Tue, Jan 23, 2018 08:09 AM
Wednesday, March 8, 2017 issue
2003-06-06 life & times
Martin Co. prepares for Relay for Life
Cletus Turner

INEZ CITY WORKERS hung the flag proclaiming the Martin County Relay For Life to be held on June 6-7. The walk proceeds will be donated to the American Cancer Society and its worthwhile work toward eradicating cancer. BSN photo/Cletus R. Turner (click for larger version)
INEZ The Martin County Relay For Life starts today at 7 p.m.

Co-chair Rita Ward said the Relay for Life is the American Cancer Society's signature event. The reason why the relay is held is to "represent the hope that those lost to cancer will never be forgotten, that those who face cancer will be supported, and that one day cancer will be eliminated."

Ward said the Relay allows a community to grieve for those lost to cancer and celebrate those who have survived.

"For those newly diagnosed, the relay offers an opportunity to meet others who have survived the same type of cancer," Ward said. "For those cancer patients in treatment, the relay offers the opportunity to share experiences with others. For survivors, the relay brings recognition that the community cares about their struggle and helps bring closure to a trying time in their lives.

According to Ward, the Relay For Life began in 1985 with Dr. Gordy Klatt, who spent 24 hours circling a track in Washington. He cycled 83 miles and friends and family paid $25 to run or walk 30 minutes with him. Klatt pulled together a committee to plan the first team relay event.

Ward said Martin County had 57 residents that were diagnosed with cancer in 2000.

"The most common sites included six men with prostate cancer, 17 people with lung cancer, five women with breast cancer and six people with colon cancer," Ward said. "In addition, 30 Martin County residents lost their lives to cancer in 2000."

The American Cancer Society has established goals to try to save as many as five million lives by 2015. The goals are to reduce cancer mortality rates by 50 percent, reduce cancer incidence rates by 25 percent and measurably improve the quality of life for all cancer survivors.

"In 2000, the Relay raised $21,217," Ward said. "In 2002, we raised $42,326 and in 2002, we raised $32,000. The total for the last three years is $95,543. We know the economy isn't good, but we are hoping to at least equal last year."

Ward said the money will go to help with cancer information, the Cancer Survivors Network, the college scholarship program and the Look Good....Feel Good program.

"We have the Look Good...Feel Good program here in Martin County at the Health Department," Ward said. "Wigs, prosthetic devices and other helpful aids are made available free to those who need it. That is a wonderful program."

There have been 14 teams committed to the Relay, which means they have registered, paid their fees and have been set up. Ward said two more teams are planning to participate, but haven't completed the process.

"This event is open to the public and we want everyone who can to participate," Ward said. "Not only to walk, but also to raise money. I have seen the community pull together, I have made friends and everyone is there for the same reason. Cancer touches everyone."

Anyone with questions can call the toll free number 1-800-ACS-2345 or 1-800-298-7831.

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