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Celebrating a good cause

Saturday’s event was a raucous one. From the loud music to the catcalls, from the dancing to the food, it was clear that the 300 people on hand at the National Guard Armory on Saturday were there for a celebration.

That might seem odd, considering the fact that they were raising money for cancer research, but on second thought the whole spirit of the Nansemond River Pilot Club’s 10th annual Womanless Beauty Pageant was spot on with what it should have been.

It’s the same idea behind the American Cancer Society’s choice of a name for its annual fundraising event, which Saturday’s pageant supports. Calling the ACS event the Relay for Life is, in part, a way of celebrating the growing group of people who have survived the ravages of cancer and its treatments. The name also is an appropriately optimistic way of acknowledging the advances in medical science that mean a cancer diagnosis is no longer necessarily a death sentence.

Still, though, cancer causes more deaths in America each year than anything except for heart disease, according to the American Heart Association. The disease, in its various forms, caused more than 562,000 deaths during 2009, the ACS reported.

That’s why events such as Saturday’s Womanless Beauty Pageant are so important. Organizers expected to raise as much as $10,000 during that event, and it represents just one such fundraising effort in support of the Relay for Life in Suffolk this year. There will be dozens of others in Suffolk, hundreds in the surrounding area and thousands across the nation before all of the relays have been held.

All that money is used in support of one goal: researching a cure for cancer. With that as the goal, celebrating a bunch of men walking around in high heels and evening gowns doesn’t seem so crazy, after all.