06/24/07 — Saving a life: Relay volunteers will never know difference they made

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Saving a life: Relay volunteers will never know difference they made

This message is for every person who braved the rain, spent weeks in bake sales and other projects or who simply decided to walk the track at this county’s Relay for Life event the weekend of May 18-19.

You might think that your achievement was raising more than $719,000 to add to the coffers of the agencies, universities and researchers who are desperately trying to find a cure for cancer.

That is something to cheer about, but it is not the reason to count this year’s event a success.

You might even be a little proud that you did not just best last year’s fundraising goal of more than $675,000, you destroyed it.

That is an achievement, but it is not why Wayne County should be proud of logging another banner year.

And you might even have been one of the lucky volunteers or teams who brought home a trophy or a plaque for having the most spirit or the best campsite.

But that’s not why you should be the most proud, either.

All of those are highlights from this year’s campaign to beat cancer, but not what all of you who volunteered should take away from the 2007 event.

What every person who donned a purple and white shirt or who spent a moment wiping away a tear next to a luminary should celebrate is that thousands of you came together and made a difference.

The full impact of what you accomplished cannot possibly be measured.

But it can be found in the hearts that you touched and the memories you preserved. And it will be apparent — someday — in the lives that you just might have saved.

In the not-too-distant future, there will be a child or adult who will hear a doctor say “You have cancer, but we know how to beat it.”

You will be a part of that moment because of the money you helped raise that could very well have led to that cure.

There will be a mother who will cry because her child is sick or a sister who is worried about what her sibling is going through, but each of them will be confident that there will still be years left to enjoy their loved ones.

You will be part of that victory, too.

Relay for Life is special because it does more than honor those who have lost their battles with the disease and those who are still fighting.

This event asks people of all walks of life to put their shoulders to the wheel to get something done.

And all of you did just that — get something done.

Maybe next year you can consider adding a local project to the mix — money for a new piece of equipment or other item to help survivors — that can stand as a permanent testament to this community’s determination that our friends, neighbors and families will not be alone in their fight against this dread disease.

But that’s to decide next year.

For now, this is a moment to be proud to have stood together, to have succeeded together — and to have saved lives together.

Congratulations on a job well-done.

Published in Editorials on June 24, 2007 12:36 AM