|Cancer survivors and family get ready to release their balloons.|
The seventh annual American Cancer Society's Relay for Life was held on July 8-9 at the Emery High track. Barbara Moore, relay chairman, welcomed everyone to the relay. She described all cancer survivors as being lucky warriors. Decorations, signs and banners filled the track with symbols of hope for survival. Judy Lang from the Lions Club presented Moore and co-chairman, Kristin Kinsey with a check for $1,000 collected from coin containers in local businesses. Small change added up to a big pay off for the cancer society.
Chapter president, Cathy Sitterud welcomed the cancer survivors to the relay. They received bracelets, balloons and a T-shirt and a free dinner at the relay. The survivors took to the track for their annual survivors lap. They were cheered on by family and friends many of which joined the survivors on their lap. Paul Kristofferson was the survivor with the longest stretch of cancer free years of 62, with Judi Bishop celebrating 53 years cancer free.
Sharon Hinckley was the guest speaker for the event. She has lost her mother and three grandparents to cancer. She has also helped a best friend through two bouts of breast cancer. Hinckley is the quality of life manager for the American Cancer Society. "Cancer is a frightening word. Our world just stops when we hear that we have cancer. Cancer used to be a death sentence, but not any more. Some cancers have a survival rate of 80 percent and overall the survival rate is 60-65 percent. The mission of the cancer society is four fold with research, education, advocacy and service. Without all four change could not take place. The benefits through research provide valuable information on how to fight cancer and better methods of treating cancer.
"Education is vital, research in knowing what cancer is has come a long way. Behavioral risks which we can control can help us avoid cancer and reduce our risk. Advocacy is to let our voice be heard with the state and national legislators. We work with patient services and ways to improve patient care and patient information. We hope to take away the fear. No one has to fight cancer alone. It takes a whole community and effort to fight cancer," said Hinckley.
Hinckley said the cancer society has a 24 hour hot line number for anyone with questions about cancer. The number is 1-800-ACS-2345. She also discussed programs which need volunteers in the area. The man to man program where a man with prostate cancer is helped by someone who has already had the disease and conquered it. The reach to recovery program also helps women with breast cancer by partnering them with someone who has been through the disease. The look good, feel good program helps cancer patients with the physical changes that take place in their bodies. They offer help with skin care, wigs, makeup and other suggestions on dealing with changes.
The Perky van and Care-A-Van programs transport patients into Provo for treatments and this program is always looking for drivers and funding. "Our programs help people get through this disease and give them back a measure of control when they feel like they have lost all control over their lives. This relay is a celebration of life," said Hinckley.
Moore introduced the teams and they walked their team lap. A dinner was held and the walking continued throughout the night. A breakfast was held in the early morning hours for those staying for the long haul. Teams included: Emery Medical Center, Youth City councils, Trudy Waddoups/Clement families, Emery Telcom, Curves, RSVP volunteers, Misty Farley family, Nielson Construction and Emery County Care and Rehab.