05/19/06 — Courage shines: Weekend’s Relay for Life a chance to see what matters

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Courage shines: Weekend’s Relay for Life a chance to see what matters

If you go to this weekend’s Relay for Life event at Wayne Community College, you might not ever really know just how those will meet have been affected by cancer.

They might have lost a mother, a sister, a daughter to breast cancer. They might have held a husband or father’s hand while he took chemotherapy to fight lung cancer.

Or, they might be a parent who will tearfully tell you his or her child is now cancer-free. And moments later, you might meet another who has just finished decorating a grave for a son or daughter lost muchtoo soon.

You might have a little more luck identifying those who are battling — and surviving — the disease. They will be proudly wearing T-shirts and will lead off the Relay during the annual survivors’ lap.

They might not show their battle scars, but they are marks they share proudly — evidence of their courage and determination not to give up and surrender to the disease that has changed their perspectives and their lives.

You just can’t tell by looking. And that’s the point really.

Cancer does not discriminate. It does not recognize income or other status measurements. It attacks sometimes without warning — and it does not let go easy. You cannot buy your way out of cancer for yourself or someone you love — and who you know has nothing to do with what your outcome will be.

It often takes our bravest, our kindest and most productive citizens at the prime of their lives — or before they have had the chance to live a life at all.

And it is a disease that changes many lives in the blink of an eye.

This weekend’s Relay will send money where it needs to go — to research to help find a cure and to programs that help those who are in mid-battle.

And someday, because of that money, the lives of future mothers, fathers, daughters, sons and best friends will be saved.

That makes staying up all night and writing a check or two well-worth the effort.

There is plenty to cheer about this weekend. You will hear stories of courage that you never thought possible. You will meet families who can teach you a lot about living each day like it will be your last — and what it really means to love someone even under the direst of circumstance.

And, if youare lucky, you will hear stories of battles lost and won and meet some people who will change your own perspective on what matters forever.

Relay for Life is not just a fundraising effort. It is a chance to learn, grow, share and love. It is a gift to this community and a chance to take a stand.

And it is an event that should not be missed.

Published in Editorials on May 19, 2006 10:15 AM