For Suzann Hensley, the American Cancer Society’s mission to eliminate cancer is personal.
Hensley, the assistant director of campus recreation at Tennessee Tech University, survived uterine cancer nine years ago. Today, she is working hard to help the American Cancer Society begin its latest study into the causes of the disease that kills more than half a million people a year in the U.S.
On August 1 and 2, the TTU Fitness Center will be one of several sites around the Upper Cumberland where people between the ages of 30 and 65 who have never had cancer can sign up for the American Cancer Society’s newest 20-year-long study.
“It is a long-term commitment,” said Hensley, who since she is a survivor is not eligible to participate. “But it’s a very small amount of time that could be the difference between life and death for someone.”
Volunteer participants will come to TTU to have their blood drawn. Every few years, the Cancer Society will send them a survey to complete. This is the third large-scale, long-term study the society has done in the past 50 years.
“The first was in the 1950s and lasted 20 or 25 years,” Hensley said. “Because of it we know how dangerous tobacco is to our health and we are better able to teach children not to start smoking. It’s also why legislators around the country and world have introduced smoking bans in restaurants and public places.”
Participants do not need to be connected with TTU. The university is simply serving as a site for the American Cancer Society. To register and choose an appointment time to have blood drawn, visit www.cps3uppercumberland.org. Each session should take about 20 minutes.
“The American Cancer Society says they want to get 500 participants in the Upper Cumberland, we’re hoping to get that many coming to Tech,” she said. “If someone has had cancer or is too young or too old to participate, they can still help by recruiting someone else. That’s what I’m doing.”
Other sites in Putnam County include Baxter Elementary School and Life Church. The Central Baptist Church in Cumberland County and the Chamber of Commerce in Warren County are also serving as host sites.