Chiara Clayton – A Community Representative That Makes Strides

On Tuesday, October 11, Chiara Clayton spoke to our PRSSA chapter about the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer campaign.

PRSSA recently hosted Chiara Clayton, a Community Representative from the American Cancer Society’s Making Strides program.

For those who don’t know, Making Strides is the American Cancer Society’s fall walking for awareness event, whereas Relay For Life is the organization’s springtime event.

Chiara spoke to the students about a whole slew of topics including what the American Cancer Society is, what her job consists of and most importantly, the importance of getting regular check-ups in order to check for cancer.

She said that the quicker cancer is found, the higher the chances are for survival.

Chiara opened-up everyone’s eyes when she stated that in our lifetime, we would know somebody who has cancer. Her first goal when speaking to PRSSA was to stress how important it is to be aware of cancer, its risks, and what to do if you detect it.

What is the American Cancer Society?

The American Cancer Society is one of the largest volunteer-based organizations in the world, whose focus is “To save lives by helping people stay well, helping people get well, by finding cures, and fighting back.”

The organization is two pronged. First, they want to help people get well and stay well through early detection, prevention, and by offering free resources. Second, they raise money for cancer research and to be able to offer free resources to the community.

The American Cancer Society is grass-roots, meaning mostly volunteers. They opt to spend as little money as possible on advertising because they want their funds to go to finding a cure. They also want their funds to go towards helping people who have cancer.

One of these programs is called “Road to Recovery.” This program is designed to transport cancer patients from their homes to the treatment centers.

The American Cancer Society raises money through making phone calls and through great events, such as the Making Strides and Relay for Life events. Another event they host is the Cattle Baron’s Ball, which is a big event held at the Joe Louis Arena. On October the 29th, for $350, patrons can see Kid Rock perform for a good cause.

Planning for the Walk

Planning for an event, such as Making Strides, is a tough job and requires a diligent worker, like Chiara, to take it on. Planning for this October 22 event, which begins at 7:30 a.m. at the Eagle Crest Resort, in Ypsilanti, began in June with making phone calls to volunteers and businesses in the area.

Chiara called about 300 local businesses and asked them if they were interested in helping to find a cure. The ones who said yes were then invited to a breakfast to learn more; 250 people attended. Her quota is recruiting 15 teams in the EMU market segment.

She started with the EMU Chapter of her sorority. She then sent E-Blasts followed by phone calls to those who showed interest. Chaira’s goal is to raise $20,000; the corporate goal for the walk is to raise $8.25 million. To help achieve this goal, they sought out corporate sponsorship with companies like Kroger, GM and Comerica bank.

The process used to get corporate sponsorship is an interesting one. It’s all about making trades. In exchange for getting a sponsorship spot on a shirt, The Michigan Chronicle traded a certain amount of releases for the event. Kroger sells forms people can sign for $1 to show support, as well as having each store create a team for the walk for their spot on the shirt. It’s all about give and take, but its all for a great cause.

About Chiara and Her Job

Chiara graduated from Oakland University with a degree in Communications. She originally wanted to be a DJ because of her love of music, but saw little money in that. She then went to sales for a few years. One day, she was looking online and saw a career opportunity that was perfect.

It was for a job with the American Cancer Society.

It was perfect because Chiara was great at event planning and she loves to talk. She used to get into trouble at school for talking a lot and now, it is a very important part of her career to share knowledge about the American Cancer Society and how important it is. Chiara says to make it in this business, you need to be very detail orientated and organized. In this type of job, you will be all over the place.

One day she will be in Detroit talking to one group; the next day, she might be in Ypsilanti speaking to students; then Friday, back in Southfield for administrative work. Thanks to the hard work from employees like Chiara,  the Great Lakes Division of the American Cancer Society saw a increase in their funds.

 About the Ann Arbor Area Walk

The Making Strides Walk will occur this Saturday, Oct. 22 at The Eagle Crest Resort, which is located three miles South of EMU’s main campus, at 7:30 a.m. Each team will be given a bag, which includes pins, pledge papers, booklets and other important information, as well as a shirt for the captain. Chiara worked hard on this event to make sure everything goes as planned. Each speaker will be given an allotted amount of time.

Every hour, a cancer survivor will speak inspirational words to the audience and then there’s the walk itself. It’s a five-mile walk, which provides good cardio. Cardio as well as good eating is important in cancer prevention. The walk is a great way for the community to show solidarity towards an important cause and all survivors are welcome.

Cancer is not curable, but is treatable if detected early. Hopefully this walk can raise money to help find a cure or, just as important, raise awareness of the importance of getting tested for cancer.

To learn more about what the American Cancer Society offers call 1-800-224-2345. They are there 24 hours a day, everyday to help you. You can also go to To learn more about Making Strides or to find an event near you, visit the Making Strides website.

Scott Mullin

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