Relay For Life of Webster County is Friday

We don’t face cancer alone and neither should you. On Friday at 6 p.m. at Dodger Stadium, the American Cancer Society Relay For Life of Webster County will kick off with a special Survivors Lap, a moving experience honoring those who have defeated cancer. Survivors will join together to take Relay’s opening lap, unified in victory and hope, while the rest of the event’s participants surround the track to cheer them on. After the Survivors complete their lap, they are joined by their caregivers who have walked beside them.

At the Relay For Life event, cancer survivors and caregivers can come together and be recognized for their personal fight against a disease that has taken too much. In addition to a special ceremony, Survivors and caregivers laps open the event and service as a testament to the fight against cancer and the hope for a cure. All survivors and caregivers are invited to join Relay, no matter where their personal journey with cancer has taken them.

A cancer survivor is defined by the American Cancer Society as anyone who is living with cancer, from the date of diagnosis. If you have ever heard the words, “You have cancer,” we invite you to participate as a survivor.

From close family members to close friends, we all know someone whose life has been touched by cancer at some point. With the progress being made on all fronts by the American Cancer Society, the number of cancer survivors is growing every year. Thanks to early detection and more effective treatments, millions are going on to not only survive the disease but are leading incredibly full and inspiring lives. There are more than 12 million cancer survivors living in the United States. The Society marked a 20 percent decline in cancer death rates since 1991, which means more than 1.3 million lives saved.

For more than 100 years, the American Cancer Society has been finding answers that save lives – from changes in lifestyle to new approaches in therapies to improving cancer patients’ quality of life. No single nongovernmental, not-for-profit organization in the U.S. has invested more to find the causes and cures of cancer. Since 1946, ACS has invested more than $4 billion in cancer research that has helped confirm the link between cigarette smoking and lung cancer and established the link between obesity and multiple cancers.

Last year, ACS helped provide cancer patients over 380,000 rides to and from treatment or medical appointments and saved them $38 million in lodging costs by providing a free place to stay when they had to travel for treatment or medical appointments. In 2013, the Society helped more than 24 million visitors to their website cancer.org with cancer information and support they needed.

Relay brings together friends, families, businesses, hospitals, schools, faith-based groups; people from all walks of life – all aimed at celebrating the lives of those who have had cancer, remembering those lost, and fighting back against the disease. If you are a cancer survivor or caregiver and would like to take part in the Relay For Life of Webster County, please call Allison Peterson at 576-6045. All survivors receive a free Relay For Life purple survivor T-shirt. No registration is necessary; all survivors are welcome to join the Relay on Friday. There will be a special reception area designated for all survivors and caregivers inside Dodger Stadium.

A special Luminaria Ceremony will be held at 9 p.m. during the American Cancer Society Relay For Life of Webster County. The hundreds of personalized luminaries lit around Dodger’s track will help us remember those lost to cancer and honor those who have survived. Anyone desiring to make a luminaria donation may do so by contacting Meg Beshey at megbeshey@gmail.com or by visiting RelayForLife.org/WebsterCountyIa. Each luminaria candle is $10 and the money goes toward the fight against cancer.

“Each luminaria represents the life of someone who has battled cancer. It is a beautiful sight when all the bags with candles are illuminated around the track,” said Beshey, volunteer luminaria chair. “The Luminaria Ceremony is a moving way to remember loved ones lost to cancer and to pay tribute to cancer survivors.”

We complete the Relay experience with our Fight Back Ceremony, where we make a personal commitment to save lives by taking up the fight against cancer. Fighting back is your personal commitment to do something as simple as getting a screening tests, quitting smoking, or talking to elected officials about cancer. By taking action, people are personally taking steps to save lives and fight back against a disease that takes too much.

To learn more about how you can be a volunteer or to get help, call anytime, day or night, at (800) 227-2345 or visit cancer.org. For more information about making a donation or to join Relay go to: RelayForLife.org/WebsterCountyIa.

Emily Stucky is the chairperson for the Relay For Life of Webster County steering committee. For more information on how you can volunteer or get involved, please contact your ACS Relay Specialist Lenore Theobald at Lenore.theobald@cancer.org.