Joining the fight

Published 6:05 pm Thursday, April 17, 2008

By Staff
Folks in Hyde County soon will have another weapon to use in the fight against cancer.
This fall, Hyde County residents will have their first Relay for Life to benefit the American Cancer Society. The event will be held Sept. 19-20 at Davis Community Park in Engelhard.
It’s heartening to see Hyde County become part of the Relay for Life family.
Relay for Life raises money for research in the battle against cancer. Almost everyone knows someone who died from cancer, suffers from cancer or, thank goodness, survived cancer.
The Hyde County Relay for Life campaign hopes to raise $35,000 in its first year. That money will be raised in various ways. When Hyde County Relay for Life supporters have a bake sale, buy some brownies, pies and cakes. When they sell barbecued pork or barbecued chicken plates to raise money, buy those plates. When they wash cars, make sure there’s a line of vehicles for them to wash.
Hyde County’s entry into the Relay for Life arena adds a chapter to the Relay for Life story.
Relay for Life traces its roots back to the mid-1980s. Gordy Klatt, a colorectal surgeon in Tacoma, Wash., had a desire to increase the revenue his local American Cancer Society office raised. Klatt chose to raise money for that office by doing something he enjoyed — running in marathons.
In May 1985, Klatt spent 24 hours running on the track at Baker Stadium at the University of Puget Sound. He raised $27,000 to battle cancer. The program has grown from that small beginning. In 1986, 19 teams took part in the first team relay at the track at the Stadium Bowl. They raised $33,000 to fight cancer.
Now that Hyde County is a member of the Relay for Life family, there will be great expectations of Hyde County folks.
Washington County’s Relay for Life campaign has received the honor of raising the most money per capita in the whole southeastern portion of the United States.
In the past 12 years, Beaufort County Relay for Life has raised more than $1 million in the fight against cancer.
Martin County’s Relay for Life efforts have been impressive, too.
Relay for Life events are much more than just cancer survivors and others making laps around a track. As has been pointed out before, for cancer survivors, it’s a celebration of being able to make those laps.
There are at least 200 cancer survivors in Hyde County, according to Carol West, a mission delivery manager with the American Cancer Society. They know there are winners in the fight against cancer.
During last week’s kickoff meeting for the Hyde County Relay for Life campaign, West told those who attended the meeting that cancer can’t cripple love, shatter hope, corrode faith, destroy peace, kill friendships, suppress memories, silence courage, invade the soul or kill eternal life if people decide not to let those things happen.
Relay for Life brings together families, friends, co-workers, businesses, schools, churches, hospitals and people with a common cause — making cancer disappear. Although raising money to fight cancer is an important part of the Relay for Life campaign, it isn’t the only part.
Relay for Life is a celebration, commitment and creation of awareness communities should foster.
Kudos to Hyde County folks for joining the Relay for Life family and the fight against cancer.