So much accomplished.
So much more to be done.
The annual Marion County Relay for Life was held Friday inside the Falcon Center on the shared campus of Fairmont State University and Pierpont Community & Technical College — moved indoors for the first time because of weather. It was held three weeks after Mannington’s Relay for Life, also a growing, annual event held this year at Hough Park.
Emotions, as always, run high.
Relay for Life is a celebration for those who have survived cancer and an opportunity to remember those we love who have passed away. It’s an opportunity to raise funds in the ongoing battle to prevent and cure cancer, and both county events raise tens of thousands of dollars.
A highlight, as always, is the survivors’ walk.
Breast cancer survivor Sharon Maier showed her emotions at the Fairmont Relay for Life as the survivors took their lap around the Falcon Center.
“I was balling because I’m thankful for being alive and to see everybody,” Maier said. “It’s just like a big family.”
A big family indeed — the survivors and their strong supporters.
“Looking at all these survivors and all these people for us, it was great,” Maier said. “It’s amazing how many supporters we have — it’s really wonderful.”
Later in the night, participants celebrated the lighting of the luminaria — specially decorated bags with candles inside to honor cancer survivors and remember those who have passed on.
We sincerely appreciate all who are involved with Relay for Life — from those who organize the annual events to the survivors, the volunteers and those who so generously give to support a cause that affects virtually all of us.
It’s not a one-day-a-year event; it’s a cause that requires effort each and every day.
There has been remarkable progress in the national fight against cancer. American Cancer Society statistics show the death rate from cancer in the U.S. has fallen 20 percent from its peak in 1991.
Between 1990-91 and 2009, the most recent year for which data is available, overall death rates decreased by 24 percent in men, 16 percent in women and 20 percent overall. This translates to almost 1.2 million deaths from cancer that were avoided. Death rates continue to decline for lung, colon, breast and prostate cancers. The drop in lung cancer is attributed to reductions in smoking, while the drop in prostate, colon and breast cancer is attributed to improvements in early detection and treatment.
At the same time, the American Cancer Society forecasts 1,660,290 new cancer cases and 580,350 deaths from cancer in the U.S. in 2013.
That means the spirit shown during Relay for Life — from education to outreach to research — must never fall by the wayside.
“In 2009, Americans had a 20 percent lower risk of death from cancer than they did in 1991, a milestone that shows we truly are creating more birthdays,” said John R. Seffrin, Ph.D., chief executive officer of the American Cancer Society.
“But we must also recognize that not all demographic groups have benefited equally from these gains, particularly those diagnosed with colorectal or breast cancer, where earlier detection and better treatments are credited for the improving trends. We can and must close this gap so that people are not punished for having the misfortune of being born poor and disadvantaged.”
Marion County has shown it’s up for the long-term fight.
So much accomplished.
COLUMN: Freedom of Information — if you can pay
Several years ago, I made a Freedom of Information request to a local government agency. Within the five business days, as required by law, a packet of information was delivered to the office. I expected a bill, as most government offices have a charge that ranges from 25 cents to $1.25 per page for copies of the documents we request.
The reassuring spirit of Easter: One of new hope and beginnings
During the sub-zero and snow-filled months of winter, we maintained a spirit of hope that spring was on the way. It has now become a reality as all nature stretches and yawns and awakens once more to a new beginning. The fragrance of spring awakens our waiting nostrils, the budding beauty of new life brightens our eyes, and the reassuring idea of renewal stimulates our minds.
Unsung heroes handling calls in emergencies are appreciated
Thankfully, we live in a community where help is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, just by dialing three numbers — 9-1-1.
During this week, which is recognized as National Public Safety Tele-Communicator’s Week nationwide, we need to remember that on the other end of that line are the men and women here in this county who are always there in case of accident, crimes, medical emergencies and any other catastrophic event.
Message to ‘buckle up and park the phone’ is saving lives
A figure that we haven’t seen that much in recent years is the highway death toll for a given period.
Is the death toll up, down or just about the same as it was?
The West Virginia Southern Regional Highway Safety Program has announced there were 325 highway fatalities in 2013, the second-lowest number on record.
State native Burwell can ‘deliver results’ as Health and Human Services secretary
Sylvia Mathews Burwell might not be a name with which most people are immediately familiar.
For the past year, she has run the budget office under President Barack Obama.
Prior to that, she served as president of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Global Development Program and later the Wal-Mart Foundation.
Marion scores well in recent health report but could do better
When it comes to area-wide studies, especially on health, there’s usually good news and bad news.
So was the recent report on the health of America’s counties released by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation recently. The nationwide county study evaluated health outcomes and health factors, and ranked counties accordingly.
COLUMN: ‘Instant’ news not always reliable
That little word has a pretty big meaning. With origins that date back to the 15th century, it means urgent, current, immediate.
But think about how that word has developed over the past few decades.
Instant pudding. Instead of slaving over a hot stove for a few minutes, you can now pour cold milk and with a bit of stirring, instant pudding!
Decision to be an organ donor can save lives
Chelsea Clair watched as her father died waiting for a bone marrow transplant.
So when she met Kyle Froelich at a car show in 2009 and heard about his struggles to find a kidney that would match his unique needs, she never hesitated to offer hers to the man she just met.
Volunteers continue to have priceless impact on community
Chances are, you know someone who volunteers. Perhaps you’re a volunteer yourself.
Marion County is full of volunteers.
They read to our youth.
They assist nonprofit agencies.
They serve on boards and committees.
And in 2013, they spent a day picking up nearly 10 tons of garbage that had been tossed out on public property around Marion County.
Proposed school calendar lives up to letter and spirit of law
West Virginia state law requires that students be in a classroom for 180 days.
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