LISTEN TO EPISODE 1
Welcome to the Omega Sports Women’s Only Podcast, hosted by Cleo Faucette.
In this episode, we will be talking to Rachel Urban, Executive Director of the American Cancer Society.
Meet Rachel Urban
Rachel Urban has been with the American Cancer Society for 9 years and 3 months. She started with the American Cancer Society back in 2007 and worked in a couple of different roles in NC before switching gears and joining another organization for 4 years. She started back with the American Cancer Society in July 2020. She’s what’s known as a boomerang.
Returning has been rewarding, difficult, challenging and awesome.
Diane Urban, Rachel’s mother, has been with Omega Sports off and on for about 36 years. Rachel considers Omega part of her family. She’s hunkered down in the back office during sick days, purchased sports equipment, etc.
Rachel’s sport of choice growing up was tennis (much like her mother), swimming and soccer. Greensboro has an excellent soccer scene and Rachel went on to play soccer at UNC Wilmington. She credits it with keeping her disciplined and active during her college years.
The American Cancer Society
The mission of the American Cancer Society is attacking cancer from every angle and they hope to eradicate cancer. They are celebrating 107 years as an organization in 2020.
They attack cancer by building programs and support services. They advocate for the most vulnerable in any community they are in. They do a few things with research and innovation. They are all about building up communities.
They attack from every angle. They help with cancer prevention, diagnosis treatment and aftercare and support services. They fund innovative research beyond NC. They build programs around lodging, patient support, breast cancer mentoring and transportation. They have a 24/7/365 national cancer information center where hundreds of people a day receive guidance and support. They are a voice for the voiceless and the most vulnerable.
The organization emerged from the women’s field army 107 years ago. A group of women, some nurses, and some volunteers started and pushed the organization to exist and helped it become what it is today.
Rachel is Executive Director and her team handles the mountains of western NC to the coast of eastern NC and everything in between. She has a team of 22 people. They have several thousand volunteers.
It has allowed her to be a part of meaningful work, which she cherishes. They do fundraisers through events and campaigns like their walks, health equity work, Relay for Life, Galas in Golf, etc. They have a board that she helps mobilize. And the last part is being a representative of the organization by keeping connected to the community.
Work life balance is so important
With the stresses that come with working in this field, balance is a must. Staying healthy mentally, physically and emotionally is key, especially during COVID.
Rachel could work all the time. She gets calls at all hours of the night and weekends from volunteers, so it’s so important to take care of yourself. Rachel does this by going to the beach, as she finds comfort in the ocean. She also loves walking, yoga and Pilates. Finding that solitude helps her maintain her weight and keeps her in a good headspace so she can take care of her team and volunteer.
Taking care of yourself
Last month was childhood cancer awareness month. Mothers are often the caregivers for their children with cancer. Mothers and anyone in this role need to make sure they take care of themselves. Self-care allows you to care for others to the best of your ability. Women tend to be the last people to care for themselves despite it being so important.
A couple of decades ago, the American Cancer Society really made efforts to deploy support services on breast cancer, transportation, lodging and cancer information 24/7/365.
Cancer information 24/7/365
This is a service that is always open. You can call, live chat, video chat and have a consultation with a caregiver, cancer patient or general community member at cancer.org. They speak 29 languages and these resources have beefed up because of COVID-19.
After Chadwick Boseman’s passing, they saw an 800% uptick in contacts inquiring about colon cancer.
Know your body
This is so important. If you notice something wrong, seek medical advice. For example, if you have always walked up the same set of stairs and suddenly you have problems breathing, this could be a serious issue. Speak to your doctor, early detection is key.
Show up for people
Figure out a way to show up. Do something as simple as dropping off magazines. Remove your assumptions of what you think people need. Check-in, don’t think you’re asking too much or checking in too much. Drop off small gifts you know they’ll love. Talk to them. We don’t want people to be alone.
The internet has a vast amount of resources with tips on ways you can show up. You can check out cancer.org, reach out to their chat line or just do a general google search to learn more ways on how to be there for someone with cancer.
Most cancer patients are at an increased risk of serious illness. This includes COVID-19 and beyond. Chemo can be so rehabilitating. The American Cancer Society follows the guidelines from the CDC and they have set up a cancer and COVID-19 resource page you can check out.
Because of this, you may not be able to physically show up. But utilize things such as zoom to hang out.
Listen with the intent to really hear someone, be present and lead with an open heart. People need to know they aren’t alone.
Staying active is important
The science backs it up. Be active at least 5 days a week for 30 minutes. Eat a healthy diet, limit red meat and eat vegetables and fruit. Stay away from refined sugars. If you lead a healthy lifestyle, you can prevent a lot of cancers like pancreatic, gastrointestinal and colon. Stay away from tobacco because it can play a role in lung cancer, colorectal, gastrointestinal, some ovarian and breast cancer.
Figure out how you can best do this. Start by figuring out how much time you can dedicate. Think about the nuts and bolts. Think about ways you can help such as a podcast to raise awareness. Find something that fulfills you, even if it isn’t cancer related. There are tons of organizations that are looking for volunteers. Figure out what you are good at. And if you don’t have time, donate money. If you have influence, share that.
Who are the three most important women in your life?
Rachel has never heard anyone say themselves. So remember, it’s okay to take time for yourself, seek support and guidance. Utilize resources.
Learn more about the American Cancer Society.