Let’s talk about cancer and fight it

Published 9:28 am Thursday, January 19, 2017

It’s touched all of us. Someone you know—a parent, grandparent, aunt or uncle, brother or sister, best friend, neighbor, co-worker, classmate, spouse—has been impacted. Maybe it’s you who has had to fight this enemy. It’s the “Big C” as legendary film actor John Wayne, himself a victim, called it: cancer.

I can remember as a child that word was often murmured under one’s breath. My own dear grandmother was taken from us by cancer, and no one—not her family, not her doctors–ever told her why she was losing weight or feeling poorly.

People didn’t really talk about cancer decades ago—as if keeping quiet about this killer would somehow make it all go away. So often, it was considered an automatic death sentence. Times, however, have changed, and for the better.

Email newsletter signup

Yes, the statistics are still daunting. One in three women and one in two men in the U.S. will be diagnosed with some type of cancer in their lifetime.

In 2017, we DO talk about cancer. And we stand up and we fight it. We celebrate the fact more people than ever are surviving cancer for longer periods of time; that many cancer treatments are not as debilitating as they once were for the patients.

Breakthroughs in the diagnosis and treatment of various types of cancer have come and will come about through valuable research. In addition, cancer patients often need assistance with transportation costs to and from treatment, a place where their families can stay during treatment, help with getting wigs and prostheses.

And that’s where we can all play a part.

Tomorrow night the American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life in Butler County holds its kickoff at 5:30 p.m. at First United Methodist Church in Greenville.  Relay itself is slated for Friday, May 12, 2017 at the Butler County Fairgrounds. In the months between the kickoff and the “main event,” a number of teams will be holding different fundraisers as they work toward the county’s goal of raising $60,000.

Some of the events have already been announced. Harley’s Angels is holding their Mr. and Miss Relay Pageant (yes, there is a category for gentlemen 18 and over this year, too) in February at the Ritz and their Benefit Bash and King of the Grill Cook-Off in March at the fairgrounds. State Farm’s Abbie Gardner Ballew and her team are hosting the Second Annual Cancer Hero 5k Walk/Run, also in March. More fundraisers will be announced in the coming weeks—raffles, bake sales,  boxed lunches, car washes, rummage sales and more.

Ultimately, where will these dollars go?

The monies raised at these RFL events go to life-saving cancer research, much of which is actually conducted right here in Alabama at the University of Alabama in Birmingham. Monies raised also fund patient support programs such as Reach for Recovery, Road to Recovery and the Hope Lodge in Birmingham, along with valuable cancer prevention information and education for the community.

So every time you get involved in some way this year, whether as a member of a RFL team or through buying a raffle ticket, getting your car washed, bagging a few rummage sale bargains or donating RFL Luminarias in honor or memory of loved ones—you are helping make a positive difference.

If we all give a little, it adds up to a lot—to $60,000 and more. It adds up to hope. It adds up to more birthdays for survivors across the U.S., and right here in our own community.

So join a Relay team. Support Relay fundraisers. Be involved. Let’s all celebrate, remember—and fight back!