Archive for Thursday, June 6, 2002

Eudora Relay brings more than money to battle against cancer

June 6, 2002

This weekend, Eudora will give a living example to the oft-used but elusively defined phrase "small-town values."

The American Cancer Society hit on a winning formula with the Relay for Life. The fund-raiser counts on local leadership to provide much of the organizational skills and energy for each community's event. The basic premise teams collect money and then take part in a nightlong walk symbolizing hope helps ensure many people get involved in participating communities. But the dependence on local organizational efforts produces a mixed bag of results. For whatever reason, we can assume some communities put more time and energy into the Relay than others.

The American Cancer Society hit the jackpot with Eudora. With the inspiration of Brooke O'Grady and the O'Grady family, the early efforts of Duke and Carol Hester, the continuing commitment of Marilyn Laws Porter, Julie Stewart and many others, the community embraces the Relay.

But the Eudora effort wouldn't be the success it is if it didn't touch something deeper. With 30 teams signed on to this year's Relay, more than 300 individuals will join in shared moments of grief, remembrance, victory, support and hope.

The scope of participation points out few of us have escaped the consequences of cancer, and the grim statistics tell us it will continue to devastate individuals, families and communities. According to the American Cancer Society Web site, 43 percent of American men and 38 percent of American women will be stricken with some form of invasive cancer. It is predicted 12,300 Kansans and 1,284,000 Americans will develop cancer this year. Cancer accounts for one in every four deaths in the United States, making it second only to heart disease.

On the bright side, 64 percent of those with cancer survive the disease. New drugs and treatments are becoming available to help increase that survival rate.

The Eudora Relay for Life raised $50,000 and $51,000 the last two years in that effort. The goal this year is to best those impressive results. As important as expensive research is, perhaps the Relay's biggest contribution an increase in awareness the participating survivors bring to the event. Early detection of cancer from increased awareness has the potential to save more lives than new drugs and treatments.

Some of the dollars raised will go elsewhere, but the true success of the Eudora Relay for Life is that the awareness and support from the event will stay with the community.

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