As rain threatened to dampen Delta’s annual Relay For Life event in Atlanta this past May, Delta employees were undeterred. After all, this is the same group who are canceling cancellations for the airline on a routine basis.
So the guacamole, maracas and libations were kept out and the group pushed forward, helping the airline reach a record-breaking $2 million contribution to the American Cancer Society.
“Whether you’ve experienced cancer first-hand or have a friend or family member that has battled this terrible disease, the reality remains that cancer touches everyone’s life,” said Bill Lentsch, Senior Vice President – Airport Customer Service and Airline Operations. “That’s why our people champion this cause every year, to change that reality and play an active role in finishing the fight.”
Delta has supported the American Cancer Society for 14 years and this year’s $2 million in fundraising far surpasses the 2015 record of $1.7 million. Through fundraising efforts, the airline has contributed more than $10 million to the Society to help in the fight against cancer.
“Delta is an incredible example of how one company can have an impact on the cancer fight – with their employees, their communities and the global community,” said Gary Reedy, CEO of the American Cancer Society. “Every single dollar Delta has helped raise gets us that much closer to the cancer end game and enables us to be there, when and where people facing cancer need help. Last year, for example, we provided free information and support to more than 1.4 million people through the phone, emails and online chats. But we couldn’t do it without partners like Delta.”
Delta’s support of the American Cancer Society started with local Relay For Life events and has grown into a company-wide, international fundraising campaign. But the program remains an employee-led initiative.
“It’s still very much a grassroots effort, with frontline Delta people making it possible,” said Kelley Moore, General Manager – Airport Customer Service Communication and Employee Engagement.
From fundraisers at 112 airports in 13 countries on Delta Day of Hope to the Jet Drag event, which pits teams of 20 against a 757 aircraft in an epic tug-of-war battle, Delta people organize and fundraise all year long. There’s even a group of maintenance technicians at Delta’s Technical Operations Center that serves grits every Wednesday for $3 a bowl, with all proceeds supporting the American Cancer Society.
As for the money raised, the American Cancer Society uses the funds to support lifesaving initiatives, including medical research, education and patient service programs.