PANAMA CITY -- The American Cancer Society is in the midst of its largest fundraising effort of the year, Relay for Life. This year the local chapter is expanding the campaign to include the Hope Lodge in Gainesville.
The Hope Lodge provides housing for cancer patients, receiving treatment at Shands hospital.
Carie Wailgum is organizing many of the Relay for Life events across the panhandle. She's not only hoping to raise money for the American Cancer Society, but also money and items for the Hope Lodge in Gainesville.
"These are things that our patients are needing as they go through treatment and this is a completely free service that the American Cancer Society provides to some of our registered patients so when they go down there they can focus on getting well," Wailgum said.
So far donations include things like toilet paper and food items. They hope to get more this Friday. Donors can bring in food, checks, even gift cards.
The goal is to provide comfort and ease to the patients staying at the Hope Lodge. Hope Lodges across America serve more than 41,000 cancer patients a year at no cost to the patient or their family.
Volunteer Mission Education Chair Jennifer Jacobus said, "I hope they find it encouraging that volunteers are here to help them make their situation a little better in any way that we can."
"I would say get involved. If it's not through a team it's through a hope lodge donation drive and if it's not through that come be an office volunteer come out and walk the event and support the survivors. There's tons of ways to get involved,” said Wailgum.
You can make a donation this week during the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life team party. It’s at 6:00 Thursday evening at St. Andrews Assembly of God Church.