The Palestine Herald, Palestine, Texas

June 6, 2009

Support local Relay for Life event Friday

Published Sun., June 7, 2009

Cancer touches so many lives and doesn’t discriminate. It doesn’t care how old you are, if you are rich or poor, or your nationality.

The American Cancer Society estimates that more than 1.4 million Americans will be diagnosed with cancer this year. Cancer is the second most common cause of death, exceeded only by heart disease. In the United States, cancer accounts for about one out of four deaths.

But the good news is the five-year relative survival rate for all cancers diagnosed between 1996 and 2004 is 66 percent, up from 50 percent from 1975 to 1977. This is largely in part to progress in diagnosing certain kinds of cancer at earlier stages and improved treatments.

Most of us have been personally touched by cancer in some way through a family member, friend or co-worker. And many people we know are fighting cancer right now or are in remission.

On Friday, the Anderson County Relay for Life all-night event will be held at Westwood’s Panther Stadium. The event is the annual fund-raiser for the American Cancer Society.

Relay for Life’s motto is “Celebrate. Remember. Fight back.” And that’s exactly what the local Relay for Life teams will do on Friday.

Before the event, a special hamburger dinner for cancer survivors and their caregivers will be held at 5 p.m. Cancer survivors who haven’t signed up yet are invited to call Becky Chapman at 903-724-0536.

The all-night Relay for Life event will officially kick off at 7 p.m. with the survivor ceremony and the first lap around the track for the survivors. This is a very moving part of the event because everyone on the sideline cheers on the survivors and the caregivers as they walk around the track. Some are in wheelchairs or pulled on trailers.

At 9 p.m., the luminary ceremony will take place. White bags will be lined up around the track with names written on them representing those who are surviving cancer (in honor) or those who have lost the battle with cancer (in memory). The candles are the lit.

Luminaries can be bought for at least $5. Luminaries can be purchased up until 7 p.m. the night of Relay for Life. Luminaries can be purchased online at, from a Relay for Life team member, or from Relay for Life Chair Sarah McDonald (903-724-4178 or via email at

Beginning at 7 p.m. and throughout the night, a variety of activities and games will take place during Relay for Life. A bounce house will be set up for the children. Some things to look forward to is the Mrs. Relay competition (men on the teams dress up as a woman and then collect donations) and the midnight chocolate buffet.

Each team will have a “campsite” on the field with various fund-raisers taking place ranging from food, novelty and homemade items, and drawings. There also will be a silent auction.

We encourage everyone to come out to Relay for Life and bring the whole family. The event is largely a celebration of life -- and there are plenty of things to do. And the money you spend at the event will go toward a greater cause -- fighting cancer.

For information about the Anderson County Relay for Life event, visit the Anderson County Relay for Life page online at,, call McDonald at 903-724-4178 or e-mail