Local Resident Kathy Ottele Receives Top Volunteer Award for Excellence in Cancer Advocacy

Oregon’s Lead Cancer Advocacy Volunteer Receives National Recognition from the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network

September 15, 2020

SALEM, Ore. –Kathy Ottele of Salem was named the State Lead Ambassador (SLA) of the Year by the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) for her dedicated volunteer and advocacy efforts to help make cancer a national priority.

This annual award is presented to a lead ACS CAN volunteer who has demonstrated exemplary leadership while advocating for ACS CAN’s priority areas of cancer-related public policy.

"Kathy is celebrated across our organization as a standout volunteer and cancer advocate," said Lisa Lacasse, president of ACS CAN. "She consistently goes above and beyond the call of duty and is responsible for  tremendous fundraising and grassroots mobilization successes throughout Oregon and nationwide. We are thankful for Kathy’s outstanding leadership and dedication to supporting public policies proven to save lives from cancer."

As the SLA for Oregon since 2018, Ottele collaborates with lawmakers, ACS CAN staff members and other volunteers and successfully engages with media and community leaders to advance cancer-related legislative campaigns for the state. Ottele also serves on the American Cancer Society Oregon and SW Washington Area Board.

Among her accomplishments, Ottele played a pivotal role in helping ACS CAN pass important tobacco control policies in the state legislature to fight cancer in Oregon. Additionally, she has built strong relationships with state and federal lawmakers, establishing herself as a leader in health care and patient advocacy. Aside from advocacy, Ottele excels at fundraising, engaging community leaders and organizations, speaking with the media, and helping to cultivate, train and mentor her fellow volunteer advocates across the state.

Ottele is a four-time skin cancer survivor who has lost numerous friends and families to cancer, including her mother, father and two sisters.

"Kathy is a tour de force and a truly impressive volunteer representative for our organization," said Audrey Miller, ACS CAN Oregon grassroots manager. "She is revered by her fellow volunteers and staff partners for her ability to forge genuine relationships, influence lawmakers, engage with media, donors and community leaders, and mentor other volunteers. Fighting back against cancer is who Kathy is. Her work and commitment are unparalleled."

The award was presented as part of the annual ACS CAN Leadership Summit and Lobby Day held nationwide. Nearly 700 cancer patients, survivors and their loved ones met virtually with their elected officials on Sept. 15 to urge them to make cancer a national priority.

ACS CAN recognizes Kathy’s determination to advocate for meaningful legislation that helps eliminate the burden of cancer across the country.



The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) is making cancer a top priority for public officials and candidates at the federal, state and local levels. ACS CAN empowers advocates across the country to make their voices heard and influence evidence-based public policy change as well as legislative and regulatory solutions that will reduce the cancer burden. As the American Cancer Society’s nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate, ACS CAN is critical to the fight for a world without cancer. For more information, visit


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