American Cancer Society honors Caribou resident

CARIBOU, Maine — The American Cancer Society recently presented a Sandra C. Labaree Volunteer Values Award to Bethany Zell of Caribou, program director for Healthy You and Pink Aroostook at Cary Medical Center. 

The award is the most honored accolade by the society in New England, and it recognizes Zell’s remarkable accomplishments in support of the society’s mission to celebrate lives, to save lives and to lead the fight for a world without cancer.

Zell has been a volunteer with the American Cancer Society and American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network for more than six years. She is the survivor lead for the Relay for Life of Aroostook County event and has given her time as a Reach To Recovery program volunteer for at least three years. 

As an ambassador with the network, she first became engaged during a Medicaid expansion advocacy campaign. Since then, Zell has led the planning efforts for numerous legislative advocacy events in her community, and has conducted numerous drop-bys and meetings with congressional staff in Aroostook County.

ACS staff said she integrates advocacy work into various roles she serves professionally and in her community. In attending numerous Day at the Capitol events, she drives four hours each way to attend. Making giving back a family affair, Zell has engaged her two school-age daughters in volunteering with the society and network as well, with her 17-year old daughter serving as a Relay For Life of Aroostook County team captain and the lead youth volunteer for ACS CAN in Maine.

“Bethany is incredibly passionate and reliable,” said Hilary Schneider, Maine government relations director for the Cancer Action Network. “As a busy mom who works full-time, she inspires me in how she finds time to contribute to her community in meaningful ways by integrating her volunteer work seamlessly into her professional role and her role as a mom. 

“Bethany doesn’t see her volunteering as something that takes away from time she spends with her family, instead she chooses to engage her young daughters in volunteering work and to teach them the importance of giving back and giving a voice to those who are unable to or not comfortable speaking up on their own. Bethany has said she is so proud these experiences have taught her daughters important life lessons,” Schneider said.

“The Relay For Life Event Leadership Team is so lucky to have Bethany as she is always willing to jump in when needed,” said Stacey Duran, community development manager with the American Cancer Society. “She pays such attention to detail and makes sure the survivor tent is welcoming for our cancer survivors and loved ones.”

The Sandra C. Labaree Volunteer Values Award is named in honor of the late Sandra C. Labaree, a longtime American Cancer Society volunteer from Maine. Despite her death from breast cancer in 2000, Labaree’s spirit and values live on through this award. Each year, the local area Board selects honorees whose service best exemplifies the Society’s organizational values of mission, stewardship, diversity, data-driven and respect.

For more information on the American Cancer Society or to volunteer, visit or call 800-227-2345.

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