Relay for Life is a fight that is waged all year

Published 8:35 am Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Amidst all the June events, is one that touches every family, church, and organization in Carter County and that is the annual American Cancer Society Relay for Life, which will be held this year on Friday, June 23, beginning at 5 p.m. at the T.A. Dugger Junior High School.
Already, a number of fundraising events have been held, including chili and spaghetti dinners, concerts, car washes, yard sales, pancake breakfasts, etc., all with the goal of raising $65,000 this year to help in the fight against cancer. To date, the 19 participating teams have raised $14,845.31 toward that goal.
When it comes to fighting cancer, every dollar makes a difference. No donation is too small. Relay for Life dollars help fund groundbreaking cancer research, patient care programs, and can make a difference in communities like ours.
One of the reasons Relay for Life is so successful is the involvement of cancer survivors. Their stories and efforts against the disease help motivate others to participate.
Relay for Life began small several years ago in Elizabethton, but has grown into a major event, mainly because it has a life-changing mission. The fundraising events which continue all year long help increase the awareness of cancer. Relay for Life, itself, is an all-night walkathon, and the night’s events, which include a survivors lap, reminds us that cancer can be beaten. Each year the number of survivors increases. There is also candlelight luminaria to respectfully honor those lost to cancer.
More than a local fundraiser, Relay for Life has global significance as we all learn of the impact that cancer — sometimes tragic, sometimes inspirational — has around the world. And it is that diverse impact that changes lives.
Through Relay for Life, we learn of caregivers who devote their time to helping those with cancer. We hear stories of survivors who want to share their hope. We understand the determination and drive of those battling cancer. We all know someone who is battling cancer or has battled the disease. It is a disease that has affected every family in some way.
The fight against cancer is not only costly, but takes it toll on the person battling it. It is a fight that may go on decades, but all lives are changed and made rich by Relay for Life.
The Relay covers three things:
• Celebrating life for those who have or are fighting a daily battle with cancer.
• Remembering whose who lost the battle against this dreaded disease.
• Fighting back. A time for the community to join together to help raise funds to eliminate cancer.
It is an inspiring sight to see all the survivors who come out and walk in the honorary lap, which shows much of the progress being made in the fight against cancer.
The event is family-oriented. There will be games, raffles, and food vendors among the feature attractions.
At the Relay for Life, old friendships are renewed and new ones are made as everyone celebrates our most precious gift — life.
Now, don’t get us wrong. We realize that cancer is still a terrible disease. Many people get it, and many people die.
But the survival rate seems to be getting better. Many more people are recovering from cancer. This year, an estimated 1,685,210 new cases of cancer will be diagnosed in the United States, and 595,690 people will die from the disease.
Approximately 39.6 percent of men and women will be diagnosed with cancer at some point during their lifetimes.
These statistics may seem grim. But there are encouraging figures among them.
You will see those encouraging figures in the faces of those walking the survivors walk June 23.

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