It seems like every American has been affected by cancer in one way or another. Behind cardiovascular disease, it is the number two leading cause of death in the United States. Those of us in the Pacific Northwest are no exception. That’s why TwinStar Credit Union and the American Cancer Society have teamed up to raise awareness, donations, and a few spirits all across the South Sound.

The American Cancer Society (ACS) has been around since 1913, and they do everything from intensive research to providing free rides for patients to receive their treatment. Since its inception, the ACS is proud to have contributed to a 25% drop in the cancer mortality rate within the United States. It’s because of this kind of “in the trenches” approach that the folks at TwinStar Credit Union wanted to get involved.

Twinstar Relay for Life
TwinStar has their own Relay for Life Team in Thurston County. Photo courtesy: TwinStar Credit Union

“We selected the ACS for a few reasons,” says Corinn Wohl, Director of Business Development at TwinStar. “I appreciate the fact that they make significant investments in research grants, as well as provide local services for cancer patients and their caregivers. Funding for research provided by the ACS helped lead to the discovery of the connection between the BRCA gene mutation and the increased risk of breast, ovarian, prostate, pancreatic, and melanoma cancers. Being BRCA positive myself, this meant a lot to me! I also appreciate the fact that they are a primarily volunteer organization working diligently to minimize overhead. At TwinStar, we look to partner with organizations that share the same commitment to our communities that we do.”

It is that commitment to the community that brought TwinStar and ACS together. This began with TwinStar setting up a team for the Thurston County Relay for Life event.

LaMarco Mitchell
La Marco Mitchell wearing pink in support of breast cancer. Photo courtesy: TwinStar

“TwinStar has had a team in the Thurston County Relay for Life for quite a few years now,” recalls La Marco Mitchell, Senior Community Manager at the American Cancer Society. “In fact, they’re one of the top fundraising teams. That’s how the relationship began. Recently, Corinn joined our board. She’s had an immediate impact by helping our staff develop new relationships and strengthen existing ones. There is a lot to be said about local relationships and good character. Because of those relationships, the mission of the American Cancer Society and information about how to access our programs and services has been shared to the County Commissioners, community service groups, local businesses, and so many more. It’s been great!”

Mitchell’s own relationship with the disease helped shape his decision to join the ACS. “Cancer took my father when I was a freshman in high school,” he says. “It wasn’t until I experienced my first Luminaria ceremony at a Relay For Life that I was able to release the anger, sadness, the wondering why did it happen to him, and all the other emotions that I’d held in for a decade. I didn’t know I carried all that with me. The special thing is that it felt safe because everyone who was there had felt what I felt. They understood and they were there for me. I walked with people I never knew. I shared and they shared. It was amazing. Recently, cancer has hit my family ruthlessly. This is how I fight for those that I’ve lost and those that are battling cancer.”

Twinstar Relay for Life
For many, the Relay for Life event is a personal one. Photo courtesy: TwinStar Credit Union

From the ACS’s perspective, the relationship with TwinStar is the perfect fit. “It is great to be working with an organization that’s doing business for the right reasons,” adds Mitchell. “I feel it with the personal relationships that I have with TwinStar employees. I see it when I am in the community at events where TwinStar employees are, or where the company has a presence. They are people you want to be around and an organization that you feel comfortable doing business with.”

To this, Wohl agrees. “TwinStar is a not-for-profit, member-owned financial institution founded on the seven cooperative principles,” she says. “Giving back to the community is simply who we are! We will continue to provide a simple and intimate experience for our members and employees, build strong community partnerships, and support community causes in all our service areas.”

Among TwinStar Credit Union’s 400 employees, more than 5,000 volunteer hours have been credited in 2017 alone. Additionally, in 2017 the TwinStar Community Foundation granted $115,000 in scholarships. Their organization has donated $260,000 toward community events, sponsorships, and company sponsored labor, and $145,000 provided to social responsibility.

For more information about the American Cancer Society and how you can help, please check out their website here.

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