To celebrate the Carbon-Tamaqua American Cancer Society Telethon's 35th anniversary this year, volunteers are planning a concert featuring oldies band Remember When, Larry Chance and the Earls and Eddie "Mr. Ed" Collins at 7 p.m. Friday, April 4, at Penn's Peak in Jim Thorpe.

Doors open at 6 and tickets are available in advance and at the door.

Those who have been involved with the local chapter of the cancer society for so many years have come to realize why the work is so important.

Bud Wychulis, Remember When band leader and telethon co-host, said he became involved in helping raise funds for the Carbon-Tamaqua Cancer Society 34 years ago because he felt it a was a good cause and he knew he would be working with good people.

Then 10 years ago, the reason became personal for Wychulis when his sister was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer.

"Then I understood the why," he said. "It was such a scary time and I pledged then that I would continue my efforts for as long as I can."

Six months ago, his sister was told that she was cancer free, after fighting a lengthy battle for her life.

"It may have taken me 10 years to understand the why, but now I know the why because of my sister," Wychulis said.

George Taylor, entertainment chairman, believes that local cancer survivors can best explain why the American Cancer Society is so important.

"I think the emphasis of the ACS has changed from an organization helping people deal with a terminal disease to an organization that celebrates birthdays due to the research it funds," said Taylor.

Taylor said that while the ACS may not be the place you go to anymore for wigs or dressings, but it remains the best place to go for information when you or someone you love battles cancer.

On a personal level, Taylor added, "ACS-funded research allowed both my parents to live longer lives and enjoy time with their grandsons. Who would you say benefited from the Cancer Society there?" Taylor said.

Largest voluntary health organizationin U.S.

According to Desiree Carton, media relations of the American Cancer Society, the ACS is the largest voluntary health organization in the United States.

"Together with our millions of supporters, the American Cancer Society is saving lives by helping people stay well, helping people get well, by finding cures, and by fighting back," said Carton.

"No other cancer-fighting organization has such a comprehensive mission," she added.

"We help you take steps to prevent cancer or detect it at its earliest, most treatable stage," Carton said. "We help people eat right, get active, quit smoking and get screenings."

The ACS has developed guidelines for recommended cancer screenings and nutrition and physical activity, so people know what tests they need to find cancer early and how to prevent the disease.

Their Website, cancer.org, allows individuals to create a personalized health action plan to discuss with their doctor that shows which cancer screening tests are right for them, as well as healthy lifestyle choices to consider.

Through the Quit For Life Program and Alere Well-being, the ACS helps people to quit smoking by providing them with the resources they need to make a quit attempt and stay tobacco-free.

Getting well

"We're in your corner around the clock to guide you through a cancer experience," Carton said. "We know that every cancer patient is a fighter and we're in the ring with you through every round."

Whether you have questions about cancer, need practical solutions to daily problems like finding a ride to treatment, or just want support from someone who has been through it all before, we've got answers around the clock, she noted.

The ACS phone lines, at 1-800-227-2345, are 24 hours a day and night to help connect people with the answers they need.

Each year, the ACS provides information, help, and support to the nearly one million individuals who call or contact them online.

The cancer.org website, which serves more than 25 million visitors each year, offers access to the latest information and news on cancer and helps people find programs and services in their area.