Three teams receive 2020 Hero of Research Award

The Hero of Research Award offers Relay For Life teams who raise at least $165,000 during the Relay season an opportunity to name an existing post-doctoral fellowship research grant in honor of a loved one or their team. Once identified, this named grant is active for three years.

Three teams – Nucor Steel Decatur, Perdue Farms, and Taco Bell (Southern Multifoods) – earned this honor for their fundraising efforts in a difficult 2020 fundraising year. They will be naming their grants this calendar year.

Nucor Steel Decatur and Taco Bell (Southern Multifoods) are renewing their grants earned in 2017.  Perdue Farms is a first-time recipient of this honor and should be proud of their efforts and dedication each year.

Let’s learn more about the teams and the grants they named!


Nucor Steel Decatur

  • Grant name: Nucor Decatur – Farrah Brownlee Rollings Grant
  • Investigator: Tiffany Rios, PhD
  • Institution: New York University School of Medicine
  • Project title: DAP5/eIF3d: Translation Mechanism essential for Breast Cancer Metastasis

Wes Rollings, a member of the Nucor Steel Decatur Relay For Life team, lost his wife Farrah to breast cancer in 2020. In her memory, the grant was named the Farrah Brownlee Rollings Grant. This research project was chosen specifically to help those fighting all types of metastatic breast cancer.

“First of all, I want to say, “thank you” for thinking of Farrah,” said Wes. “That was very thoughtful, and I feel proud that I get to work with teammates like you.”

Their team is passionate and uses the same business model as their company to constantly improve, be passionate, and learn and grow from the past. This year they were “virtually unstoppable” as they pivoted their cycle event to virtual, added greater giving to a golf auction increasing revenues, and the sheer drive to be the best and make a difference.


Perdue Farms

  • Grant name: The Perdue-Lewiston Associate Research Grant
  • Investigator: Michael Lewis, PhD
  • Institution: University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
  • Project title: Defining Enhancer RNA Function in the Pathogenesis of Breast Cancer

The Perdue Farms Relay For Life team consists of associates employed at the Perdue Farms Complex in Lewiston, NC and has raised over 1.7 million dollars since they first organized a Relay For Life team.

The team has been participating in Relay For Life of Bertie County for 25 years. In 2012, the Relay team reached the $100,000 per year status for the first time and has continued to raise well over that each year, averaging around $145,000 per year. They were determined to reach their goal and earn a Hero of Research Award.

“It is a great accomplishment to be able to raise this amount of money to achieve this award plus doing it during a pandemic,” said a member of the team. “Our associates didn’t waiver their giving.”

They chose to name the grant The Perdue-Lewiston Associate Research Grant because Perdue’s associates were the ones that made this happen with their payroll contributions.


Taco Bell (Southern Multifoods)

  • Grant name: Southern Multifoods, Inc. Give Mas, Live Mas Southern Multifoods Grant
  • Investigator: Zachary Wilson, PhD
  • Institution: University of Utah
  • Project title: Regulation of Cell Metabolism by the Mitochondrial Derived Compartment

The Taco Bell (Southern Multifoods) Relay For Life team started raising money for our mission because two employees were battling cancer at the same time. Since 2009, this team has raised an impressive $3,254,326. When they first started raising money for Relay For Life, they never imagined the impact their company would make in so many lives.

Despite the daily duties at their restaurants, managers and team members ask every customer for a donation. The fact that cancer does not discriminate is what unites this team to raise money and fight. Every year their passion for Relay grows even stronger and is celebrated at their local Relay For Life event.

The grant will be named the Southern Multifoods, Inc. Give Más Live Más Grant after all staff at the home office chose the final winner out of six potential names. To them, every dollar raised is helping a mother, father, son, daughter, or friend celebrate another birthday.

ABOUT RELAY

The Relay For Life movement is the American Cancer Society’s signature fundraiser dedicated to helping communities attack cancer. From team members to volunteers, we all want to remember those we’ve lost, help those affected today, and take action against cancer. Through funds donated, time given, or awareness raised, our communities are teaming up to make a difference, whether we’re connecting virtually or sharing space. When we rally together in the fight against cancer through this fun and inspirational event, we can accomplish anything.

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