Francis brings personal fight to Suffolk

Published 8:34 pm Saturday, March 3, 2012

Editor’s Note: This is the first of a multi-part series leading up to Suffolk’s Relay for Life on May 18-19.

For Angela Francis, as for so many other Relayers, the fight against cancer is personal.

Francis is the new community manager for American Cancer Society in Suffolk and Portsmouth. She has worked with the society since November 2010 and previously covered Franklin, Sussex and Emporia as well as Portsmouth.


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As Suffolk gears up for its 2012 Relay for Life on May 18-19, Francis is remembering her grandfather David Francis, a Suffolk native, who lost his battle with leukemia last year.

“That’s another reason that I’m happy to be working more with the Suffolk Relay now,” she said.

Francis grew up in Suffolk and attended Lakeland High School, where her friend had brain cancer while they were in school together. She helped start a Relay for Life team at Lakeland to support her friend, who now is a 15-year cancer survivor.

“Ever since then, I never stopped Relaying,” she said.

Francis graduated from Lakeland in 2002 and went on to graduate from Longwood University in 2006. She worked in sales before taking the job at the American Cancer Society.

As the staff partner for Suffolk’s Rockin’ Relay for Life, Francis recruits volunteers, teams and sponsors, supports the event and does “whatever they need me to do that we don’t have a volunteer to cover,” she said.

Outside of Relay, she also works with medical facilities to make sure they have programs, services and information available for patients.

Francis said her favorite parts of Relay for Life are the survivors’ lap and reception.

“People — that’s the most important part of Relay,” she said.

So far, the Suffolk Rockin’ Relay for Life has raised nearly $20,000 and has more than 40 teams signed up, but they still are looking for more volunteers, she said.

“We’re off to a great start,” she said. “I think everything is going to be great.”

The Relay will be held at Bennett’s Creek Park from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. May 18-19. A team meeting will be held Monday at King’s Fork High School at 7 p.m.

For more information on Suffolk’s Relay, visit