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Relay organizers looking ahead

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By Molly Haines

This year’s Relay for Life was a successful event that raised thousands of dollars to go toward finding a cure for cancer. Now, less than two weeks after the event ,it’s time to start looking ahead to next year’s Relay and what can be done year-round to support the American Cancer Society.

This year’s Relay For Life, held May 29-30 raised $59,000. Owen County is part of the Mid-South Division of Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana.

The $28,419,551 raised during Relay for Life in the Mid-South Division will go toward program support, which includes prevention, detection, treatment, patient support and other program support; $2,173,159 will support management and general administration; $11,624,924 will go toward fund-raising; and $25,456,465 will support national research.

Although planning for Relay for Life does not officially begin until November, Owen County Relay for Life Co-Chair Jenni Duncan said planning is year-round.

“A survivor recognition will be held as well as a wrap-up meeting where we will start looking toward next year’s events,” Duncan said. “Relay is almost a year-round thing and a lot of people don’t see that, they don’t realize how much goes into it year after year.”

Duncan said both the American Cancer Society and Relay for Life are important to Owen County.

“Everyone in the community has been touched by cancer in some way,” Duncan said. “I can’t think of one person who hasn’t and I think that’s why so many people in the community support Relay For Life.”

The American Cancer Society (ACS) has invested $3.2 billion in cancer research and has been a part of many milestones in cancer research including bone marrow transplant, Pap tests and cancer drugs. Forty-two of the researchers chosen for ACS funding have won the Nobel Prize.

The Society offers cancer patients and their families a variety of programs to assist patients including free or low cost transportation assistance to and from cancer treatments; free lodging for those who have to travel away from home for their treatment; free wigs; assistance with treatment-related physical side-effects; emotional support groups to connect newly diagnosed breast cancer patients with survivors; and an online support network.

Duncan said because cancer is present in the lives of so many, it is important to not give up hope.

“Cancer does not take a break,” Duncan said. “It’s present day after day, year after year. Cancer doesn’t rest and neither do we.”