Challenging cancer, head on

Published 9:01 pm Saturday, July 10, 2010

Often in our life we bemoan those events we have little say in, things like the weather, taxes — or to a small degree, government.

We sit back and talk about how we would do it differently, knowing it’s easy to say because we will never have the chance to do so.

We sit back and complain about the weather, because it’s easy to do so and we know that we have no say in how hot, cold, wet or dry a particular day is.

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But when it comes to charities, natural disasters, horrific events and cultural changes, far too many of us sit back and say, “Something should be done about that,” without ever lifting a finger to make a difference.

Then there are times when our society does step up, when we do lift that finger and together change the world around us.

I distinctly remember the days following the Sept. 11 attacks and the crews of men and women who converged on New York to help search for survivors, along with the churches that rallied supplies to support those rescuers.

I remember the same following the tragedy in New Orleans and the Mississippi Gulf Coast following Hurricane Katrina. Communities held fundraisers to help with reconstruction and send much-needed food and medicine to those who were suffering.

And even on a much smaller and local scale, I have witnessed what this community can do when it unites against a common enemy — cancer.

With just a few weeks remaining in the fundraising calendar for the Suffolk Rockin’ Relay for Life, it is fully expected that this year’s goal will be met and surpassed. In the midst of a sluggish economy, it is amazing that more than $200,000 could be collected locally for cancer research.

While that expected result is a testament to the generous spirit throughout Suffolk, many thanks should go to the organizers, committee, team leaders and volunteers who helped rally the community once again and who met what some thought was a much too lofty goal.

Specific thanks should also be given to this year’s Relay chairman Ray Bennett and co-chairperson Robin Blanchard. In addition to their official roles, they also assumed the titles of chief cheerleaders and motivational speakers.

Next year will bring an unwanted change in Relay leadership, but it is everyone’s hope that the same giving community that rallied to target cancer will join together to fight it again next year.

Those men, women and children who helped Relay have such a successful year are the ones who said, “Something should be done about that,” and then went out and did something about it.