of Judi H, musician Paul LaBelle’s niece who passed away from breast cancer in 2007 at the age of 45. LaBelle started the Rock On Judi H campaign, selling $20 raffle tickets featuring a chance to win a one-of-a-kind Pink Lady Guitar, created and autographed by renowned guitar maker Paul Reed Smith. All proceeds from the sales were donated to the Northeast Regional Cancer Institute in Judi’s memory.
Road Scholar Transport jumped in, helping to sell the tickets as well as creating an awareness trailer to continue spreading breast cancer awareness nationwide. The trailer features Judi’s picture along with the Pink Lady Guitar.
When former Road Scholar driver Greg Kearsh became diagnosed with prostate cancer, Jim Barrett wanted to do something to help. With a pink breast cancer truck already standing apart from the rest of the fleet, Jim decided to create a second colorful tractor trailer, this time painted teal and dedicated to prostate cancer awareness.
Around 248,530 new cases will be diagnosed this year across the nation and lead to nearly 34,130 deaths. (3)
While the 3rd leading cause of cancer-related death, pancreatic cancer has the highest mortality rate of cancers. Nearly 60,430 people with be diagnosed this year in the US and over 48,220 pass away.
Road Scholar has taken pancreatic cancer awareness to the next level, painting an 80,000 lb. tractor trailer purple, displaying the disease’s trademark purple ribbon and stars while traveling nationwide on the road to a cure.
While it’s the second most common cancer among men and women, lung cancer causes the most fatalities among all cancers. New lung cancer diagnoses are expected to reach 235,760 this year with almost 131,880 deaths. (4)
The idea to create an awareness truck for Lung Cancer Alliance got started when Linda Sacco, a volunteer at the organization, and her husband, ran into Jim Barrett at an antique car show. Linda’s husband was a former driver for Road Scholar and while catching up, Linda began talking about Lung Cancer Alliance. The idea of creating a trailer for this great organization took off.
Road Scholar’s awareness truck features three of Lung Cancer Alliance’s amazing advocates from Scranton; Karen (a two-time lung cancer survivor) and her husband Jim, along with Linda, who is Karen’s sister.
Lung Cancer Alliance is “the leading and most highly rated lung cancer charity in the country,” explains Kay Bayne, the organization’s Director of Marketing. “We are focused on saving lives and advancing research by empowering those living with and at risk for lung cancer.”
Check out all of Road Scholar’s awareness trucks here.
Don’t forget, Feb. 20 is Love Your Pet Day. Check out our trailers dedicated to our furry friends!