Published 9:54 pm Monday, May 22, 2017
There’s nothing like a spring thunderstorm to throw the best-laid plans for an outdoor Tidewater fundraiser into a tizzy, but the folks at the American Cancer Society’s Suffolk Relay for Life didn’t let Friday’s storm or the cold front that moved in behind it get in the way of all their hard work to provide an event full of fun and hope.
As the storm moved into the area just prior to the event’s start time, organizers quickly regrouped and moved everybody inside the gymnasium at Nansemond River High School for the opening ceremonies. Then, when the storm had quickly passed over the area, they all went back outside to the school’s track, where the event was able to go on as planned.
It was a fitting reminder of the flexibility and perseverance that cancer victims and their families must have when they hear the dreaded diagnosis. Things may seem bleak in that moment, but — as the many cancer survivors who were there could attest on Friday — the bleak diagnosis does not necessarily spell doom for patients.
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Flexibility and perseverance — together with a big helping of hopefulness — are among the keys to beating cancer, and all those traits were on display during a superhero-themed Relay.
There were, of course, plenty of capes to be seen among the participants, but the real superheroes were the honored guests, the cancer survivors and fighters who have experienced in very personal terms the strength and determination a cancer diagnosis requires from its victim.
Relay for Life raises money for the American Cancer Society’s efforts to find a cure for the disease, but just as important is the opportunity that cancer victims, survivors and their families have to support one another. And you’d be hard-pressed to find a more supportive environment than the Relay.
This is a longstanding fundraiser, perhaps the best known of them, in Suffolk. It’s always a blessing to see participants lift one another up during the event. Still, though, we continue to pray for the day when the Relay is no longer needed in Suffolk or anywhere else, because cancer has finally been beaten for good.
Until then, hope, flexibility and perseverance are the order of the day.