RFL reflects a “fight back” attitude

With the American Cancer Society Relay For Life of Hutchinson County just around the corner, participants are going into the event with a “fight back” attitude.This “celebration of life” brings the community together in an effort to fight cancer and symbolizes the fight that patients face after they are diagnosed with the disease.RFL is an overnight team effort to raise funds for American Cancer Society’s programs and services. According to Cathy Phillips, RFL co-chair for Hutchinson County, cancer does not stop when the sun goes down.“So we’re not going to stop either,” she said. “We hope the community will join us in this overnight fight.”RFL starts at dusk and ends in the morning hours of the following day. The light and darkness of the day and night parallel the physical effects, emotions, and mental state of cancer patients while undergoing treatment.The Relay begins when the sun is setting. This symbolizes the time that people are diagnosed with cancer. The day gets darker, representing the cancer patients’ state of mind as they endure the emotions of facing the disease.As the evening goes on, it gets colder and darker, just like the emotions of cancer patients. Between 1 a.m. and 2 a.m. represents the time when cancer patients begin treatment. They get exhausted, some sick, not wanting to go on, and possibly want to give up.“Participants in Relay feel much the same way while walking during these hours,” Judy Allen, RFL media chair, said. “They cannot stop or give up, just as cancer patients cannot stop or give up.”The sun rising represents the end of treatment for cancer patients. They see the light at the end of the tunnel and know life will continue. The morning light brings a new day, full of life and excitement. Participants feel the brightness of the morning and know the end of the Relay is close.When participants leave the Relay, they can think of cancer patients leaving their last treatment.“Just as participants are exhausted and weak, so are individuals after treatment,” Allen said.The American Cancer Society Relay For Life of Hutchinson County takes from 7 p.m. on Friday, June 8 until 7 a.m. Saturday, June 9, at Huber Park in Borger.For more information on cancer, call the ACS’s 24-hour help line at 1-800-227-2345 or visit cancer.org.