In this year alone, some 91,020 new cases of cancer will be diagnosed in Texas. Of that, 49 new cases will be discovered in Blanco County alone. This number represents 49 cases too many! We all have been touched by cancer in one way or another, and now is the opportunity to Fight Back! This Fight cannot be done effectively alone, but together we can accomplish much.
Last year over $73,000 was raised through the efforts of Blanco County Relay for Life. With those funds, 81% was used for Cancer Prevention Programs, 16% went towards Fundraising, and 3% went towards Management. (See chart)
Some of the major cancer research breakthroughs of the past century have occurred as a result of the money that has been raised for cancer research. These include the following:
• Aided in the 80 % five-year survival rates for many childhood leukemias using combination chemotherapy
• Began the crusade to gain acceptance of the Pap test (to screen for cervical cancer)
• Proved mammography as an effective screening tool for breast cancer
• Supported the researchers who discovered the prostate specific antigen (PSA) for prostate cancer screening
• Supported the researcher who discovered the drug 5-FU for colon cancer treatment
• Confirmed that smoking is a cause of lung caner
• Discovery of the genes for inherited breast and colon cancer
• Initiated the use of Tamoxifen to reduce the risk of second or first breast cancer
• Development of monoclonal antibodies to treat breast cancer (Herceptin) and lymphoma (Rituxan)
• Supported the development of small molecule inhibitors, such as Gleevec, for treatment myeloid leukemia
These findings represent just some of the research that has been done as a result of funds raised by Relay for Life.
The American Cancer Society also educates and is working with Congress to:
• Increase state and federal funding to give low-income, uninsured, and under-insured women access to breast and cervical cancer screenings
• Insure that all individuals covered under Medicare receive access to the most current clinical trials
• Help to enact state laws insuring that individuals have access to and coverage for lifesaving cancer screenings and treatments
• To increase the political awareness of the fight against cancer through the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network
• Help stop Congress from passing legislation that would undercut state laws requiring insurers to cover cancer screenings and treatments
Without the help of Relay for Life and communities coming together as one, none of this would have been possible. Additionally, without the support of Blanco County and the funds that have been able to raise, the American Cancer Society would not have been able to fund all of this research and to have had our voices heard in Congress.
This year Relay for Life will be held on Saturday & Sunday, April 19th & 20th, at the football field in Johnson City. Relay is in need of teams to help support this event. We have an excellent new group of Event Chairs in place, but there are some teams which may need a few more members. Additional teams would be greatly welcomed!
Some may have the misconception that participation in a Relay for Life Team involves too much work or time. Since when does something that is worthwhile not require some investment of resources? Working as a member or team leader can be fun and rewarding.
This is not about which team raises the most money, but about what that money is raised for. A Relay for Life Team may consist of a group of friends, a group of employees, or a church group, ect. The possibilities are endless, as is the list of prospective activities for teams.
Relay for Life should be seen as an investment in ourselves, our parents, our community, and especially our children. If you or a loved one has not yet been touched by cancer, chances are such that, sooner or later, you or they will be. You can contact either Peggy Berryhill or Kasi Baker today if you are interested in helping or working with a team!
It is for these reasons and more that Relay for Life needs the help of you and everyone in Blanco County. Then, hopefully, we will not have to lose one more precious life in our community to cancer.
For information about Blanco County Relay for Life you may visit our website at http://events.cancer.org/rflblancocountytx. You may also contact the Event Chairs Kasi Baker at 210-415-9591 or Lyndi Lorenz at 830-330-0767. If you would like to be a Team Captain or to start a Relay for Life team you may contact Peggy Berryhill at 830-833-5851, for Survivorship Trish Hartmann at 830-833-1431, for Luminaries Laura Jenschke at 512-971-9097, for Silent Auction Peggy Wallace at 830-833-5335, and for Sponsorships Gayla Guthrie at 512-567-0377. Please let us hear from you!