Hamden Survivor Ranks Among Top in the Country in Raising Funds to Support American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network

Hamden’s David “Coach” Koch Raises Fund to Deliver Hope to Those Battling Cancer

October 8, 2018

HAMDEN – For the fifth consecutive year, Hamden’s David “Coach” Koch has ranked among the top ten in the country in fundraising through the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) “Lights of Hope” program. The annual “Lights of Hope” ceremony features more than 25,000 lighted bags which are displayed in Washington, D.C., during ACS CAN’s annual Leadership Summit and Lobby Day event in September. 

Koch, a cancer survivor, was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma 21 years ago. He began volunteering for the American Cancer Society and ACS CAN shortly after his diagnosis and has been volunteering for the past 20 years. Koch has been attending ACS CAN’s annual state Days at the Capitol, Leadership Summit and Lobby Day as well as the Lights of Hope ceremony, since 2003.

“I am blessed to have people in my life and in the community who believe in the work ACS CAN does and support these efforts,” said Koch. “As a survivor, I truly believe there are no good days, only great days. Spending my time helping others fight cancer is part of what makes this true.” 

Lights of HOPE first began in 2011 at ACS CAN’s National Leadership Summit and Lobby Day, with 1,200 bags lined the Capitol's Reflecting pool that year celebrating ACS CAN's 10th anniversary. This year’s event marked a record setting year, with over 30,000 Lights of Hope bags lining the Lincoln Memorial. 

The bags, which honor those fighting cancer as well as those who have lost the battle, were purchased by friends, family and businesses in the Hamden area and across Connecticut for donations starting at $10. This year, Koch raised over $4,100 for the cause. 

“This year, Coach walked the Lincoln Memorial until well after dark finding – and photographing – each of the memorial bags he brought to this year’s event to document for those people back home,” said Natalie Shurtleff, grassroots managers for ACS CAN in Connecticut. “This is just a small example of the dedication he has to this cause and to those who have been touched by cancer.” 

“With the Lights of Hope you hand somebody a bag, when they give it back to you with a name it is no longer just a bag - it is a story of someone who has faced cancer, a true hero,” said Koch. However, Koch’s fundraising efforts were only a small part of his efforts to combat cancer in Connecticut and across the country. 

Each year prior to the Lights of Hope ceremony, hundreds of ACS CAN volunteers from nearly every congressional district visit with their lawmakers to discuss critical cancer-related policy issues.  

“Fighting cancer takes more than just fundraising. We need a full and unwavering commitment from Congress to take action to help prevent and treat cancer,” said Koch. “With this many lives in this country being impacted by these decisions, we can’t afford further delays. We want our lawmakers to know that volunteers from Connecticut, and from every state across the country, are counting on them to take action now.”

ACS CAN, the nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate of the American Cancer Society, supports evidence-based policy and legislative solutions designed to eliminate cancer as a major health problem. ACS CAN works to encourage elected officials and candidates to make cancer a top national priority. ACS CAN gives ordinary people extraordinary power to fight cancer with the training and tools they need to make their voices heard. For more information, visit 


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