Wheeling resident honored with American Cancer Society's highest volunteer award

  • American Cancer Society volunteer Debra J. Cohen.

    American Cancer Society volunteer Debra J. Cohen. Courtesy of American Cancer Society.

Submitted by American Cancer Society Inc.

Longtime American Cancer Society volunteer Debra J. Cohen was awarded the 2013 St. George Medal, the society's highest distinction for volunteer service, at its recent Lakeshore Division board of directors meeting in Chicago.

Cohen has served more than 15 years as an active volunteer at the local, state and national level for the American Cancer Society. Most recently, she chaired the society's Division Board of Directors from 2007 to 2009, and currently serves as a member of the Regional Leadership, Division and National boards. Cohen has also chaired the income development, finance and audit, executive compensation, nominating, human resource and board self-evaluation committees.

"Debra is a dedicated volunteer whose distinguished service has been instrumental in leading the American Cancer Society's efforts to finish the fight against cancer," said Nancy Yaw, executive vice president of the American Cancer Society's Lakeshore Division. "We are honored and delighted that she continues to dedicate her time and her passion to the Society's mission."

To qualify for the award, volunteers must have six years of consecutive and distinguished service. Recipients are selected by other volunteers on the society's board of directors. Also honored this year was longtime society volunteer Mary Pierce of Woodridge.

Cohen lives in Wheeling with her husband, Ira. She also is a member of the President's Council, Chancellor's Circle, Engineering Dean's Club and Foundation of the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana.

The American Cancer Society is a global grass-roots force of more than three million volunteers saving lives and fighting for every birthday threatened by every cancer in every community. As the largest voluntary health organization, the society's efforts have contributed to a 20 percent decline in cancer death rates in the U.S. since 1991, and a 50 percent drop in smoking rates.

For information, to get help, or to join the fight, call (800) 227-2345 or visit www.cancer.org/fight