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Relay needs you

Statistics show that over one’s lifetime one-half of men and one-third of women will be affected by cancer. These statistics should make one think about what can be done to help prevent cancer. While what may cause different types of cancers isn’t always known, there are contributing factors that have been identified. That includes lack of exercise, use of tobacco, use of alcohol, amount of time spent exposed to ultraviolet light, diet and even genetics. When you read about all the statistics, it almost makes you want to dig a hole, hide and hope and pray that cancer does not find you.

But hiding from cancer is not a possibility. Many of us tend to go about our lives and give little thought to what could be lurking inside our bodies. That is until someone close to us, especially immediate family or friends, is diagnosed with this terrible disease. There is just something about hearing that word that makes you think of the worst case scenario and that you are going to lose that person.

Thankfully for many, cancer is no longer a death sentence. The number of survivors continues to grow due to research and newly developed treatments.

One group that has moved out front and center to help increase awareness of cancer is the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life. This annual event, which began in 1985, has spread to 20 countries with more than four million participating each year. The event began as a goal by Dr. Gordy Klatt to raise money for the local chapter of the American Cancer Society.

Relay for Life events are organized, overnight fundraising events that include teams of folks taking turns walking around a track. Activities, food and fun are included with the ultimate goal of raising awareness and funds to fight cancer.

Relay for Life celebrates cancer survivors during a special survivors lap, which is the first lap of the event. To remember those who lost their battle to cancer and those who are currently fighting cancer, a special luminary ceremony is held. Participants include survivors of cancer, those who are fighting it now, and friends and family of those affected by the disease.

The 2013 Relay for Life kicked off Tuesday. If you want to get involved, they will be glad to have you. Log on to for more information. We all need to do our part. Cancer is no respecter of persons and anyone could be next.

Randy Garrison is the president and publisher of the Hartselle Enquirer.