‘It’s about the Golden Rule’

Published 6:20 pm Saturday, May 8, 2010

One thing that should be clear to anyone who has been reading reporter Leila Roche’s continuing series on cancer victims, survivors and caregivers in support of Suffolk’s Rockin’ Relay for Life is this: Cancer is an equal-opportunity killer with no preference for its victims.

Young or old, black or white, rich or poor are all distinctions without difference when it comes to this horrible disease. Rare is the person whose life has not been touched — directly or indirectly — by cancer. It is a disease seemingly without boundaries in our society, despite years of work by researchers to find its causes and, more important, its cure.

The American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life mirrors the disease’s widespread nature, attracting people from all walks of life who share little more than a story of how cancer has affected them and a desire to help find a cure so that it can finally be beaten.

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People of all ages will be participating in next weekend’s Relay. Among the most powerful stories will be those of the youngest participants in the survivors’ laps. The sight of the parents of an adolescent cancer victim making their way around the track in memory of their lost child will touch all but the most hardened of hearts.

Nearly as touching, however, is the knowledge that the event has the support of young people from all over the city. For example, Nansemond-Suffolk Academy, which hosts Suffolk’s Relay, has 17 different teams raising money and participating.

“Cancer doesn’t care if you’re 3 years old or 100,” senior Baron Goodman said. “Cancer affects everybody, and anybody can get it. So, anybody should help. It doesn’t matter how old you are.”

The students’ involvement helps raise money toward a cure, but it also teaches them about the importance of civic involvement.

“It’s about the Golden Rule,” freshman Lindsay Elliott said. “You never know what could happen to you.”

It’s not too late to get involved with this year’s effort. To learn how you can do so, visit www.suffolkrockinrelay.org or call 752-8436.