Community joins fight against cancer

Published 6:49 pm Friday, August 21, 2015

FivePoint loan program generates $350K for ACS

NEDERLAND — Rene Doise and the Relay for Life of Mid- and South Jefferson County event co-leads rallied inside the FivePoint Credit Union administrative office Friday morning, joking about “ugly crying” while preparing themselves for “the best-kept secret” donation in the organization’s history.

Mandy Clayton, FivePoint director of financial education and Relay for Life co-lead, said she was eager to celebrate “the largest single-donor donation” the Mid- and South County Relay has ever received in its 20 years with the American Cancer Society.

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“This whole thing has been very secretive — very hush hush,” Doise, American Cancer Society High Plains Division community manager, said. “They won’t even tell me the amount, which means I’m probably going to cry when I see this check in person.”

True to her word, Doise let the tears fall when the oversized check from FivePoint came out and the amount was revealed — but she was not alone in her joy.

Erik Shaw, FivePoint Credit Union president and CEO, presented a whopping $350,901.62 check to the American Cancer Society for Relay for Life of Mid- and South Jefferson County to use in its local efforts to fight cancer.

“We are celebrating 20 years of Relay for Life in Southeast Texas in a big way,” Shaw said at the check presentation. “Of course, we support tons of community events. But we’ve always been huge supporters of Relay for Life.

“Our staff is heavily committed and heavily invested in Relay, and we have been for the last 10 years — at least. It’s something we look forward to all year long. This is our way to take our support to the next level.”

The FivePoint Credit Union Relay for Life team raised $33,884.41 — bringing in the most money out of all 58 teams — in the 2015 Relay event on April 24. Shaw said the $350,000-plus check presented Friday is the “largest thing we’ve ever done,” not just for Relay but for any organization.

“This hits home for us, too. When you think about it, everyone you know has either been touched or knows someone who’s been touched by cancer,” Shaw said. “So the FivePoint staff got together and brainstormed what we could do to help. We landed on a special loan promotion, where we promised to donate 1 percent of every loan we made to the American Cancer Society to use for our local Relay.”

Shaw said the promotion only ran two months over the summer, which demonstrates the community’s commitment to helping fight cancer.

“This donation today is the result of not just our effort, but the community’s effort. They turned out in a very big way,” Shaw said. “Our hope is that this will all circle back into the community, through our Relay for Life of Mid- and South Jefferson County.”

Ethan Eubanks, American Cancer Society High Plains Division vice president, was one of many ACS “big wigs” to witness the substantial donation. Eubanks thanked the local Relay volunteers and FivePoint staff for their dedication and commitment to finding a cure for cancer.

“Each of us has our own cancer story, and mine is about my wife’s friend Sarah,” Eubanks said. “Sarah is a 37-year-old mother of three who’s been through chemotherapy, radiation and mastectomy, and is currently going through reconstruction.

“The American Cancer Society has been with Sarah every step of the way — the wig and the turban, the information on her treatment options, and now she’s on a drug that was funded through research grants by the ACS.”

Eubanks said since 1946, the ACS has funded about $4 billion in grants and 47 Nobel Prize winners in cancer research, adding the organization provides year-round services for cancer patients and their families — including information, education, transportation and lodging for treatment.

“At the American Cancer Society, we want to help people get well and stay well, and we fight to find cures,” Eubanks said. “The biggest way you guys help us is by fighting back.”

For more information about the American Cancer Society, visit

For more information about Relay for Life of Mid- and South Jefferson County, visit or “Mid-South Jefferson County Relay for Life” on Facebook.

Twitter: @crhenderson90