RFL helps fund programs for cancer victims

The Relay For Life of Hutchinson County aims to celebrate the lives of residents who have survived cancer, while aiming to find a cure for the disease.Dollars raised through the local RFL event help support the American Cancer Society’s mission of eliminating cancer by helping people stay well and get well, finding cures, and fighting back.“In the fight against cancer, the American Cancer Society places great importance on cancer patient services - hoping to ease cancer’s impact on people’s lives,” Judy Allen, RFL media chair, said. “The fact that people are surviving cancer today more than ever before - more than 60 percent live at least five years - reinforces the need to help people get back into life’s mainstream.”Meghan Mackey, Community Manager, Income Development, High Plains Division of the American Cancer Society, said that the ACS provides the most up-to-date information about cancer and guidance to local community resources.“Programs, services, and materials for cancer patients and their families are available at no direct cost through public contributions,” she said.The society helps people with cancer and their families in all Texas communities through a toll-free number that is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. By calling 1-800-227-2345, a cancer information specialist can offer assistance.Resources can also be found on the ACS web site at www.cancer.org. With a click of the mouse, patients and caregivers can log onto the Cancer Survivors Network and seek support.“The site offers discussion groups, personal stories, communication with others via email and resources such as suggested books, articles, and web sites,” Allen said.She said the ACS provides several tangible services such as comfort pillow wig, nutritional supplements, and other items. Temporary housing is available in some cities for cancer patients who must travel for treatment. Volunteer drivers transport patients through the Road to Recovery program and gas cards are often available for those who have to travel for treatment.Volunteers who have experienced cancer visit patients and their families to support them in adjusting to their diagnosis. The Reach to Recovery program is for breast cancer patients, and the Man to Man visitation program is a program created for prostate cancer patients.Support groups take place in hospitals, churches, and other facilities that help cancer patients and their families.“These include I Can Cope and Look Good...Feel Better,” Allen said. “The ACS also offers a bereavement support group in some communities called Life After Loss.”The upcoming RFL of Hutchinson County will be held from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. Friday, June 10 and Saturday, June 11 at Huber Park in Borger. The event will bring together teams of families, friends, churches, neighborhoods, and businesses - all with the goal of curing cancer, honoring those fighting the disease, remembering those lost to it and providing those currently with the disease a host of tools and information to assist them and their caregivers.To honor the strength and courage of cancer survivors, all area survivors are invited to participate in a “Survivors’ Lap” at the RFL event. This lap takes place right after the opening ceremony, which will be held at 7 p.m. At this time, all on-field activity will stop as team members, visitors, and committee members line the track to cheer for, honor, and support the local cancer survivors.Teams of walkers will keep a constant presence on the track through the night, walking in shifts to raise funds for ACS.The luminaria ceremony will be held at dusk and a fireworks display is being planned for around 10 p.m. Teams will have booths of food, games, activities, and treats available for purchase to raise funds. Raffles will also be held through the night. “Please join us for Relay For Life of Hutchinson County beginning at 7 p.m. on Friday, June 10,” Allen said. “We can promise you lots of fun, food, fellowship and a chance to honor and to pay tribute to cancer survivors in Hutchinson County and an opportunity to remember those we have lost to the disease.”For more information on the RFL of Hutchinson County, contact co-chairs Kathie Harber at 806-898-6537 or Cathy Phillips at 806-282-4605.