family members, whose lives have been impacted by cancer, participate in the Signs of Life project

Alabama team member’s photos benefit cancer research

For Marty Balencie, Hardlines team leader at a Target store in Homewood, Ala., being pronounced cancer-free after his battle with Lymphoma wasn’t just something to celebrate; it was also the inspiration to use his talents to help others.

“On July 13, 2006, I heard the words ‘You are cancer free,’ from my doctor,” Marty says. “Since then, I celebrate that day each year as a new birthday. For my six-year cancer-free anniversary, I took a photo of myself holding a sign that said ‘SURVIVOR.’ That’s when I came up with the idea for a project using my photography that would allow individuals to share their stories of how cancer affects them.”

Started in 2012, that project is called “Signs of Life.” Marty photographs individuals in and around the Birmingham community, all fighters, survivors, advocates, friends or family members whose lives have been impacted by cancer. For each photo, he collects a donation and gives 100 percent of the proceeds to the American Cancer Society (ACS) through his Relay for Life team.

“Cancer affects us all, whether you’re a survivor, a fighter, a caregiver, or if you remember someone who has passed,” says Marty. “Hearing others’ stories and seeing their reaction to the photos has been amazing. There’s a sense of accomplishment that many who have appeared in the photos were excited to share and hopefully inspire others to keep on fighting. So far, I’ve been able to share close to 50 stories and raise about $1,000 through Relay for Life.”  

Target is national sponsor of ACS, and throughout the year our team members take part in Relay for Life, Making Strides Against Breast Cancer and other events, both as participants and volunteers. Visit Cancer.org to learn more and register to take part in an upcoming event.

Check out the Volunteerism pages to learn more about how our team members support their communities.

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