The numbers themselves quickly grab your attention.
According to the American Cancer Society, there will be an estimated 1,665,540 new cancer cases diagnosed in the United States during this year and 585,720 cancer deaths.
Cancer remains the second most common cause of death in the U.S., behind heart disease, accounting for nearly one of every four deaths.
It’s important, though, to get to know the faces associated with those numbers, and what better time than the days leading up to Friday’s Relay for Life at Fairmont State University?
This week, starting today, the Times West Virginian is featuring people who either have defeated cancer or have battled it successfully for a long period of time.
The most important message from these personal stories?
There is hope.
While it still kills far too many people, many cancer victims are being placed in the “survivor” category. There will certainly be no shortage of emotion Friday during the “Survivor’s Lap.”
There are no sure things in life, but more than half of all cancer deaths could be prevented by making healthy choices like not smoking, staying at a healthy weight, eating right, keeping active, being cautious about exposure to the sun and getting recommended screening tests.
It’s important to listen to our health-care professionals and follow their advice when it comes to such screenings as mammograms, colonoscopies, Pap tests and PSA tests — measures to detect cancer in its earliest stages when treatment is most effective.
Continuing research is essential for when cancer does strike.
Participants in Friday’s Fairmont Relay for Life, as well as those in the Mannington Relay earlier this spring, are part of more than 4 million people in more than 20 countries who raise much-needed funds and awareness to save lives from cancer through the Relay For Life movement.
Relay for Life has grown tremendously in less than three decades. In May 1985, Dr. Gordy Klatt walked and ran for 24 hours around a track in Tacoma, Washington, raising $27,000 to help the American Cancer Society fight the ongoing battle. A year later, 340 supporters joined the overnight event.
Since those first steps, the Relay For Life program has grown into a worldwide phenomenon, raising nearly $5 billion to fight cancer.
It’s a time to look back with respect as well as chart a brighter future in the battle to defeat cancer.
One of the highlights is the after-dark luminaria ceremony to remember people we have lost to cancer, honor people who have fought cancer in the past and support those whose fight continues. Candles are lit inside of personalized bags.
Earlier, during the Survivor’s Lap, all cancer survivors at the event take the first lap, celebrating their victory over cancer while cheered on by the other participants.
Relay For Life events also recognize and celebrate caregivers, who give time, love and support to their friends, family, neighbors and coworkers facing cancer.
For many years, so many have been getting personal in the battle against cancer.
Friday’s Relay for Life is a time to remember those we’ve lost, celebrate survival and and build resources with the solemn hope that more cancer patients will be cured and the disease will one day be eliminated.
We hope many hundreds from the community will spend some time — even all night — Friday at Fairmont State.
The numbers themselves quickly grab your attention.
Time is now for Tomblin to support King Coal Highway
U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall, D-W.Va., is asking Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin to add the King Coal Highway project to West Virginia’s six-year highway improvement plan. It is a logical request, and one that Tomblin should act promptly on.
United effort to keep NASA in Fairmont is essential project
The high-technology sector is obviously vital to the economy of North Central West Virginia.
That’s why a strong, united effort to keep the NASA Independent Verification and Validation Program in Fairmont is absolutely essential.
COLUMN: Calling all readers: Be heard
I love to talk to readers.
I love to hear concerns they have about stories we’ve written, things they think should be included in the newspaper and things they think shouldn’t be.
Korean War veterans are deserving of a memorial
NEEDED: A total of $10,000 for the Korean War Memorial this year.
And a good man has been placed in charge of the funding. Charlie Reese, former president of the Marion County Chamber of Commerce, is now director of the Marion County Development Office. His task was to make a recommendation as to what steps are necessary to keep the project moving.
Roll up your sleeves, give blood and you can save lives
It takes up to 100 units of blood to save the life of someone who sustains life-threatening injuries in a vehicle accident.
We’re hoping that the number of people who come to Fairmont Senior High School on Friday for and American Red Cross blood drive will exceed that amount.
Vehicles and motorcycles must share the road safely
The days are long. The weather is superb. There’s plenty of leisure time in these lazy days of summer.
It’s the perfect time to take a long motorcycle ride.
It’s also the perfect opportunity for us to take the time to remind not only riders but drivers of the need to share the road. And we feel compelled to mention it because just within the month of July, there have been two motorcycle-versus-car accidents within the City of Fairmont alone — one with severe injuries sustained by the motorcyclist and the other with less serious injury.
- Too many taking too few steps to protect selves from skin cancer
Distracted driving: It isn’t worth fine or a life
Today marks the day that police agencies from six states are joining forces to crack down on one thing — distracted driving.
And they will focus on that traffic violation for a solid week, with the stepped-up effort to curb distracted driving wrapping up on Saturday, July 26.
COLUMN: Are we people watchers or people judgers?
Let me tell you about my little friend Robby. Well, actually, it’s more about his family and especially his mom. I didn’t get her name. I heard Robby’s name quite a bit, though, during a trip home from Birmingham, Alabama.
I noticed the family in the Birmingham airport immediately. They were just the kind of family you’d notice.
Relish the rich bounty of state’s diverse, unique food traditions
This week, a group of federal officials on a three-day culinary tour of the state visited the Greenbrier Valley to find out what most of us here already know — we have a rich food tradition in West Virginia.
The group was made up of officials from the Appalachian Regional Commission, the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
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- Time is now for Tomblin to support King Coal Highway