05/31/09 — Proud, again: County shows spirit, compassion in 2009 Relay for Life effort

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Proud, again: County shows spirit, compassion in 2009 Relay for Life effort

More than half a million dollars and counting.
This weekend's Relay for Life effort might not have set any records, yet, but because of Wayne County citizens' compassion and generosity, more money will head to the American Cancer Society's research effort and, eventually, hopefully, be part of bringing about a cure for cancer.
But this weekend really wasn't about the money.
The thousands of people who braved the dicey weather and the rough economic times did not dab away tears and share hugs because of the dollar tally.
They did not gaze up at the sky at the balloons headed for the heavens with hope and faith or light luminaries in memory of those who have fought and those who are still fighting because they wanted to simply reach a goal.
This weekend's event was about hearts, courage, faith and the belief that if we all work together, we can stop parents from losing children, children from losing parents and brothers and sisters and husbands and wives from having to live their lives without someone they love.
Their stories were everywhere -- those who could call themselves survivors for one year, two years or even two decades, and those who are just beginning their battle against a disease that affects people from all walks of life.
There were families who told stories of those who are no longer with them, yet who taught them that courage and faith are all you need -- even if, in the end, you do not win your fight.
To listen to those who have lost someone they love -- and to realize that they are keeping a promise to keep fighting -- was inspiring and heart-breaking.
And then there were the survivors -- those who will not let their disease take over their futures without a fight -- and who show all those who meet them just what it means to be a hero. Their courage is what kept those who Relayed this weekend from even thinking a minute about the rain that fell off and on all evening.
There are many, many volunteers who make sure that the Relay for Life is a success each year -- and their job begins almost as soon as each Relay ends.
They make sure the cogs move smoothly and keep the focus pointed where it should be -- on the survivors and the patients who are still battling this dread disease.
And because of them -- and all the teams who have been raising money all year -- progress has been made, and we are a lot closer to finding a cure for cancer and improving treatments and services for patients.
Like every year's effort, this one was spectacular -- and a testament to what a group of people can accomplish when they put their heads together.
And in the end what mattered was the strength, support, love and courage that blossomed.
Those gifts are priceless -- and the Relay for Life's most valuable contribution to this community.

Published in Editorials on May 31, 2009 12:33 AM