This isn’t something I’ve talked about much here, but my father died of lung cancer. It was asbestos-related mesothelioma. My grandmother died of stomach cancer. A good friend of mine just marked her two-year anniversary as a breast cancer survivor. Cancer has touched most of our lives in one way or another.
Great strides have been made in early detection and treatment over the last few decades, but there’s plenty more to be done.
My friend, Karen, the survivor, told me the other night that she’s organizing a team for the local Relay for Life, and I’m going to join in the effort.
It’s a simple variation on the classic walk-a-thon model. Instead of each person walking for a set number of miles, though, people organize into relay teams to walk for twenty-four hours. Each team must have at least one representative on the track at all times, but there is no set goal of distance, just time.
Teams can add to the fundraising efforts by selling baked goods, bottled water, etc. on site. There is also an evening ceremony where luminarias are lit around the track in honor of cancer victims and cancer survivors. Each luminaria is purchased for a small donation. All funds go to the American Cancer Society for research, patient services, outreach programs, and other services.
I’ll be taking at least one turn on the track (I’m not sure yet how many people will be on my team, so I may need to take two or three turns, depending), and baking cookies to sell.
And I’m reaching out to all of you.
If your life has been touched by cancer, I urge you to join in. Go to the website, see if there’s a walk in your area. Walk. Donate. Tell someone else about this.