Relay brings hope

Published 8:37 pm Monday, May 18, 2009

First of all, for my handful of regular readers, I haven’t caught the mouse yet. I’m beginning to think that my original suspicion — that there was never a mouse, and that I am, in fact, going crazy — was correct.

On another topic, the Suffolk Rockin’ Relay for Life raised more than $155,000! That’s more money that will go toward the fight against cancer in America.

I was assigned to take photographs at Relay for Life on Friday, and so I was snapping pictures during the survivors’ lap. I always get a little choked up during the survivors’ lap, because I have several relatives who never survived their fight with cancer.

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I also get very emotional looking at the people walking the survivors’ lap – they are old and young (even some children), all races, some in wheelchairs, couples and friends walking together, people I know and people I don’t know. Looking at the wide cross-section of people walking a survivors’ lap at any Relay across America provides a stark reminder of one of the worst things about cancer — it can strike anybody, at any time.

While at the Relay, I took a break from snapping photos to walk the track with local community activist and cancer survivor, Donna Perry. Donna is known to the public safety community in Suffolk through her tireless work supporting police, fire and rescue personnel through all kinds of different projects.

As we were chatting about her fight with cancer, I gave her my opinion of what would happen in the very likely (considering my family history and other risk factors) event that I ever get cancer: “I wouldn’t fight if I got cancer. I would just give up.” I’ve always thought this. I don’t think my small amount of patience and strained trust of the medical profession would hold out long enough for my cancer to go away.

Donna’s response, however, was classic: “No, you have to fight. You don’t have any choice but to fight.”

After more thought, I still don’t think I could do it. I’d rather give up and go peacefully than spend years traveling back and forth to chemotherapy appointments. However, I have so much admiration for the people who fight cancer until it goes into remission. I hope they, and the many organizations out there, find a cure soon.