Relay committee holds kick-off

The American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life event has been around for the past 30 years, and when something has been around for that long, it can become a commonplace event that people start to dismiss.

But think about this: What if the American Cancer Society didn’t exist?

What if there wasn’t an organization to help those who are suffering through the effects of being diagnosed with cancer – losing their hair, being sick from chemo treatments, getting a terminal diagnosis, and fighting for their life every single day?

Relay For Life helps raise money for all of the programs the ACS sponsors that help people who are in these situations, including people right here in Franklin County.

This past Tuesday, the Franklin County Relay For Life Committee and several Relay team captains held an official kick-off for this year’s Relay For Life in Franklin County, and during the event, members heard from committee member Milford Brown, who knows first-hand how important the ACS and Relay For Life can be.

“This is the first year since 1998 that I haven’t had to visit the Johnson Cancer Center,” Brown told the crowd.

“There was a time when I thought that I wasn’t going to be here much longer because of the cancer I had, but through treatments and prayer, I am still here today.

“Cancer has not only affected me, though. My sister was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1984 and she has been diagnosed again. I’ve lost three brothers to cancer, and I’ve had good friends pass away, even recently, because of cancer.

“I keep saying ‘One day there will be a cure’ and I believe there will be. That’s why it’s so important not to quit. If you quit, there never will be a cure.

“We have to keep going and keep fighting and keep raising money and offering hope so that one day there will be a cure.”

Brown said the whole Franklin County community has been affected by cancer in one way or another, and there are many local citizens, both young and old, who are currently fighting the disease right now.

“We have to keep going for these people, and for the countless others who will be diagnosed in the future,” Brown said.

“You never know if this might be you someday, and wouldn’t it be great if this was the year we were able to find a cure.”

Brown also talked about the importance of community participation in this year’s Relay For Life.

“Everybody can give some sort of excuse for not being part of a team or even starting their own team, but the reality is, everybody can do this,” he said.

“It really doesn’t take much. Even if you start a team and just have a few people who are a part of it and you only raise $100, that’s $100 that we didn’t have before.

“Every little bit helps and we need everybody in the county doing their part to help us in this fight. If we’re not going to do it, who will?”

Anna Duncan, an ACS community representative who works with Franklin County, said those who volunteer with Relay in Franklin County have so much heart and such a passion for what they do and that passion translates into real-life help for local cancer patients.

“The money that is raised through the Relay For Life in Franklin County goes toward so many programs that help so many local patients,” she said.

“The ‘Look Good, Feel Better’ program where female patients receive a free make-up kit valued at over $200 and volunteer cosmetologists fit them with a free wig; the ‘Man to Man’ support group for prostate cancer patients and survivors; the ‘Road to Recovery’ program that provides transportation to treatments – these are just a few of the programs the ACS offers, and Franklin County citizens benefit from all of these.

“These services are offered at no charge, and when people ask us how much they owe us and we tell them absolutely nothing, you can see the relief and the gratitude on their faces, and the work you do raising money through Relay For Life makes that possible.”

Duncan said it is never too late to sign up to be a new Relay For Life team in Franklin County or to join an existing team.

“We are always looking for new teams, whether it’s a church group, a business, or just a group of neighbors or friends who want to support the Relay For Life,” she said.

“Maybe you’ve thought about being involved with Relay before and just didn’t think you had the time or didn’t know how to get involved. Don’t let another year pass by without getting in on this event.

“There is a place for every single person who wants to participate in Relay For Life. All you have to do is ask.”

This year’s Relay For Life will be Friday, May 1, at the Russellville High School Tiger Stadium.

To be a part of this year’s event, contact Duncan at 256-767-0825.


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