Archive for Thursday, June 19, 2003

Relay for Life offers chance for cathartic activism

June 19, 2003

It is estimated 1.3 million Americans will be diagnosed with cancer this year. Of those, 550,000 Americans will die.

The national statistics tell a story that is reflected in our families and communities. Few of us haven't been touched by cancer, whether through the death or illness of a loved one or through a personal bout with the disease.

The Relay for Life events the American Cancer Society brings to local communities offers cathartic grass roots activism against what can seem an unyielding and pitiless foe.

The De Soto Relay collected more than $20,000 last year, and this year's goal is $25,000. That's a daunting task in the present economy, and credit should be given to organizers from Rita Jones to the individual team captains who recruited and motivated teams. Planning and coordinating a 12-hour event can't be an easy task.

The money raised is in the lead paragraph of all stories written about local Relay events.

Raising money is important. But equally significant is the celebration of survivors and the example they provide, proving the dread disease isn't a death sentence. And for all the advances in cancer research, the best assurance for cancer survival remains in early detection. Those attending the Relay event will have ample opportunity to educate themselves about the disease in its many forms through brochures and testimony. It is also important to remember those who lost their lives to cancer in a way that increase our resolve to help find a cure.

Relay for Life may have a serious purpose, but the events are not somber events, even with their focus on cancer and the emotional response the disease evokes in most of us. Although perhaps not as raucous as a rock concert, Relays are nonetheless festive. Participants at this year's De Soto Relay will be entertained with music from two live bands, numerous contests, children's games and pizza and barbecue.

We encourage all not yet enlisted on a team to drop by the event Friday evening and participate, and perhaps leave a little pocket change, as well.

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