OUR OPINION: Relay for LIfe program seeks cure for cancer

By NEMS Daily Journal

The 2013 round of Relay for Life events in Northeast Mississippi began last month and will continue into August, all raising money primarily for cancer research and to offer varied kinds of program assistance for cancer patients in the region.
Lee County-Tupelo’s relay events start at 6 p.m. Friday in downtown Tupelo’s Fairpark district and will involve about 350 participants, coordinator Paige Kelly said Monday, and the aim before the program year ends Aug. 31 is to count $37,000 in donations and sponsorships.
Relay for Life as an event is the public celebration of individual and team efforts carried out via the Internet, person-to-person and in corporate settings.
Chapters in approximately 5,400 communities in 20 countries participate. Their efforts have raised billions. The events are the signature fundraiser for the American Cancer Society, which has sponsored research for 100 years.
Relay For Life each year raises more than $400 million, which is applied to research, distribution of timely information and services.
“Most of our booths will have a game around the theme,” said American Cancer Society representative Paige Kelly in an earlier Daily Journal interview.
Kelly said Monday teams and individual participants can register as late as the event Friday night to be included in the 2013 program goals.
Cancer remains a scary medical word, but it is not the likely death sentence that caused it to be whispered in 1913, when the American Cancer Society was formed.
The ACS says two out of three people diagnosed with cancer will become survivors. Research advances as does cures and knowledge increases:
• In the last 20 years, thanks in part to groundbreaking research, breast cancer death rates have declined 32 percent.
• All states showed significant decreases in deaths from colorectal cancer between 1990 and 2007 except for Mississippi. In 2007, 18.8 percent of the population in Mississippi was uninsured, compared with 5.4 percent in Massachusetts. There are also differences in risk factors, including obesity and smoking, which tend to be much higher in southern states.
• An estimated 6,500 Mississippians are projected to die of cancer this year despite research and treatment advances.
Get information about Relay from Paige Kelly at paige.kelly@cancer.org or call (662) 491-0238.

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