Sometime in our lives, either we or a close loved one will be diagnosed with some form of cancer.
The World Health Organization says there are over 100 types of cancer. It can strike any part of the body.
That’s why I believe all of us – children included – should participate in at least one of the three Relay for Life events planned in the county this month.
The South Davis Relay starts this Friday at 6:30 p.m. at Bountiful City Park. It’s the American Cancer Society of Utah’s local fund-raiser. It’s a way to support a team of walkers/runners, one or more of whom will be on the track from Friday evening until Saturday morning.
Or you can come and donate money to the cause, and enjoy the festive atmosphere. After all, it’s meant to also be a celebration in the fight to beat cancer.
There will be a bouncing house, two bands performing, and other fun activities. There will also be the solemn march by cancer survivors.
Sign-ups for this weekend’s Relay haven’t been nearly as many as in some years. I want to thank those who are involved and have already donated. But there is a potential for far more participation, considering it is the only Relay in South Davis, where nearly 100,000 people live!
On July 15 and July 16, the North Davis Relay will take place at Syracuse High School. Then on July 29 and July 30, the Central Davis Relay is set for Barnes Park in Kaysville.
There are websites, ways to interact with all three runs via Facebook and more.
The Relay is a way to interact with others in our community, connect with those who have been touched by cancer. It’s a way to positively work toward a cure, even if our loved one is no longer with us.
In the case of my dad, we knew he had been battling prostate cancer – and we thought had beaten it. But after he died at the age of 86, we found that his body had been infected with several other types of cancer.
He wasn’t one to complain, so who knows how much pain he had suffered, or for how long.
And while it’s heartbreaking to see cancer or other serious aliments strike a loved one at any time, it particularly hurts when it’s someone young.
I can still visualize the still body of a young girl I had known who had been struck by leukemia. I believe she was only 2 years old. She looked so peaceful, so beautiful in a frilly white dress. It looked as though she would wake up at any time.
At the time, I was maybe 5 or 6, and this was my first encounter with death – and with someone so young, close to my own age experiencing it.
But then a mere year later, I saw the ravaging effects cancer could have when my step-grandmother died. The sight of her crippled-looking, dis-figured body weighed heavy on my young mind. I had nightmares for years after seeing how she looked just before her funeral.
It took years for me to realize what cancer had done to her body, to a woman who had lived a full life, who had given companionship to my grandfather for 12 years.
My mother died at the relatively young age of 63 – after unknowingly receiving a blood transfusion with tainted blood.
She contracted Hepatitis, and close to death’s door, a doctor finally discovered all but 4 percent of her liver had been eaten away – too late to treat, and unfortunately before the arrival of liver transplants.
I feel like what she experienced was like a cancer, as well. So I have walked in Relays, both for her sake and that of her sweetheart.
Donating via the Relay can help in finding a cure, developing new treatments or making them more precise and effective, and so much more.
And there is so much we ourselves can do to minimize the onset of cancer.
Tobacco, infectious organisms, chemicals and radiation are external factors that can lead to cancer.
Inherited mutations, hormones, immune conditions, and mutations that occur from metabolism can also cause cancer.
But there is personally a lot we can do to stall or prevent cancer.
Get involved in a Relay. Or type in American Cancer Society on the Web to access a veritable ton of information. Or, go visit and comfort a friend or loved one you know who is afflicted by cancer.